Amid all the glamour of design, new processes, new technology, measurement and “lean management”, the less glamorous elements of a quality system might not be given the priority and attention they deserve.
For example, housekeeping is very important. The assessor will be looking at the general cleanliness and care which is evident (or not) at your facility. Avoidable dirt and clutter could be regarded as lack of commitment to the quality system.. The assessors will be looking for anything lying loose which should be under control. This includes parts lying about in the yard or documents scattered on someone’s desk or (worse) have been lying for fifty years in a dark corner or hiding in binders which have faded into the background. They are uncontrolled as well as being untidy. They could also contain valuable information from past experience which has been overlooked. It pays to take the time for a thorough review of archived documents.
The “yard” is part of your facility so take the time to clean it up, especially if it is apart from the main site. It could be included in the certification audit. The assessor will expect to find that all quality-critical items are secured, maintained and protected from damage, corrosion, and other conditions (such as dirt or damp) that could cause the product (or the conditions around it) to deteriorate.
Your storage areas will be audited, so if you have items waiting for the customer to decide what needs to be done, include these items and their condition in the internal audits. Make sure they are segregated and identified.
One of my valuable military aerospace contacts audited a supplier recently and found the housekeeping conditions unacceptable to the point where he shut down the audit; so be warned.