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Objective assessment using checklists
18.03.2019

Why data diverge

Each of us has at least once encountered discrepancies between the data in the reports and the actual situation. For example, in the report on the audit results of the N-store illumination is fine, but one evening, passing by, you see barely distinguishable dark mannequins representing the hits of sales. Now you can see why in this store the hit articles lag behind the network. It makes sense if you have a question about the objectivity of the auditor.

This is the simplest example of the human factor impact on the final result, but the situation is not always that obvious. Sometimes, a whole investigation is needed to determine the possible causes that led to the misrepresentation of information. Fortunately, detective cases are rare and the main reasons for distortion of information are related to the inadequate use of the MD Audit features and lack of knowledge of the audit process methodology.

To see if you are doing everything right, check yourself on the following checklist.

All questions are formulated unambiguously

It is important that all audit process participants understand the checklist equally. For example, a simple question "Clean showcase" allows a wide range of interpretations, different auditors will understand it differently and, consequently, will give different answers. Obviously, the results of such an audit will be biased.

In order to avoid this, you need to change the wording of the question, add the criteria of cleanliness that are important to you: “Clean showcase: no scotch marks, no fingerprints, no stains." With this description it is clear to everyone what to pay attention to when assessing the state of the showcase. MD Audit has the ability to set even more precise criteria: attach a reference photo of a clean showcase.

Choose the type of questions that suits your strategy

There are two types of questions you can ask in MD Audit: the first implies "yes" or "no" answers, the second assumes intermediate values (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 points). Each of them has its own pros and cons.

The first type of questions are unambiguous and facilitate subsequent results analysis, but they can cause dissatisfaction among the auditors under check. The fact is that a positive answer to this type of question is possible only in case of 100% compliance with the standard. If there is even the slightest discrepancy, the answer will be no, which may seem unfair.

The second type of question seems to be more loyal, which implies intermediate assessment options between the extremes. However, there is another difficulty: each interim assessment option needs to have its own clear criteria so that each participant in the audit process can clearly identify when the shop window is clean by 4 points and when by 3. If this is not done, there will be even greater discord between the audit parties. Most of the time, you'll hear an objection: "Why did we get different grades for the same job?"

Choose the type of question that best fits your task.

Use all the features of MD Audit

The system has several tools for monitoring data objectivity. The first is a photo report. It can be used to easily avoid ambiguity in the evaluation of the standard performance. For example, in addition to the merchandising standard, it is enough to ask the auditor to attach a photo of the product presentation.

The second tool is geolocation, which determines the true location of the auditor during the audit. The system checks the employee's geoposition against the coordinates of the verification object and can block the possibility of conducting an audit, if the data do not coincide.

A systematic approach to the verification process and verification analysis results is ensured

It is possible to receive objective information about the activity of the verification object and the quality of key business processes performance only from the analysis of data accumulated during the period. One-time audit will show the situation only on the date of the audit, but will not allow to see it in dynamics.

For example, during a one-time inspection of the N-store, you recorded an inaccuracy in the execution of the standard for the design of the "new collection". The first thing that comes to mind is that the store manager isn't working well and maybe he needs to be replaced. But if you trace the results of the same store for some time, you will realize that you almost fired the best manager of your network. At the end of the month, he has the highest ratings among all managers, and that one-time remark, as time has shown, is an exception.

Two types of reports are implemented in the system to analyze the audit results for any period of time: tabular and visual BI reports. "Audit calendar" — a convenient tool has been developed to help users develop a regular approach to the audits. With its help you will never forget to conduct an audit when you visit the store, as the system will remind you of this.

Human factor influence minimized

This factor is perhaps the most frequent and difficult to correct, but it is possible and necessary to influence it, because if you leave it unattended, then in addition to unreliable audit assessment, it can bring a lot of other negative consequences to your business. The following situations are most common in practice.

  • Lack of staff knowledge.

    In order for an auditor to make an objective and reliable assessment of operating activities, he must have relevant knowledge of corporate standards, policies and procedures. If his knowledge is not enough, he may not notice, miss violations or, on the contrary, low estimate correctly performed work. In the latter case, you risk earning a negative attitude, loss of loyalty on the part of the auditee.

  • Blurring line between professional and friendly relations.

    If the relationship between the auditor and the audited is beyond the working scope, the auditor can give a good assessment in advance, turning a blind eye to a small violation. This incident is not as harmless as it sounds. Regular occurrence of such situations can provoke systemic problems.

  • Unfair performance of the duties.

    The auditor can do a half-hearted audit, give positive answers to the checklist without going into details. As a result, the store staff will lose their vigilance and will also be tempted to work carelessly.

  • Personal interest.

    In cases where staff motivation is linked to audit results, there is a risk that the auditors will intentionally overestimate the final results for bonuses. If you do not check the auditors and do not influence such actions in time, prepare for overpayments for non-existent merits.

The easiest way to reduce the impact of the human factor is to conduct a control audit by another auditor or to apply the "check of auditors" approach. It is important to understand that the situation in the stores changes very quickly: from week to week, the presentation of collections in the sales area, promotional design are changing. Therefore, a control audit should be carried out, which is called a hot trace, with a minimum time difference, using the same checklist.

Be objective with MD Audit

The hero of a popular movie said that ignorance is a good thing. In business, that's a disastrous position to take. If you don't have objective information, you won't be able to see in time the difficulties you're encountering and how to resolve them. Now you know how to get information about your company's business processes with MD Audit and how to ensure its reliability and objectivity.

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