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The F.P. Horak Co.--No Major Announcements

March 1998
Editor's Note: This is the 14th installment in the monthly series on The F.P. Horak Co., a Bay City, MI-based printing firm pursuing ISO 9002 registration.

During an ISO audit, one major non-compliance can mean the difference between success and failure. That doesn't leave much room for mistakes.

Fortunately, The F.P. Horak has remained largely within compliance (knock wood) so far. A recent pre-assessment failed to uncover any serious errors in Horak's quality system.

The company finds comfort in the fact that the registrar representative walked away from the pre-assessment without any worries. Still, Horak remains vigilant against major non-compliances. After all, the pre-assessment was only a precursor to the true test. With the actual audit only weeks away, Horak's employees are not letting their guard down.

The Moment of Truth
Horak has spent more than a year preparing for the ISO 9002 audit. The company has trained workers, invested thousands of dollars and treated a few cases of writer's cramp that employees suffered while filling out records. And Kevin Krzyminski, for one, is not about to allow all of that time, effort and money to go to waste.

As the audit draws closer, Krzyminski will spend his days rallying the troops. He's reminding workers of the policies and procedures they must follow. "I'm trying to force habits," he says.

For Horak's latest newsletter, Krzyminski contributed an article explaining what employees should expect during the certification audit. He provided a list of sample questions that the auditors might ask. He also offered some helpful advice. For example, when asked a question, don't be defensive; the auditors are measuring the quality system, not you. And don't be misleading; be honest and concise.

"Don't offer more than you're asked," Krzyminski warns. "If you don't understand the question, ask them to clarify it. And if you don't know, tell them 'I don't know, but I know to contact my supervisor or the management rep if I have a problem with quality.' "

These replies are safer than guessing. Employees who struggle to answer confusing questions could jeopardize their company's chances.

"The auditors may ask you about something that is not within your responsibility," Krzyminski continues. "So don't try to tell them what you think they want to hear." After all, a wrong answer could result in non-compliance.

A Two-day Stay
Two auditors from Global Registrar (GRI) will be stopping by Horak's facility. They will conduct the audit over the course of two days, visiting the plant periodically throughout its three shifts. At the end of the second day, when the audit is finished, they will decide whether to recommend Horak for ISO 9002 registration.



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