Audits

Which method and preparation to use to ensure an excellent audit result?

181105Craig Chew-Moulding Champagne Flutes
Photo: Craig Chew-Moulding – “Champagne Flutes” by Flickr

Only one method works to obtain an excellent audit result. It’s looking to your company through the eyes of the auditor. That’s quite more demanding and it asks for a change in the way of working.

But, for the following reasons it’s worth the effort:

  • An excellent score means less work after the audit
  • The auditor will come with input to improve your system even more
  • A fortification of your organisation and you will be better prepared for unannounced audits

How can we observe the company through the eyes of the auditor?

By realising the internal audit process with the standard in hand. Use a complete cross reference table when you use several standards.

  1. For each element of the standard, you verify whether the processes are conforming. If not, write non-conformity reports. This method may be perceived as difficult by your internal audit team. It’s therefor important to train the members of this team on this new approach.
  2. For all the companies’ activities you look whether they conform to the norm. You imagine how a (serious) auditor would react when verifying these activities.

Because, if you note a deviation, you know: it could become a non-conformity (NC). An NC is not the end of the world, but often it will not stop at the first one. Gathering the NCs of all the external audits (certifications, customers and inspections) their number may raise quickly.

In addition, an NC is a consequence of a gap in your system. Such a phenomenon leads to complaints and dissatisfied customers. At some point there are so many NCs, that you lose the overview.

We will deviate from the chosen direction, everything becomes blurry and we start running behind the facts. We lose focus on real improvement and get bogged down in the details.

The advice is to keep things as simple as possible. Work with the 2 steps method above and your organisation will work better. The audit stress will considerably decrease and you will be able to receive every auditor.

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