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How to use training effectively to minimise the risk of non-conformances

28 August 2019
Organizations turn to certification for a number of reasons; pressure from partners, customers, regulatory requirements, the desire to rise above competition and to drive tangible improvements and consistent processes to name a few.

Standards provide organizations with the framework to implement change and improve their products, processes and people. Often, benefits include improved stakeholder trust, a deeper understanding of potential risks and opportunities within the business, more efficient systems and processes and a more positive brand industry reputation.

However, achieving certification takes team effort, hard work and dedication and an essential part of the effective operation of a management system is the corrective action and improvement process.

During third party audits an assessor may find situations where an organization’s system or practices are not compliant with the standard being audited. When this occurs a non-conformity will be raised. The non-conformity will detail which requirement of the standard/regulation has not been met and what evidence the assessor found in order to justify the non-conformity. The organization then has a set period to rectify this before they receive their certificate.

To try and minimise the risk of non-conformances being found in your systems we have come up with a few helpful tips:

  • Purchase a copy of the relevant standard – It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many companies sit down in their opening meeting to confess that they do not own a copy of the standard. Interactive e-learning can help you to learn the standard inside out so that you are aware of what to look for and what you will be assessed on. You can buy standards here.

  • Invest in & prepare your team with training – By investing in Internal Auditor training for member(s) of your team they will have the knowledge and skills to conduct their own internal audit of the organization before your assessor arrives. This will enable you to identify gaps or non-conformances and give you time to iron out issues, hopefully allowing you a smoother assessment and when done regularly, continual improvement.

  • Make someone responsible for the management system – By making someone solely responsible for the implementation and maintenance of you management system you can ensure suitable training so that they are an expert in the standard and know every detail of what needs to be done in order to keep the organization compliant. Training such as introduction and implementation training is a good starting point for beginners.

  • Identifying root cause – When you have discovered your own non-conformance(s) via internal audits you need to identify the underlying reason for the issue(s). This will enable you to prevent it from happening in the future.

  • Document control – A trainer will be able to answer questions about the standard including what needs documenting and what your auditor will want to see physical hard copies of.

In-house training to help manage non-conformances

To equip your staff with the knowledge and skills to be able to implement, understand and identify gaps within your management system will place the organization in good stead for the future. Preparation is the key to success and having an expert, or number of experts, of your management system able to analyse opportunities and mitigate risks is a huge positive step.

It’s also more convenient than ever to partake in training with options for online e-learning in your own time, scheduled local courses and in-house training, bringing the course to you.

Here are some huge benefits of investing in training:

  • Budget friendly – Team learning reduces cost-per-head and increases return on investment from your training budget.

  • Cost saving – Upskilling your staff means you’ll be less likely to have to fork out on extra audit and surveillance days given to companies with major non-conformances or ongoing issues.

  • Total flexibility – You choose the way you want to learn and which course can meet your specific company objectives.

  • Continual improvement – Having someone fully qualified in the management system gives the company direction and room to improve and grow consistently.

  • Relevant and practical – The right tutor will ensure that concepts and techniques are clearly understood and can be taken away and adopted efficiently within your own business.

  • Team building – Training in teams achieves common learning objectives, aids collaboration and increases the adoption of new techniques in practice.

  • Personalised services – Most good modern courses only host a small number of people (our max is 12) compared to the days of boring Powerpoint-led seminars. You’ll get the chance to talk, interact, ask questions and fully understand how to bring back what you’ve learnt to your unique business.

If you’d like to discuss your training needs with us please get in touch on 0800 052 2424 or email us and a member of the team will be in touch shortly to get your started on your journey. 

For more information on what training NQA offers please click here.