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

March 1998

Even if the auditors discover a major non-compliance, Horak still may receive a recommendation. A company can fix a major non-compliance while the auditors are still at the site. A company can also fix a minor. That's important, since three minor non-compliances within a single element equals a major. Solve one, and you're left with two—and two minors, even within a single element, generally won't cost a company ISO registration.

While a company can patch holes in the quality system during the audit, it must complete all work before the audit ends. If auditors mark up a major non-compliance two hours before they are scheduled to leave, the company could be in trouble. Most majors—such as missing documentation or inadequate training—can't be corrected in a few hours.

Up All Night
Fortunately, if the auditors catch the problem early enough, a company may have enough time to comply. In Horak's case, the auditors will be spending two days at the plant. So if they point out any major non-compliances on the first day, Horak still has a shot at beating the clock.

All-nighters are not uncommon during certification audits. With so much at stake, companies will go to extremes to earn the coveted recommendation. Fix a problem quickly, show the auditors your results, and they will label your company compliant.

"I have heard through my travels of a company that had a major happen, and the auditors found it on the first day," Krzyminski offers. "The president of the company made a mandate, saying, 'Nobody's leaving until we get it corrected.' "

When the auditors returned the next morning, they found that the company's employees were wearing the clothes from the day before. They had worked straight through the night, rewriting procedures and training.

Krzyminski is willing to sacrifice sleep for ISO registration. "I am fully prepared to do whatever it takes to resolve any problems," he says. "I will burn some midnight oil."

—Jerry Janda

Next month: In the final installment, The F.P. Horak Co. undergoes the ISO 9002 audit. Join us as we find out if the company's careful planning and preparation paid off.



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