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Drive Continuous Improvement by Analyzing Audit Findings

01 Aug 2023

Creating an environment of continuous improvement requires a management-driven mindset and detailed analysis of audit findings that should be conveyed at all the levels in the organization. Thanks to the advanced audit management software, it has become easier to manage audit-related activities.

The continuously changing landscape of quality standards and customer requirements has made it important for organizations to have improved, effective, and efficient auditing structure that can help them attain quality as well as operational excellence. However, the audit process should be presented as one of the tools to drive continuous improvement.

Let’s Have A Closer Look at Process of Auditing and Its Role in Quality Management

The process of auditing in quality management helps to ensure that all the set of policies, processes, and procedures are defined in compliance with regulatory standards and customer requirements. ISO 9001 is proactively helping organizations to keep their audit processes managed with globally accepted quality standards.

The organizations that follow ISO guidelines takes a streamlined, process-oriented, and risk-based approach to maintain the highest level of quality in their products and services, ensuring reliability, safety, and consistency. In fact, those are the ones capable of meeting customer expectation while complying to industry standards.

What is the Quality Audit, Internal Audit, and External Audit?

A quality audit is the systemic approach of examining and verifying the quality system of the organization.

An external quality audit is performed by a certified audit firm who will evaluate whether an organization is practicing and complying with the established quality processes to develop a quality product or service.

An internal quality audit is carried out by the quality department which will evaluate the compliance to quality standard implemented to create a quality product or service.

The quality audit helps to verify and confirm if the quality objectives are achieved and is compliant with quality system regulations. External audit can be concluded by issuing a compliance certification and internal audit can help with standardization of processes.

How A Quality Audit is Conducted?

Here are the different stages of a quality audit:

  • Define the scope of an audit
  • Identify the entity who will help conduct an audit.
    • If external entity – contacts a specialized and approved establishment.
    • If internal entity – schedules an audit
  • The quality audit is prepared and planned.
  • The quality audit is conducted. It may include individual interviews and tests.

At the end of the quality audit, a meeting is organized between the auditor and the management of the company.

  • A report is sent a few days later to the management.
  • A follow up quality audit may be proposed in case of observations or findings.

Commonly Faced Challenges in Conducting an Efficient Audit

Lack of Communication :

From audit planning to scheduling, conducting to executing, until its effectiveness check, maintaining a smooth communication is a bare necessity. If the details will not be communicated well with the team members involved, all your audit efforts could go in vain. The details may involve the frequency of audits, people assigned with audit tasks, the audit workflow to be followed, and much more.

The best way to maintain consistent communication with your audit team is investing in a audit management software that enables you to document the process details in a centralized platform that can be accessed by every team member as and when required even if it is just for reference purpose. Make sure the software comes with the additional capabilities like Email Alerts, Notifications, Follow-ups, and Approvals to streamline the entire process in a jiffy.

Inefficient Filing Systems :

Though many companies have realized the potential of technological solutions to make their audit processes simple, fast, and efficient, there are still many organizations that feel apprehensive of a digital approach for managing their business processes. This, as a result, poses difficulties for the audit team in collecting the requisite data and analyzing the same for effective findings that could drive improvement.

The organizations that still follow a paper-based approach are simply killing the productivity and efficiency of their audit teams even if they conduct audits annually. The traditional approach could result in voluminous paperwork for creating checklists, generating reports, documenting activities, and much more. It will only make the audit process inefficient by increasing the cycle time.

Poor Traceability :

Traceability is a very important factor when it comes to audits and their analysis. Each audit can result in numerous findings followed by requisite CAPA actions. And, lack of traceability could lead to serious problems for your quality management system to work effectively and efficiently. You might miss the signals on risks, findings verification, audit closure, etc. to make informed decisions to improve organizational efficiency.

A voluminous amount of paperwork cannot be traced as efficiently as an electronic system. It will result in delayed audit process, dramatically affecting your business bottom line. If you want your business to attain a competitive edge, you must ensure the Audit Management Software deployed in your organization offers great reliability, flexibility, accessibility and traceability.

Inaccurate Approach :

It tends to be a difficult job to generate accurate reports for trends and activities when you don’t have all the information. Without having accurately generated reports, it may become difficult for Quality Controllers and Managers to develop the right strategy for implementing the continuous improvements. They will, in fact, need an electronic system to plan yearly audit schedule; conduct, track and monitor the audit; document audit observations/findings; and help implement and monitor corrective and preventive action plans.

The paper-based systems make it impossible to keep track of every aspect of a quality management system. Further, quality controllers fail to have a bigger picture that insightful audit findings are expected to offer. Therefore, the inaccurate approach is one of the reasons that many companies couldn’t make most out of their audit findings.

How Do Audit Findings Help to Drive Continuous Improvement?

Having access to the properly analyzed audit findings enables organizations to drive continuous improvement by taking the required actionable steps within time. Make sure you have an advanced audit management software that can help you extract and trend audit findings to;

      1. Integrate leadership and develop corrective and preventive action plans to address:
        • quality system gaps
        • noncompliance to regulations
      2. Encourage staff to participate in the quality process,
      3. Develop procedures and train users
      4. Adopt an adapted process approach,
      5. Have a factual approach to decision making,
      6. Maintain a good relationship with suppliers, customers and regulatory entities.


Audit findings play an important role to strategize the entire process of quality improvement so that your organization can comply with the regulatory standards and meet customer requirements in a streamlined manner.

Most importantly, you need a powerful audit management software like Qualityze that can help you manage the end-to-end audit processes including planning, scheduling, executing, tracking, monitoring and trending.

Always remember audits help you to unlock the potential of your existing resources efficiently and effectively.
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