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What is an external audit?

External audits are audits performed by employees outside the organization. For example, these can be employees of a certification company or a customer or supplier. Product, procedure, process and also system audits can be external audits. External audit defines a quality management tool for objective control of compliance with standards, requirements and conditions for certifications. External, third-party certification bodies are authorized to issue audits. In external process audits, such as supplier audits, the company audits the supplier’s management system based on agreed quality standards.

  • External system audit: External certification companies inspect quality management systems according to standardized inspection processes. They are authorized to audit at specific intervals in order to carry out a value-neutral check of the quality management system on the basis of prescribed standards, requirements and conditions. A certificate represents a neutral confirmation of compliance with certain quality standards in relation to the quality management system. An external system audit is required to obtain DIN EN ISO 9001 certification.
  • External process audit: External process audits involve two parties. The auditor here is often the quality management representative in the company who audits an external partner. External partners, customers or suppliers, audit on the basis of jointly agreed quality standards. Certain processes are audited on the supplier side. These quality assurance agreements are usually collected by internal auditors in order to define a common quality denominator.