Use audit scores to drive change

Our recent updates to the Auditing module bring the power of measurement to the fingertips of our users. You can develop your own scoring methods and the software can automatically calculate your audit scores. You can even break down your checklist into smaller sections which allows you to drill down to your audit scores section by section.

All these changes allow you to turn your team of auditors and your various audit programs into a management powerhouse. Before you get started however, here are some things to keep in mind when developing your own audit scores.

What gets measured, improves

It’s a management cliche that “if you’re not measuring it, you can’t improve it”. But no matter what you think about management catchphrases in general this one happens to be true. If you’re not measuring things you’re simply operating in the dark.

I’m not saying that intuition wouldn’t play a crucial role in management and making good decisions but when it comes down to steering worldwide corporations we can’t operate on guesswork. We need to set measurable targets and measure improvement against those targets to have some tangible feedback. Using automatically calculated audit scores can provide you with that feedback.

People respond to incentives

One thing you need to keep in mind when you start using audit scores to drive positive change is to consider how people respond to incentives.

As soon as you start reading the gigantic Principles of Microeconomics you will learn that people always respond to incentives in some way. The catch is that they might respond in the opposite way you had expected. When seat belts were made mandatory some 50 years ago traffic related deaths shortly went up because people responded to “safer cars” by driving faster.

This is really important when you design your food safety audit scores and other KPIs. Remember that people will want to get good scores from audits, and they typically take the easiest route to achieving the highest possible result. Sometimes people will start focusing on one thing while forgetting all the rest. Relating back to example about seat belts, departments that receive a good hygiene audit score might suddenly start ignoring safety somewhere else because of the false sensation of safety. Keep this in mind while developing your Hygiene Audit Rating or Supplier Quality Rating, just so that you’re not inadvertently harbouring the opposite behaviour.

Luckily there are lots of tried and tested scoring methods and checklists available that you can start using without too much of a hassle. Here are a couple of links for your inspiration:

Keep the scoring simple

When you’re designing your corporate audit program you should keep the audit scoring method quite simple. The human tendency is to design highly elaborate indexes and derivative scores and use a lot of acronyms, but this is usually counterproductive. Even if it’s less impressive and looks more boring its better to keep things simple. Complicated audit scores just make it difficult to communicate your results and it becomes more difficult establish the reliability of whatever you’re trying to measure.

Please let us know in the comment what type of audit scoring you are using in your own company! What are the best type of audit scoring systems you have come across?

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