The task of planning business trips for auditors is solved by each company in its own way. Someone uses calendars, someone fills in spreadsheets, and one of our clients has found a non-standard application for MD Audit that has helped make this process easier.
The process of compiling a travel calendar seems to be straightforward: managers draw up their travel schedules and send them to the manager upon request. In some companies, these files are stored in a folder on a network drive, and someone even makes a single travel calendar, but often the process is haphazard and uncontrolled (travel expediency is not checked, changes are not tracked, files are not updated).
This was the situation for one of our clients, but the matter was complicated by the fact that each business trip and visit to each store was connected with the mandatory check-list inspection of the object in MD Audit. This created the need for additional data coordination, because the audits were planned in our system, and business trips were in excel files. It took time to bring two different sources to a common denominator and there were regular inconsistencies.
For example, a regional director could schedule travel arrangements and the Operations Director at MD Audit could schedule an extraordinary audit later. As a result, the regional office had to rewrite its travel schedule and go through all related procedures again.
Obviously, all the inconsistencies were caused by the fact that the travel calendar and the MD Audit check calendar were in different places. The decision was so simple that it was amazing why no one had seen it before: It turned out that it was sufficient to draw up a travel calendar based on a verification calendar.
The priority here is precisely this, because the planning of inspections takes place over a long period of time and is subordinate to the strategic goals of the company. Business trips in this particular case are only a means to solve this problem.
Changing the procedure of travel planning and checks in one source helped our client to simplify the process, minimize the number of questions, approvals and other bureaucracy. The managers also received a convenient monitoring tool. For example, to get information about the number of already "closed" or only planned business trips, it was enough to generate a report on the calendar, reflecting the status of checks.
It is important to clarify that such a planning system justifies itself in the event that you have the same situation, business trip involves the mandatory inspection of the store on the checklist. If your company organizes business trips for other purposes, it will be more difficult to use MD Audit to plan them.
Of course, the MD Audit calendar cannot yet be called a full-fledged tool for travel planning. It only provides information on the dates of planned missions/audits, but does not say anything about the additional tasks of the trip so far. In future releases of MD Audit, we plan to work on this feature.
It should be noted that our client has solved the problem with auditors' control at the same time. Prior to using MD Audit, each audit looked like a black box for the central office. It was almost impossible to find out what the auditor was doing (auditing or not leaving the hotel room). Often the auditors colluded with the store directors and they confirmed the fact of the audit, which did not actually take place.
After the introduction of MD Audit, such situations were eliminated due to the built-in geolocation control function in the system. It's not possible to start and finish the audit outside the store. This has improved the quality of the auditors' work and, consequently, has had a positive impact on the work of the entire company.
From this story, it seems to us that we can draw a simple conclusion: MD Audit is not just a system for conducting operational audits, but a flexible and multifunctional business management tool.