How to Audit the Provision of Resources

You’ve been asked to audit an organization against the requirements of ISO 9001:2000, clause 6.1, Provision of Resources. Where do you begin?

First, understand a “resource” is a source of supply, support, or aid that can be readily drawn upon when needed. Using this definition, the resources needed for a quality management system may include equipment, facilities, people, supporting services, work environment, suppliers, information, natural resources, and finances.

Next, identify the audit criteria (requirements) stated in ISO 9001:2000, clause 6.1:

The organization must determine and provide the resources necessary to:

  • Implement and maintain the quality management system
  • Continually improve the effectiveness of the system
  • Enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements

Then, interview the managers responsible for the area to see how resources are being identified, planned, made available, used, monitored, and changed. However, don’t audit “resources” in isolation. Verify that managers are evaluating process performance to determine the needed resources.

After asking questions about resource planning and budgeting, interview employees to see if the allocated resources are sufficient to meet customer requirements and continually improve the results of the system.

But, be careful not to get caught in the middle of an ongoing resource dispute. An employee may state that some work was not completed as planned due to the lack of resources. While that may be true, you should write up the resulting nonconformity, not the possible resource issue.

The corrective action will require the organization to identify the root cause of the problem. If the nonconformity was caused by a lack of resources, then the plan will be changed to fit the resources, or more resources will applied.

Make sure you don’t make subjective judgments on the adequacy of the resources. Limit your role to judging the effectiveness (results) of the resources.