Getting value out of Internal Audits is a constant challenge. Many of our clients found it helpful to change the focus of their audits from ‘Are people following procedures?’ to ‘Find ways to improve our system’.
By getting the focus off of ‘Is everyone following our procedures?’ onto ‘Improvement’ two things happen. First, it is proof that Top Management is promoting the process approach and risk-based thinking – looking for weaknesses in the system. Secondly, by focusing on non-conformances, we might be causing people to ‘hide’ them. This makes the result of a weakness even more catastrophic when it finally erupts. By getting at the weakness earlier rather than later, we can avert problems much more quickly and at a lower cost – time, money and morale.
The other down side to ‘Follow the procedure or else’ is that the procedure may not be all that great or it may not reflect today’s way of doing things. By asking, “Can you get the result we want with this procedure?’ we’re more likely to get useful feedback that will help us find ways to make our system more effective (read: make more money!)
Know Quality, Know Profit…No Quality, No Profit
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