An audit is a systematic examination of a system, process or product. It provides assurance that the specified requirements are being met. Audits provide assurance that the organization's systems are working as intended and that they meet the required standards.
Based on the method, audits can be classified into three categories:
- Product Audit
- Process Audit
- System Audit
A product audit focuses on individual products produced by an organization. A process audit examines how processes work within an organization. And finally, a system audit looks at the entire operation of an organization.
1. Product Audits
This type of audit assesses whether a company's production line meets its stated quality targets. The product audit focuses on one or more products or services and assesses the "fitness for use". It also considers if the product or service meets the design requirements. For example, an auditing firm may examine whether the manufacturer's production facility produces a particular product as the code and specification.
2. Process Audits
These audits look at specific processes, activities or functions performed by an organization. The auditor compares the actual process with the documented requirements of the process. For example, the auditor might conduct an audit of the design process, manufacturing process or inspection process.
3. System Audits
System audits are a comprehensive audit of multiple processes and the interaction between processes. It looks at the way an organization operates. For example, the auditor might audit the design process, manufacturing process, inspection and other processes together. In addition, the auditor also looks at the interaction between these processes. For example, how the design function and manufacturing interact with each other.