Here’s an interesting angle, prompted by my article the other day of how ISO 9001 and AS9100 registrars are ignoring major nonconformities now, to ensure they can get through the backlog of audits prompted by this ridiculous September 2018 transition deadline.

An auditor I have known for many years, who works not only in ISO 9001 but also the medical device variation ISO 13485, wrote to provide an alternate explanation as to why CB auditors are ignoring nonconformities: they personally lose money when they have to process them.

We auditors do not get paid for all the time tracking and clearing NCRs unless corrective action audit is required. I have heard some auditors grumble (myself included) about it. At one point I was tracking all my time for before during and after the audit and found I was not even making minimum wage. Fortunately my CB has revised the paperwork process so I am making more than minimum as long as there are not too many minors and clients hard to reach involved.

Auditor pay is a problem in the industry already, as the low pay attracts ensures the highly-qualified “experts” the CBs tout are rarely actually hired. But this “pay problem” also ensures that companies who are undeserving of the various ISO or AS certificates get them anyway, since it’s just the auditor has to use their own time on weekends and evenings to process the paperwork, and none of that time is paid for.

The alternative — paying auditors for NC processing time — isn’t attractive either, and my auditor source agrees:

I would not necessarily like to see auditors get paid for NC reviews as that might encourage them to give more for little nit things.

So clearly the solution is to generally pay the auditors more so that over the course of the year, they earn an average additional amount to cover these kind of situations.  CBs can estimate this easily, and although it won’t be exactly accurate, it will help to ensure auditors don’t ignore nonconformities simply because doing otherwise will put them in the poorhouse.

Yes, this means the cost of overall audits will increase for everyone, but the price has stagnated for more than a decade, and the system clearly isn’t working. This may also dissuade some companies from pursuing ISO 9001 who have no business getting it in the first place.


    About Christopher Paris

    Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.