Unfortunately, there is a negative stigma surrounding the word “audit” when by its very nature, it should encourage energy for a culture of continuous improvement.
Generally, audits cause us to focus on documented information, they incite corporate fear of non-conformance and ultimately can cause businesses to behave in ways that are contrary to the objectives of the audit.
Perhaps we could alter our language. Maybe we could call it a “getting it right” review where we seek to catch you in the process of getting it right while offering opportunities to improve.
Audit’s are necessary to ensure organisations are doing what they say they do as part of their management systems – including conformance with international standards and compliance with legislative requirements. When conducted in a positive way, the benefits can be endless.
Where to from here? Organisations (including third party certifiers) need to transition from a culture of reactive conformance to a forward-thinking culture of relevance and innovation. International standards have updated their rhetoric and moved away from a clinical and prescriptive nature of documented conformance for a more flexible requirement offering an opportunity for SME and government agencies to innovate.
The market needs to react to this emerging requirement and respond effectively with digital platforms that automate the heavy hitting parts of a management system, moves away from the generic and allows organisations to get on with the business of innovating, growing and performing to higher standards for their customers and end users.
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