The third-party audit process
Organizations seeking certification to TL 9000 need to first follow the steps described on the TL 9000 Registration Process pages. Part of that process involves selecting a CB that will audit their organization to determine if their processes conform to the requirements of TL 9000.
Before a CB can perform any assessments of conformance to TL 9000 it must first be accredited by another organization, called an Accreditation Body (AB), to assure that the CB is competent in its assessments. The AB must also be authorized to accredit CBs by QuEST Forum.
For this purpose, QuEST Forum has selected ABs in several countries around the world who then select and accredit various CBs to perform assessments of conformance to TL 9000 through audits of the organization's processes.
The QuEST Forum / TL 9000 model calls for the Accreditation Bodies to be accredited by QuEST Forum. We assure they understand the governance we expect over their Certification Bodies. Once accredited, the AB's can certify CB's. That is, the AB's make sure that accredited CB's are following the rules QuEST Forum defines, together with the global IAF rules, and the rules defined by the AB. Once accredited, the CB then certifies their auditors. QuEST Forum guidance says they need to classify their auditors into one of three categories: Auditor, Lead Auditor, TeleCom Industry Experienced Auditor (TIEA). QuEST Forum has identified specific requirements for these classifications but it is the CB's responsibility to follow this guidance. Records showing that the auditors are meeting the defined classifications are maintained by the CB and periodically accessed by the AB.
To certify the Organization to TL 9000, the CB performs the audit and, if successful, recommends certification. The audit report is reviewed for compliance by the CB. Samples of audit reports are reviewed by the AB to assure the CB is following guidance.The CB certifies their auditors and issues the certificate.
QuEST Forum maintains all information about ABs, CBs, and TL 9000 registrations on the Registration Management System (RMS) and much of this information is available to the public through links later on this page.
Selecting one of the links below provides a list with hyperlinks that profiles the various organizations and also provides contact information.
Auditors who perform audits for CBs must also meet rigid standards and conform to a code of practice
- CB Auditor Qualifications
- Code of Practice for CB Auditors Revision 7.1
- Code of Practice for CB Auditors Revision 6.2
- CB Guidance for Monitoring Auditor Performance
Not all auditors are competent in all areas so the QuEST Forum utilizes NACE industry classification codes to assure that auditors assess only those organization where the auditor is competent. NACE codes describe an organization's type of business and auditors are qualified to audit organizations with certain NACE codes.
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 5.4 (Revision 1)
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 5.4 (Revision 2)
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 5.3
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 5.2
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 5.1
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 5.0
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 4.6
- NACE Codes for Product Category Table Release 4.5
How long should an audit take? That depends on the size of the organization, scope of registration, etc. Audits can last from one day to months. QuEST Forum provides a guide for the duration of a TL 9000 audit exclusive of the ISO 90001 portion of the audit. These guidelines are revised as needed and are not tied to a particular release of the TL 9000 Requirements Handbook.
- Auditor Time Chart Revision 5
- Auditor Time Chart Revision 4 valid since January 1, 2010
- Measurement Complexity Factor Tool Revision 1
Portions of the audits may be performed virtually if certain conditions are met
Well-established TL 9000 registrations, with authorization, may be audited under a modified process that utilizes a greater degree of internal resources. This process is not available for use with new registrations.