Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked question that may assist you in you registration process. For more information please feel free to contact is via the “Contact” link at the top of this screen.
Why should we choose SRI for our registration needs?
SRI’s commitment provides registration services with knowledgeable customer representatives, at a competitive price. This is our primary business and our goal is to provide a value-added relationship, using industry experienced personnel and a practical approach.
What are SRI's qualifications?
SRI is an accredited organization that issues quality and environmental system registration certificates based on internationally recognized standards and requirements. SRI is accredited by ANAB (formerly the American National Standards Institute-Registrar Accreditation Board National Accreditation Program ANSI-RAB NAP) and by Raad voor Accreditatie (RvA (C074)). We are also accredited to IATF 16949 by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). SRI is audited at headquarters and in the field between ten and twenty times each year by our accreditation bodies.
How long has SRI been in business?
SRI was founded in 1991 under a steel industry initiative to enhance the quality and value of supplier audits and reduce costs. SRI became accredited in 1992, and began auditing to the ISO 9000 standards. (SRI was the fifth firm to be ANAB (ANSI-RAB NAP) accredited in North America.) In January 1995, SRI was also one of the first registrars to achieve QS-9000 accreditation, and it later was one of the first to be ISO/TS 16949 accredited.
What industries do you serve?
SRI now serves over 40 major industry sectors. A majority of our customers are in the automotive, aerospace, minerals, metals, materials, chemicals, fabrication, equipment, manufacturing, electronics, software, transportation, distribution, education, healthcare, food and beverage, and many other product and service sectors.
Where is SRI located?
SRI is headquartered a few minutes north of Pittsburgh in Seven Fields, Pennsylvania. SRI also has offices in Portland, OR; Los Angeles, CA; Dublin, Ireland; and Osaka, Japan. Auditors are based in strategic locations across North America and the international areas we serve
Does SRI consult?
SRI does not provide consulting services. Like most independent auditing industries, SRI considers consulting a conflict of interest and does not provide those services. SRI has, however, audited companies that have worked with very effective consultants, and we would be pleased to make several recommendations of companies to whom you could inquire.
Does SRI permit the use of its registered trademark or accreditation logos?
The SRI registered organization may use the SRI Certification Marks (along with the phrase “ISO XXXXX Registered by SRI Quality System Registrar” or “Registered to ISO XXXXX by SRI Quality System Registrar”, if not specifically in the mark) on its certificates, stationery and literature, subject to certain conditions. Permitted Use of the Registered Marks and Logos is captured in documentation provided to the Client at registration. “Logos” under “Resources” on the SRI web site provide a complete library of logos to use to demonstrate certification.
What is the difference between the ANAB and RvA (C074) accreditation marks?
The ANAB mark is a domestic accreditation mark for the United States. The RvA (C074) mark is the international accreditation mark provided by the Dutch Council of Accreditation. Both accreditation marks may provide domestic and international recognition.
Registration Process – Achieving Certification
How does SRI define the scope of registration?
The scope of registration is normally defined by the customer or by your need to establish a quality management system. The scope of the QMS is a term commonly used within the context of QMS certification/registration to describe the organization and products to which the QMS applies. The scope of the QMS should be based on the nature of the organization’s products and their realization processes.
How does SRI ensure confidentiality?
SRI requires confidentiality agreements from our staff, auditors, Advisory Council and Board of Directors. A specific confidentiality agreement may be signed with our clients as necessary. OFI’s by SRI, where permitted by the accreditation bodies, focus only on opportunities to improve existing, client-defined processes. SRI auditors do not provide OFI’s that represent the intellectual property or sensitive competitive information of competing organizations. This is a concern of many companies, so SRI takes great care in maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of its customers’ business information.
Will a quality manual be required?
A controlled copy of your quality management system (QMS) quality manual (Levels I and II) is required for SRI to review. Environmental management system (EMS) manual review is optional by the ISO 14001 standard.
Must QMS quality manual inadequacies be corrected and implemented prior to the assessment?
A full documentation review is conducted. Any inadequacies in the quality manual must be approved and implemented before the registration audit.
Why should I consider a pre-assessment?
A tour of your facility, review of your working documentation, and sampling of various activities within your system will occur during the pre-assessment. In addition, the lead auditor will provide a summary of observed nonconformances needing attention and review the upcoming registration process. A report will be provided for review and reference. You are encouraged to question your auditor at this time to ensure a thorough understanding of the standard and the registration process.
What is the duration of the typical pre-assessment?
SRI offers an optional pre-assessment (non-accredited) activity for a duration of your choosing. The lead assessor will visit your primary site(s) for a period of your choosing – typically equal to 30% to 60% of your planned registration audit mandays. This is often one to two days, and it is largely up to the requesting company to determine where their comfort level is.
Do you provide value-added feedback (Opportunities for Improvement, OFIs)?
Auditors often provide value-added OFIs for the client to consider. OFIs are an excellent method for an experienced auditor to share (non-proprietary) information. However, OFI’s by SRI, where permitted by the accreditation bodies, focus only on opportunities to improve existing, client-defined processes. SRI auditors do not provide OFI’s that represent the intellectual property or sensitive competitive information of competing organizations.
Will your auditors provide interpretations of specific clauses if asked?
The auditor may indicate whether your approach is acceptable. However, the auditor may not provide direction on how the client should proceed.
How long after the final audit is the certificate issued?
The certificate is normally issued within 30 days after auditor acceptance of any outstanding nonconformances or corrective actions.
Who makes the final certification decision?
The SRI Registration Review Panel will review all aspects of the registration recommendation and assessment, as required by our accreditation bodies. The review panel will make the final decision concerning certification approval.
How long should a quality assurance system be operational before SRI can conduct a registration audit?
The quality system should be fully implemented and subjected to a full internal audit and management review cycle prior to the registration audit. SRI looks for approximately three months of full operational maturity that includes internal auditing and management review as well as closure of any internal audit corrective actions.
What is the success rate for achieving registration on the first audit?
The success rate, after an SRI pre-assessment, is very high.
How will SRI handle assignment of audit teams?
Auditors are selected based on their area of expertise and SIC Code experience as mandated by ANAB and RvA (C074) accreditation.
Other factors such as availability, geography, and other logistics are considered prior to assignment.
Can the same team audit all plants, if we have more than one facility?
Yes, if this is cost effective for the client and scheduling permits the use of the same audit team.
Can a company have more than one registrar?
As the quality management system registration industry in North America develops and matures, there will be cases where a client wishes to have its registration structured such that more than one registrar may be involved. For example, a multi-site registration may be requested when the individual sites to be covered are already registered by more than one registrar. In such cases, SRI, as a member of the International Association of Accredited Registrars (IAAR), promotes cooperation among its registered members such that the client may be served effectively and efficiently.
Can a company transfer registration to SRI?
A company can request a quote for the transfer of registration to SRI. Upon receipt of the request, SRI will review and confirm the scope of registration and SRI’s capabilities to provide a registration transfer meeting the company’s requirements. A proposal containing expected fees and further instructions would be provided. Potential client then accepts the SRI proposal and provides all necessary documentation on current registration. SRI will conduct a Quality Manual Review. Upon completion of registration requirements, SRI will issue a new certificate and provide appropriate public notification.
Registration Process – Maintaining Certification
Does SRI require a registration renewal?
Typically after three years, SRI will conduct a renewal audit, which includes a review of the client’s policies and procedures. The on-site duration is typically slightly longer than the normal surveillance. (SRI adheres to the ISO/IEC Guide 62 adopted by ANAB and RvA (C074)).
Is advance notice of surveillance audits provided?
Surveillance audits are typically conducted in six to twelve month intervals from the date of the registration audit. They can be scheduled three years in advance, although specific dates are usually set at the prior event and finalized approximately three months prior to the surveillance. An audit plan will be provided several weeks before the scheduled surveillance visit.
What happens if we stop producing a product or lose a line?
Registration will not be affected. If a product line is eliminated, the scope of registration may need to be revised and a certificate may have to be reissued. A restored product line should be brought to SRI’s attention in a timely manner and will be reviewed prior to or during the next surveillance.
Will a client be notified of any deficiencies in a quality system before the assessment team leaves the site? If so, what type of notification is given?
On-site notification will be both verbal and documented Corrective Action Notifications (CANs). SRI’s corporate headquarters will issue a formal report after the assessment. The report will summarize the audit process, results and any open CANs that may exist.
Does SRI stop an audit if a major nonconformance is discovered?
SRI recommends, and our clients typically prefer, that the audit be completed to assist in finding any other areas of major and minor nonconformance. However, the option to stop the audit is always available to the client.
Is an on-site reassessment needed to verify corrective action implementation of deficiencies identified during the initial assessment?
A follow-up on-site audit will be necessary if any major system nonconformances were cited.
Will changes or revisions (after registration) to the quality manual necessitate a reassessment?
Normally no. However, the impact and the severity of changes to the quality system will dictate the necessity. The lead auditor reviews changes during each surveillance activity.
How much time is permitted to correct an identified nonconformance?
A response with your plan of corrective action is required within 30 days of the audit event. Nonconformances are expected to be corrected within 90 days. Any major nonconformances require immediate attention. Any nonconformance(s) closure is a function of the standard or requirement selected.
Will a reassessment be required if a modification to the registration scope is requested?
The nature and magnitude of the scope modification dictates whether a revision and need for reassessment is warranted. Most modifications can be reviewed during the subsequent surveillance audits.
Is SRI willing to make a formal presentation about available services?
SRI is available to provide a personal presentation to speak about our capabilities, process, and resources. In addition, we can answer any questions you might have regarding SRI and our registration process.
How does SRI qualify auditors?
To qualify, auditors attend initial SRI training, provisional on-the-job training, and must attend and successfully complete a lead auditor training course. In addition, auditors meet the ANAB, International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA) or RABQSA certified auditor requirements. Most have been with SRI since our inception (1991). SRI auditors average over 25 years of industry experience in quality-related fields.
How is a lead auditor chosen to audit my company?
SRI uses criteria based on industry experience, availability, location, and qualifications. The client will receive the auditor’s biography prior to the first visit. If there is any objection, SRI may assign another auditor. A pre-audit visit provides an excellent opportunity to get to know your lead auditor.
Will the same auditor do the quality manual review, pre-audit, and registration?
Unless a change request or factors beyond our/your control occur, the same auditor will conduct all steps.
How about surveillances - will the same auditor that conducted the registration audit?
In most instances, one of the registration team will perform your surveillance activities. As always, customer satisfaction is a top priority and SRI will do the best to serve your needs and requests.
How does SRI maintain accreditation requirements for independence, if the same auditors conduct the registration and surveillances?
In order ensure auditor independence, impartiality, and objectivity, the original assigned lead auditor must be changed or a corporate oversight audit conducted at least once in every 36-month period for each registrant. An auditor performing audits at a registrant not having the corporate oversight audit cannot return to that client as a lead auditor for 18 months. (This does not prevent the use of any SRI Lead Auditor in a team auditor role on any audit.) Changes in auditor are usually planned to coincide with the three-year re-assessment, at which time only the succeeding or oversight auditor will conduct the quality manual review. Changes in an auditor can be made at any time and notification of such will be communicated beforehand to the registrant, along with other pertinent information.
How does SRI monitor and enhance consistency between auditors?
Auditor consistency is a continuing industry-wide registrar and auditor improvement process goal. SRI’s system for auditor enhancement includes:
- Regular auditor meetings to review interpretation
- Peer review and feedback
- Participation in audit report review of other audit teams
- Serving with other lead auditors as a team auditor
- Providing training on interpretations
- Sector-specific training course attendance
- Intra-registrar training and review seminars
- Regular oversight by the SRI core auditors on SRI audits
- Accreditation body oversight and witnessing
- Client feedback through audit critique surveys
How is a conflict or problem handled?
SRI lead auditors are responsible for on-site audit management issues and most issues are resolved at that point. In the rare instance that a next step is required, our technical personnel may be contacted. SRI has a documented complaint and dispute procedure.
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