Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A system audit vs. a process audit

ISO 9001:2015 defines a System as a set of interrelated processes.
While a Process is a set of interrelated or interacting activities, which transforms inputs into outputs.

When auditing, it is important to deeply understand the difference between the two and the moment when a group of processes become a system. Conducting system and process audits at the same time could be confusing and ineffective.

On the document triangle below the first two levels describe the System in a whole, while the two bottom levels describe the process.


System audits start from the top moving down into details, while the process audits start from the bottom of the document pyramid.

To summarize from the auditing perspective:
  • A system audit is an audit of a system or subsystem against system requirements. (conformity or nonconformity of the system).
  • A process audit is an audit of individual processes against predetermined process steps or activities. (inefficiencies and areas for improvement).

More information in Which is it – a system or process audit? by J.P.Russel 


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