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gcse-fhp

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 04:33 AM

It makes very good sense that companies want to have value-added audits. Auditors and auditing companies often re-assure the audited companies that these are the kinds of auditing services they offer. Have you ever wondered what is actually meant by “value-added audits”? If you are audited, or you are the auditor, what would you consider to be value-added? Do you expect “value-added” to mean the same thing to both parties (the audited and the auditor)?

From an auditor’s perspective, the ordinary understanding of “value-added” is this: The auditor points out a number of things that the audited company has not considered in its programs. In this sense, it does not matter if these things (usually deficiencies) are rated as non-conformities. The more the deficiencies that are pointed out, the greater the value added and the lower the likely final audit score. This is all seen as improving the company’s programs. Value is added. It is clear that the final audit score is typically inversely proportional to the value added. This means that as a facility becomes more proficient, consistent and effective in maintaining its programs, the value that can be added by the audit decreases.

Is this what you understand as “value-added audits” or do you have a different understanding? For example, if a customer’s decision to buy from the audited company is based on the audit score, will this still be value-added since the customer may choose to go elsewhere with fewer “value-added” findings and supposedly higher audit score? Please share your thoughts.

Thanks!


Edited by gcse-fhp, 02 November 2012 - 02:44 PM.

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:19 PM

To me ‘value added’ simply means any Continual Improvement. So if the audit delivers non-conformances, observations or opportunitiesfor improvement in any area of business importance such as food safety, health& safety, productivity, efficiency, waste reduction customer satisfaction etc.then it is value added. To what degreedepends on the cost v’ benefit calculation of each idea.
 


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:42 AM

So if the audit delivers non-conformances, observations or opportunitiesfor improvement in any area of business importance such as food safety, health& safety, productivity, efficiency, waste reduction customer satisfaction etc.then it is value added.

I agree. The more findings an audit provides, the higher is its value. The best value added audits are those that ensure continuous improvement. At the minimum, audits are value added if they help to ensure that implemented programs continue to produce the desired results. It goes without saying that these results must be measurable. Else it is not possible to know if situations are improving, remaining the same or deteriorating. I have found that the value of audits is currently measured at two levels depending on who is doing the measuring. On one level, the industry measures its accomplishments on the basis of formalized programs and "compliance" level attained as a result of the audits. On the other level, consumers measure the industry's success rate in protecting them.

Irrespective of the metrics, some things are indisputable: Audits that produce no measurable improvements in eliminating the undesirable situations they are intended to eliminate are not value added audits. They are useless. What picture does this bring to mind? For example, consider the number of hours spent on food safety audits versus the number of reported recalls, food-borne illnesses and fatalities. Also consider the general industry attitude (the often wavering attitude) about the ability of food safety audits to guarantee food safety.




Edited by gcse-fhp, 06 November 2012 - 06:06 AM.

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gcse-fhp

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:43 PM

The irony is companies audited, particularly for some form of certification or other, usually do not want audits to reveal more findings. In fact, they seem to wish that some of the findings are concealed. This is why many companies prepare rigorously immediately prior to audits in order to present a good front during the audits. They soon relax after the "audit event". Such practices appear to be contrary to the desirability of value-added audits.


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