Confused about the difference between an OFI and NC? Or wondering what to do with a major or minor?
These are terms that will come up during the Stage 2 Audit or further surveillance audits that are done every 12 months.
An OFI is an opportunity for improvement. If you are carrying out an activity in a particular way, your Lead Auditor may have industry experience or an insight into how other companies do it, and will suggest an OFI. This is not to say you have to change it, but it might work better for you. It has no effect on your certification, or chances for certification.
An observation is where a certain part or process needs to be acted upon before it is raised to a minor nonconformance. You’ve got 12 months to examine the observation, make the improvements, or fill the gap that has been identified. An example would be if you do nine parts out of 10 for a meeting, then you’ll have 12 months to rectify that tenth part.
A minor nonconformance has a much shorter timeframe of 90 days to rectify the issue. For example, if you only have seven out of 10 components for a meeting, you’ll have three months to address the missing components. You’ll need to send evidence to your Lead Auditor to say that you rectified it – either through photographs, documents, or other written evidence. We’ll assess the evidence, and then close that minor nonconformance out.
The next level up is a major nonconformance. An example would be that you are required to have a meeting or document a process and you don’t it. It’s a requirement of the standard that you do it, and you’ll have 30 days to rectify that.
If a client is applying for certification, the certification cannot be issued until any major nonconformances are closed out.
With minor nonconformances or observations, you can still be issued with your certificate.
Generally speaking, major nonconformances are usually only identified in the Stage 1 Audit, which is then rectified before the Stage 2 Audit and certification.
However if it does happen and an issue is only identified in Stage 2 while on site or examining equipment, for example, we’ll make sure you have an understanding of how to rectify the situation in the timeframe provided.