Quality is everybody’s job

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Quality is everybody’s job

01 May 2013

Name: Garlan Barnes
Based: USA
Nadcap Auditor since: about 10 years

 

What would be the key piece of advice you’d give to companies preparing for a Nadcap audit?

Prepare for the audit using the checklist. Completely. I have a saying: the amount of preparation reflects directly on the audit results. Suppliers should answer every checklist question with reference to the evidence they will provide to support their response.

In my experience, good audit results are directly proportional to the amount of preparation done. It just makes sense and then the audit is easier for everyone.

We all know that first impressions count. Are there any simple things that a company could do to give a good first impression?

Have all the documentation set up for review and be prepared for the job audits. Basically, be organized. I did an audit recently and the company was so organized, we were able to complete the audit smoothly and in good time. In other cases, I spend a lot of time waiting around for the relevant documentation to be found.

What is your definition of “quality”?

Quality is everybody’s job. Every single person. It flows down from management through to the shop floor.

In your experience, describe the impact of Nadcap on the companies you have audited?

Nadcap has had an immense impact on quality improvement in the companies that I have audited. And I’m talking globally. Companies have better control of their systems, better review structures for their activities and measures in place to help them improve their processes. In my experience, attitudes are different too: companies are more organized and I’ve even heard that some companies refuse merit status so as to be sure to maintain the discipline of Nadcap. That’s impressive.

There’s an aerospace saying: the highest form of flattery is plagiarism. No one should see Nadcap as an audit that takes place once per year. It’s an ongoing cultural change and all participating companies should use the tools that are made available through Nadcap to benefit their organizations.

What attracted you to Nadcap auditing in the first place?

I was actually working before for a US company that was among the first Nadcap auditees in the early 1990’s. A few years after that I was approached to see if I was interested in becoming an auditor. It was the right time in my career to look for a new challenge so I decided to try it!

What has surprised you about being a Nadcap auditor?

Every single audit, I see something that surprises me. There’s always something new – processes, ideas… It’s really neat to see parts that go on aircraft and know how it’s done. I really enjoy that.

What is the best thing about being a Nadcap auditor? And the worst?

The travel – although I enjoy it – can be a pain to organize as most facilities are located in remote areas. But that’s more an inconvenience than anything else.

The best thing is that I get to see new shapes and processes, I’ve seen many changes and improvements since I started in the industry 38 years ago. Although the general process is the same, control is now much better than it used to be.

Please describe a typical audit day.

Well, on the first audit day, I meet the team, verify the scope of the audit, do a site tour and get going on the job audits. On the last day, I make sure I’ve shown the supplier eAuditNet and the PRI website – both excellent sites containing a lot of useful information. I also review the non-conformances I follow word for word so that I’m sure the supplier understands them and I get them to sign off on them. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they agree with them – that’s a separate question which is to be determined by others – but they do, at least, understand them.

Each evening, I go back to my hotel room and type up my notes. I estimate that, for every hour spent on site, I take another 30 minutes working at the hotel, depending on how organized the paperwork was. There’s no hidden agenda, no secret fraternity. There’s no quota for NCR’s – I have conducted a number of audits and found zero non-conformances. I report what I see and what I don’t. That’s it.