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It's time for operational audit

In order to start doing something, we usually need an incentive, the realization that we are not satisfied with the situation and need to change something. The understanding that a company needs to organize a regular audit of all business processes of the company comes in different ways, but there are also common features. If you want to understand whether you need an operational audit, this is the article for you. 

We'll find growth areas

Each business owner daily solves routine issues related to the functioning of the business. One store in the chain was fined by the fire inspectorate, the other had permanent queues at the cash desk, the third had no promotional materials, and the fourth had excessive staff turnover. 

Some call it all a problem and suffer from their number. Others prefer to see it as a development zone and direct their efforts to understand why these bottlenecks have occured. Conditionally, all the emerging growth areas can be divided into obvious and non-obvious. 

Let's look at the surface

Let's consider a simple example: the retail chain has to pay regular fines to the inspection organizations. This situation can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • improper work of the employee of the central office supervising this direction;

  • non-compliance on the part of the outlet manager;

  • poor quality services provided by contractors, etc.

At first glance, it may seem that in order to solve such issues, it is enough to conduct an audit of those retail outlets that have identified shortcomings. That's true, but only in part. Such a "single" operational audit is only the first stage, and the second stage is a similar procedure for the whole network. Thus, you will solve current tasks and be able to prevent similar situations in other stores in the future.

Let's get to the bottom of this

Imagine you're a shopkeeper. Stand in front of your shop window, everything's fine: mirror shines, beautifully lined goods, bright sign, eye-catching advertising slogan, but customers walk by into a nearby store. You start comparing yourself and your competitor, but you don't see any advantages. This means only one thing — you have unobvious growth zones.

If everything is clear with the obvious development zones — it is necessary to check a specific business process, find bottlenecks and eliminate them, then unobvious reasons are all controversial. You need to conduct a comprehensive operational audit of the entire company to understand why customers walk past your store and enter the same competitor's store.

Go the extra mile

And one last thing: the indicators are in the planned values; the operational efficiency of the personnel is in accordance with the company's standards and the management works using the SMART system. In short, everything is fine, but the need for an operational audit can also occur in this situation. For example:

  • you're always looking for new solutions to grow your business;

  • we shared our successful experience of using the audit system and you decided to try the same on your own;

  • you follow the world trends closely and try to implement everything that seems interesting and effective.

It remains to understand what operational audit is and how to conduct it.

Operational audit in the old way

Operational audit has been known for a long time, there is nothing complicated about it. This is a review of operational business processes for compliance with the standards accepted in the company. Traditionally, paper tables and now electronic ones, were used for this purpose. They were filled in and sent for inspection by the inspecting officers.

With the development of communication tools for operational audit, other tools have begun to be adapted as well: E-mail and calendar, group chats in messengers, task management systems and so on, but ultimately it all comes down to the tables already mentioned.

Such an approach certainly has the right to exist, but it is radically outdated and has a number of significant drawbacks:

  • high labor input — to collect and analyze a lot of tabular information you need to do a lot of work;

  • limitedness — to analyze in depth and detail the array of tabular information, it is sometimes impossible to highlight only the aspects you need;

  • severe time delay — due to the high complexity of the analysis, the results will be obtained after a certain, occasionally very long time;

  • loss of relevance — a direct consequence of the large time delay is that it is not possible to respond to detected violations immediately;

  • opaqueness — the outdated approach to operational audit creates great opportunities for fraudulent results.  

Let's try a modern approach

All the above-mentioned drawbacks during operational audit can be avoided if you use a modern IT-solution — MD Audit. This system offers an operational audit using checklists that can be filled in on a simple smartphone or tablet.

Thus, the main problems of outdated methods of operational audit are solved:

  • no time delay — all the information collected is immediately available for analysis, so you can immediately start working with the identified growth areas;

  • low workload for executives — all information is collected in the electronic form and automatically uploaded to the cloud storage;

  • functional flexibility — operational audit can be divided into different stages, with an unlimited number of elements, and collect not only textual information, but also photos from the inspection areas;

  • powerful analysis system — in MD Audit the received data can be presented in tabular form or in the form of charts and diagrams, standard reports are available for the information analysis, but it is also possible to create your own;

  • protection against fraud — the system has several levels of protection against unscrupulous performers.

And most importantly, you need to understand that operational audit, as any global task, only brings maximum effect when you consistently perform three main stages.




MD Audit is focused on organizing operational audit in this form, and it is impossible to achieve it with the help of outdated methods.

Is it time for an operational audit in your company?

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Tags standards control , process management
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