“To be effective, audits must be focused and carefully planned, and when carried out well, can be rewarding for both the auditor and the auditee.”
Probitts, Jane, 2000 3(1), 3-6, The Regulatory Review
During an inspection, the firm does not stop operations. The maintenance personnel are fixing leaks, checking gauges and performing routine maintenance. The calibration personnel are calibrating instruments, and the operations personnel are busy making the product. In order to minimize the impact of the inspection on routine operations, it is the responsibility of the audit manager to coordinate the scheduling of these people, and to effectively organize the audit agenda.
For example, instead of having the calibration people being asked to come in and out of the conference room over and over, it is much more efficient to gather all of the calibration requests together, and have the calibration manager review all of the calibration issues at once. The calibration manger can introduce themselves, provide a brief overview of the calibration program, and address each specific request. This results in a streamlined, focused audit, and minimizes the impact of the audit on the firm’s personnel. Therefore, the ability to rapidly sort audit requests by Presenter is a critical tool for audit management.
Another effective tool is the ability to rapidly summarize the status of the audit. By the end of the first day, the audit manager should be able to see how many requests have been made, how many have been closed, and how many are still open. This allows for well-organized scheduling of the next day’s activities.
The audit request should also be clearly tracked and numbered, both chronologically and by inspector. This avoids the burdensome activity of reviewing the scribe’s notes and manually sorting the requests.
The details of the request should be clearly documented, and affixed to the document being requested. Often, documents begin piling up the Support room, with no clear traceability of when and why the document was requested. Often cards or colored paper have been used successfully to organize requests, but with the increasing complexity of inspections this is becoming a chaotic and outdated method of organizing inspection requests.
A system is needed which quickly communicates all of the above functions: request details, sorting by presenter, request chronology, sorting by inspector, request status, and a list of copies provided. An audit request online database with these capabilities can ultimately streamline the entire inspection process by allowing select others outside of the conference room to see the pace and status of the inspection, so they can better support and anticipate inspection needs.
Audit Utopia ™ will provide one single platform for a well-organized audit whether it’s a regulatory, customer, or internal inspection. Not only does Audit Utopia ™ manage, track, sort, and report audit requests instantly, but it streamlines communication between your inspection team in other ways. Audit Utopia ™ will automatically create an inspection team chat room for the audit intended as a temporary log of informal communication easily between team members. Private peer-to-peer chat and file transfer is also an available function within the system. Last, but not least, the robust scribe function allows simultaneous transcription of multiple inspectors conversations. More importantly, the scribe feature provides a real-time capture of the record of the inspection.