How to ensure that the external audit runs smoothly?

181112DaveThistleton images Rokerpier 10515
Photo: DaveThistleton images – “Rokerpier 10/5/15” by Flickr

The importance of an external audit is underestimated by a lot of companies. That can be recognized by the following signals:

  • The preparation is relatively much better, when there is a production order linked to the result, than in the case of a “common” external audit
  • Just before the audit, a mail is send announcing the audit and the instructions to follow (and that’s all)
  • The audit is done like all other activities in the organisation: in between two other priorities
  • Other activities are planned during the audit (examples: visits of potential customers, trial productions)

Such things give people the idea, that they are working effectively and that the organization is so strong, that it can afford to do everything at the same time. Unfortunately, people can’t cut themselves in half and focus on 2 completely different things. Not speaking organizations.

The consequence of that all is that an audit generally takes place in a stiff way. It takes time before the auditees appear, the department managers are unreachable and there is too much time, before the evidence is presented.

You can be sure that the auditor sees all this. It’s necessary to ask yourself, if you really wish to present you this way (disinterested) as an organisation.

If you want to perform better and experience smoothly running audits, it’s time to change the bar. There is a huge room for possible improvement.

  • Prepare the documentation, from which you know the auditor will want to consult, to show it quickly
  • Do the same with the documents from other departments
  • Concentrate as an organization on the audit = 100 % focus
  • Don’t plan any ancillary activities. The measuring moment (examination) is now and can’t be redone. Show (to all your colleagues) that quality comes first

Change your strategy. Don’t do things halfway anymore, but do them well and with attention. This makes the work more interesting. The goal is to ensure that the following things come naturally:

  • The reception room is prepared, the audit can start right away
  • The guests for the opening meeting are present. In addition to the quality manager, at least the highest hierarchical manager and the operations manager are present
  • The department managers or their deputies welcome the auditor when he appears at their department
  • The auditor receives attentive and enthusiastic answers to his questions

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