Developments in auditing techniques and their role in inter-brewery quality improvement programmes.
The quality auditing procedures established during the development by Bass of a single quality assurance system to replace the different systems used at each of the company's breweries are described. Originally, the audit system was only intended to achieve greater product consistency between batches of the same beer brand produced in different breweries by monitoring compliance with detailed product and process specifications, on the basis of which a list of key parameters and their correct values is drawn up for each stage of the process, against which the actual values can be checked. This then serves as a basis for planning corrective measures where the actual value of a parameter deviates from that which is specified. Following the success of this approach, the system was extended by drawing up standards of good brewing practice using the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) system (in which a "critical control point" is defined as a point in a process which if not correctly controlled could lead to a loss of quality), compliance with which is audited in the same way as with product specifications. Where persistent problems cannot be solved by simply adhering to established methods, a more detailed "systems audit" is carried out, in which the personnel, the materials being processed, the equipment used, the operating instructions and other information required for the task and the roles of supporting services (analytical, technical, financial, etc.) in the process are investigated by multidisciplinary teams of experts in order to identify the source of the problem and devise means of correcting it. The author regards the auditing procedures described as essential supporting elements for an effective quality management system.
Keywords : management quality control standard specification