The word ‘audit’ is one of the most dreaded words. Whether it’s Health and Safety audits, Ofsted visiting your school if you are a teacher, or anything else where the reputation of your business depends on the audit outcome. Add to it ‘unannounced’, and very few will be able to keep their polite smile on!
But audits are a good thing. They are an excellent opportunity to:
There are many types of compliance audits. Some are industry-specific, whereas others are more general. BRC and SALSA are renowned audits for the food sector; whereas ISO is a more generic one for quality standardization.
Succeeding at an audit can be hard, depending on where you start. Doing a gap analysis will help you identify which standards need a lot of work, some work, or none at all. The first time you go through the audit may be particularly challenging. You may need to change or introduce new policies or processes. After that first time, it will just be a matter of maintaining standards.
Of course, this can only be done if the business has the right culture, i.e. a proud culture of ‘it is important for us to get things right’, rather than a culture of ‘what’s the least we can get away with’.
Once you have succeeded at an audit you will look back at your processes before you started working towards the audit. You will probably go: ‘How did we ever do things like that?’ Preparing for the audit may have been time-consuming and stressful; but in the end you have a business with high standards, where things are planned and organized … and this is something you can brag about …
Research time and time again indicates that customers prefer high quality products. If your business meets rigorous standards, as demonstrated by the audit, then you probably have a high quality product! Certainly it shows that you care about quality.
Successfully completing an audit is a significant mark of quality for your business. Don’t keep it to yourself! Tell your suppliers, your customers, the world! Your success makes you a more reliable manufacturer or business partner, and it makes your products more attractive.
It’s not just about the one-off press releases, blogs, and tweets. It’s more about the long-term impact of proudly inserting the appropriate logos etc on your marketing material and your packaging.
The fact your product is of a high standard may also command a higher retail price. Let’s be honest, working towards audits can be costly. But here is the ROI for it! Not that you should work to high standards simply because of the money you get back; but it’s certainly a good benefit!
We are very proud to be working on a gap analysis for BRC-V8. Get in touch for more details as to how this can help your business.