Stupid audit non-conformances

How to avoid stupid audit non-conformances

    Stupid audit non-conformances can be easily avoided. Any type of audit of your work systems and practices can be a daunting process to go through. After 20+ years of auditing regulatory, compliance and certification standards, I have often reflected on why one company can obtain a good audit result when another company performs poorly.  What I have observed is that there are common practices that have contributed to both successful audit outcomes and audit failures.

    Regardless of the type of audit, there are a range of easy to implement strategies that will ensure your Company gets through this process. The strategies and information contained in this presentation, that I recently recorded for the International Food Safety & Quality Network,  will help you to avoid stupid non-conformances and be more organised for your next audit.

    Watch the presentation


    Presentation Summary

    Strategies to avoid stupid audit non-conformances

    There are five key strategies discussed in the presentation to help you avoid stupid audit non-conformances. These include:

    1. Know what you are being audited against
    2. Management commitment
    3. Audit preparation
    4. Completing internal audits
    5. Staff Training

    Here is a quick highlight of each of these strategies.

    Know what you are being audited against

    A good working knowledge of the audit criteria and the scope of your audit is the first success strategy to consider.  It is beneficial to confirm with the auditor (prior to the audit) the audit criteria and audit scope.  It is recommended that you have access to a current copy of the audit criteria.

    Management Commitment

    Commitment is required at all levels of management to ensure the success of any compliance or audit activity.  Without management commitment, the audit process can be stressful for all involved.   Management commitment can take many different forms but the underlying requirement is that it starts at the highest level of the business.

    Audit Preparation

    The better prepared you are for the audit the better your audit result.  Remember the five P’s: Prior planning prevents poor performance! There is money to be saved through prior preparation, as often a lot of time is wasted (which you are paying for in an external audit) when files and records cannot be located or the right people are not available.

    Completing Internal Audits

    An internal audit is recommended to be performed prior to an external audit being undertaken.  A well conducted internal audit provides the opportunity for a comparison to be made between the audit criteria and the current business documentation and practices.  Any issues identified can then be rectified prior to the external audit. Get access to internal auditor training by clicking here.

    Staff Training

    Well trained and competent staff will always make your business better. This is no different when it comes to avoiding stupid audit non-conformances. Take the time to set up and implement a structured and relevant training system to support the day-to-day success of your business.


    I also mention a few resources in the presentation that you may find helpful in avoiding stupid audit non-conformances.

    Share your stupid audit non-conformances

    In the presentation, I gave some examples of stupid audit non-conformances that I have seen over the past years. Share the amusement (and maybe embarrassment) with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below.


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