It’s one thing to be aware that using software to transform audit/inspection processes can provide numerous business benefits. It’s quite another thing to actually begin using software to gain those benefits.
Audit/inspection software such as The Checker Software has so many capabilities to create and support improvements, it can be daunting to decide where to focus initial implementation efforts.
But this decision—where to begin?—is the logical first step in any software implementation. It must be made before you can begin down the road toward maximizing the value of audits and inspections.
Fortunately, this decision doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s really common sense, and it can be made by simply answering the fundamental question: “In what areas of our company do audits and inspections have the greatest impact on costs and risk?”
The areas you identify will probably seem self-evident, but listing them out will serve to focus your organization’s attention on them as you get started with your implementation.
Operational Cost Impacts
One area that many companies will quickly identify is the audit/inspection impact on production lines. If a particular aspect of the production process is subject to breaking down—and that failure will result in shutting down or slowing the process—then that aspect is an obvious place to focus initially. It is a high-value concern, and improved audits and inspections can clearly reduce the failure rate during production.
This logic is true for any asset or equipment that is critical to an essential element of operations. If something breaking down can stop or hinder you from doing what makes you money, there’s an opportunity to gain much value by auditing or inspecting that thing.
Maintenance is another area where audits and inspections can greatly impact costs. The maintenance department should be immediately notified whenever an audit or inspection reveals a problem that needs fixing, so that the problem’s costs can be eliminated ASAP. Ideally, problems should be detected and reported to maintenance before they become more serious and expensive problems. And audit/inspection results should be used by maintenance to determine the most cost-efficient preventative maintenance schedules based on historical failure patterns.
If that’s not how it’s happening in your organization, you can significantly reduce maintenance costs and operational disruptions by concentrating initial software implementation efforts on this area.
The areas being considered here are often thought of as vulnerabilities that need defending against—a defense audits and inspections can provide.
Human safety is always a top risk concern, and so any operation that poses the potential for serious injury or fatality is an obvious place to begin making improvements using software. Improved audits and inspections will reduce incidence rates.
Another vulnerability related to safety is compliance. Any area of your operations in which non-compliance fines would be relatively high is an area to put on your list. So is any area in which non-compliance would likely trigger a regulatory audit.
Facilities are also vulnerable. Are there are any aspects of your operations that could damage or destroy your facilities? Or that could harm personnel working in those facilities? The issue could be chemical hazards, fire hazards, air quality problems, or something unique to your operations. Whatever these vulnerabilities are, they should be included in your initial-focus areas.
If you’ve decided to implement audit/inspection software to maximize the value you get from your investment in audits and inspections, you’ve made a wise decision. Now, to get started, focus on the areas where audits and inspections have the most impact on costs and risk.
Reducing production downtime, lowering maintenance costs, and minimizing safety/compliance risk are typical areas on which to focus, but each company may have different priorities.