Recent trends in quality auditing show developing economies competing in the global market are increasing demand for Quality Auditors, both internal and external.
Currently, there are 1,559 jobs in Quality Auditing in Australia and 14,686 available globally. The new trending standards emphasise evidence-based decision-making, requiring companies to collect wide-spread, reliable and current evidence at every level.
Recent changes in quality standards
There are now many factors influencing Quality Management and consequently the auditing process. These include:
- Improving customer focus to ensure that the customer gets what they expect.
- Leadership teams are now required to be fully involved in quality management.
- Employees have significant opportunities for involvement, empowerment and engagement.
- Relationships with suppliers are considered important to sustain effective and reliable partnerships at every level of the supply chain.
- A complete focus on improvement and continuous improvement.
- Substantial gap analysis both internally and externally to create a process for corrective actions, ensuring smooth and consistent operation.
- The ISO 9001 standard is now a proven system that has gained international respect for its rigour through internal and external assessment processes and its reliability as a quality indicator.
Recent trends in quality auditing
1. Sustainability is the new black
Is sustainability the new Quality Management measurement? New inclusions in quality standards seem to suggest this is true and ISO is evolving to meet the changes in market expectations. The business world is driving this change as it pushes for improvement in respect to social equity and environmental sustainability. Total Quality Management (TQM) advocates are set to embrace this focus towards sustainability once they work out how to incorporate the disruptive and innovative qualities that it brings to the business.
2. Innovative project management
Another emerging quality auditing trend is the increasing reliance on Project Management in the business world, which shows no signs of slowing. Project Management and Quality Auditing are required to work together to maximise successful organisational outcomes. Experts agree that all industry sectors will be governed by applying innovative project management approaches and smart quality principles in years to come.
3. Rapid advances in technology
The technology landscape is evolving in ways completely unexpected from only a few years ago. In particular, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain technology and Internet of Things (IoT) will change everything.
When applied to Quality Auditing, Artificial Intelligence makes use of varied methods such as knowledge bases, expert systems, and machine learning. Using computer algorithms, AI can sift through massive amounts of raw data looking for patterns and connections much more efficiently and quickly than a human could.
IoT allows for a connected network of physical devices, vehicles, appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity. IoT enables these things to connect, collect and exchange data without human or computer intervention, providing real-time data and allowing for fast corrective decision-making.
Blockchain’s biggest strength for auditing is its application to creating secure and tamper-proof systems with irrefutable record logs.
Technology can act as an effective enabler to manage compliance processes. The challenge will be how to apply the data, for example, AI algorithms to manage quality processes. With the need to assess evidence collected at every level to support decision making and verify compliance, technology will become a powerful tool in the future.
What recent trends mean for quality auditors
Your role will require an in-depth understanding of how to assess the application of the changes already in place. The responsibility is to ensure that the organisations you assess have a proactive approach to quality at every level and no longer merely as a means to get certification.
As technology, particularly AI and IoT, become mainstream it will help to simplify and streamline flows of information to become a significant part of decision making. Good decisions will include wise corrective actions while managing the consequences of innovation and potential disruption that auditing sustainability is likely to produce.
International indicators highlight that Quality Auditors need to embrace future trends and those who do will be in demand sooner rather than later.