3rd party Audits: Keys to success
Updated: May 6, 2022
Working in various industries, I am certain that most have been exposed to some sort of 3rd party audit or an audit process in general. Most companies will spend a few days up to a few weeks in preparation to ensure that on the day of, their internal systems and processes are ready to undergo the stringent review process. If you have worked in the field of aviation, then 3rd party audits are simply a way of life. From Nadcap to AS9100, passing accreditation review has a major impact on the ability of a company to do business. Without the approval of major accreditations, the ability of a company to operate can be extremely limited with a greater burden of risk attached to any business who would choose to receive product from a company that has not earned the passing marks. What are some of the keys to passing major 3rd party audits? I have a few tips to deploy that will improve your performance at any level.
Maximizing internal audits:
Conducting regularly scheduled internal audits are imperative for your long-term success and ease of compliance. Internal audits (performed by the organization) present organizations with an opportunity to undergo the audit process to examine people, processes, procedures, and culture. An internal audit allows for the discovery of those things which are meeting expectations while uncovering areas that require improvement. Ensuring that this step is effective reduces the pain and heartache of mass failure during accreditation time, while creating an environment of preparation and readiness to be utilized not only on audit days, but as a way of standard organizational best practices.
Holding scheduled training sessions with personnel to cover processes and procedures are vital to the success of your organization. One of the great components that truly impresses a 3rd party auditor is their ability to communicate with knowledgeable employees who understand and can properly execute their assigned duties. When employees have received proper training and are truly invested in, they will know the expectations of their job and be able to deliver high level performances with minimum amounts of pressure due to proper preparation.
I have seen many companies go into full blown panic mode the week leading up to an audit. Normally organizations that fall victim to massive panic attacks are those who struggle to implement effective internal audits and have become accustomed to allowing bad habits to be a regular part of everyday operations. Building quality into the system reduces the amount of changes an organization must try to implement right before an audit. When your processes are clearly defined, a system is in place to monitor effectiveness and execution, and your people are properly trained with a clear road map that will lead them on a journey of excellence day in and day out, audits are just another part of the day.
Proper review of materials:
Most major accreditation audits come equipped with a checklist of requirements. Ensuring that your team becomes intimate with the checklists is a great opportunity to be utilized to understand how your processes measure up against incoming expectations. Checklists are usually made available many weeks prior to an audit taking place. This is a tremendous time to explore where your organization may be falling short of standards with an opportunity to develop and implement action before the full-scale audit commences.
For something to grow, we must measure and monitor the data being collected to understand where processes are achieving success and where they are failing. As we seek to make improvements, keeping track of the different variables being introduced and their level of impact is key. Some introductions of change will push an organization closer to its set goals, while others will add no value. Having the ability to properly identify those components that are leading to success and just how much each is contributing is vital for organizational understanding, organizational execution, long-term replication and cultural sustainability.
Lamont Anderson is a business consultant and President of ALA Enterprises. He is an entrepreneurial dreamer with accredited educational success with a master's and bachelor's in business with over 10 years of quality experience in the world of aviation. If you are need business growth strategy, contact him at email@example.com