The gap is the difference between where you are and where you need to be. So, if you are a food manufacturer, and your BRC audit is coming up, in your gap analysis you will analyse, for each standard or requirement:
- Where are we?
- What do we need to do to be up to standard?
Your gap analysis gives you a list of tasks that you need to complete before the auditors come and inspect your business.
One way to do a gap analysis is by having a list of audit requirements, usually on a spreadsheet. Then someone trawls through each item to check where the business is up to, makes a note re what’s still outstanding, emails the person who needs to address each particular gap, remembers to chase when they don’t hear back and the audit is approaching, tries to regularly check how many gaps are left still, tries to make some kind of sense re which standards have been completely addressed and which need substantially more work …. on top of everything else they need to do in their job role.
Let’s be clear, with a software solution someone still needs to check the gaps for each standard. However, a good gap analysis solution will also do the following for you:
1. Enable you to assign roles of each person responsible for each task.
This is particularly important for complex audits, which cover many aspects of the business. For example, BRC-V8 audits food safety and standards, site management, and personnel issues, amongst others.
You could assign Bob as responsible for food safety and Claire as responsible for site management. Therefore Bob receives the relevant reminders, and Claire hers. This makes allocation of work more manageable, and you have the most suitable person overseeing standards. They will know that part of the business inside out, and be able to efficiently and reliably address the issues raised by that part of the gap analysis.
2. Have user-friendly reports re outstanding gaps.
This is key for gap analysis, so you don’t miss any gaps! With the right solution, you will have graphs, pie-charts, and written reports to help you see which gaps still need addressing, whether certain standards are doing poorly, if certain responsible people need a nudge, and which areas of the business need extra attention. This is all key to being well-prepared for the audit.
Similarly, responsible people could log onto their dashboard and easily see what they need to work on. Thus they can prioritize the most pressing issues.
3. Send automatic notifications.
Many audits look at policies, requiring them to be disseminated and/or updated at specific intervals.
A good gap analysis solution will simply ask you to input the ‘expiry date’ and notify the responsible person as that date approaches. Once the updated policy is disseminated, a solution worth its salt will log the dissemination date and recipients list as evidence.