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10 November 2017

Reclaim your time and control through audit automation

By Joe Moore

During my time as a consultant for Ideagen I had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of customers over the years and helping them to implement Q-Pulse; a compliance safety and operational risk management software solution.  I would meet people from many different aviation organisation departments during the project but the project focus would inevitably be made up of staff from the Quality and Safety departments. During our strategic planning sessions, we would discuss the challenges they faced and audits were always high on the list, what struck me in the majority of all the organisations I visited was the volume of audits and inspections that were taking place and the size of the teams managing them, even in the largest organisations I worked with they may still only have a few staff to control this, a growing pressure on a small but crucial team.

The audit teams I supported would generally be facing internal, external, regulatory, supplier and sometimes customer audit schedules, on top of this they would often be managing key meetings or committees within the organisation such as the Management Reviews and Safety Action Groups. In many cases the HOD’s would also be chairing weekly and monthly Quality or Safety meetings. The output of these would-be findings, observations or recommendations, whatever you called them they were actions and tasks that needed to be assigned to various stakeholders around the company or sometimes outside of the organisation that needed to be tracked, evidenced and closed and if they weren’t closed followed up upon.

My question was how do the audit teams manage the myriad of daily tasks whilst trying to manage such a heavy audit schedule, I have seen some amazing manual systems over the years, but I have also seen a lot of those systems fall to pieces when the key manager who created them leaves the organisation.

When supporting an organisation, my key objective was always to give the team back their time, to allow them to be more efficient and gain back control.  I wanted to support the audit system in the organisation so it would become more effective, we may not reduce the number of audits and inspections departments have, but Ideagen want to make you more effective throughout the process, to have the time to dig deeper or to explore ways in which the audit could drive efficiencies through the company.  I did this by using the suite of modules within Ideagen’s SMS/QMS, Q-Pulse.  Making our auditors mobile, reducing the time takes to complete checklists, create reports, raise findings and making sure that people are accountable within the system and to reduce the burden on the follow up.  This worked even more effectively when we started to escalate the overdue items. The teams I worked with would constantly have to analyse and present the data they were recording and again we tried to automate that process letting our customers show in meetings in real time what is happening in the organisation.

The key benefit of an SMS/QMS like Q-Pulse is that it becomes the single point of truth when it comes to checking evidence, documentation, safety reports or key supplier records. One of my clients described our system in the best way to me, they said “when you add a record to Q-Pulse you give it a voice it can remind you what needs to be done and alert the necessary stakeholders when things slip. It becomes an extra member of the team to give you back the time to do what you are most effective at.”

So, if this sounds familiar, the team here would be delighted to spend some time with you reviewing your current processes and showing you how we have helped hundreds of customers to become more efficient in managing their requirements.

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