Professional Audit Support & Representation
From Sub-Contractor to Principal Contractor
As your business grows and develops its services, you naturally aspire toward larger and more complex projects. Over time your business ascends within the Supply Chain hierarchy, from the lower echelons of as sub-contractor under the control of primary and/or Principal Contractor upwards, moving out of the shadows, until you become the Primary / Principal Contractor working directly for the client with ultimate control over your own team of Sub-Contractors.
It is no longer another company’s management systems under scrutiny; it is your organisation with ultimate responsibility and it is your systems and procedures in the spotlight. Your new customers must assure themselves of your organisation’s competence and ability to manage its risk, and control its Supply Chain to consistently deliver your products and services.
Ascending the Supply Chain
On your journey upwards within the Supply Chain you are likely to have been required to demonstrate ever greater competence and more often than not, implement Business Management Systems, e.g. ISO 9001 Quality Management, OHSAS 18001 Safety Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management systems, amongst others. Indeed, the higher you ascend within the Supply Chain, the greater the demands that Clients place upon you to demonstrate that you are a trusted delivery partner.
The Dreaded Supply Chain Audit
At some point your business will find itself facing either a Third Party professional Auditor, or even a team of Auditors, who will spend a considerable amount of time, usually between 1 – 4 days with your key personnel, evaluating your management system, policy, processes and procedures, looking for opportunities to trip you up…or at least, that is often what is feels like.
These audits can be intensive, gruelling and in some cases highly stressful, often putting your resources under considerable strain. Imagine 2-4 days of being extremely patient, trying to ensure that you always say the right thing, answering questions which you may not really understand, knowing that the auditor is processing every word, every response looking for threads that will lead them to your weaknesses.
Over the years we have encountered the aggressive audit style, and in some cases even been on the receiving end. It only takes one auditor having a bad day or concealing a hidden agenda and the result is a negative impact to an organisation’s growth that can be devastating and long-term.
No one enjoys being scrutinised or criticised, in fact the thought of being audited for many people conjures up unpleasant images of being interrogated and patronised, often by someone who is insensitive, judgemental and only interested in catching the auditee out. With some of the more aggressive auditors it can feel like a courtroom cross-examination.
There must be an Easier way…?
What if you could have a professional auditor sitting next to you, helping you to answer the questions? Wouldn’t it be better to have someone on your side during these exhausting audits whose job was to;
- Help you to prepare for the audit in advance.
- Coach you and your team in relation to how to be audited, how to answer the auditor’s questions and how to present the auditor with the evidence they are looking for prior to the audit.
- Help you and your team to answer the questions professionally and effectively.
- Manage the audit process with your best interests in mind.
- Defend your organisation against potentially negative audit results, reducing findings by utilising professional creative argument, and;
- In some case challenging and overturning findings which are not valid.
At Armatus we developed a unique service called Audit Support, or as one of our clients once called it (humorously) “The Anti-Auditor”. We provide a flexible service offering to support you during an audit and help you to turn the audit into an opportunity to show your client just how professional and dedicated your organisation really is. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”. Sun Tzu
Isn’t that cheating?
Sir Winston Churchill once said… “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
The results of all audits must represent the truth and the facts as these are incontrovertible, opinions can be disputed, facts cannot. A good auditor must be impartial and focused in presenting an accurate reflection of the good and bad they find during an audit. We, as with all truly professional auditors, keep this in mind at all times. Is it cheating to have support during an audit, of course not… “Fortune favours the prepared mind”. Louis Pasteur
The Benefits of Audit Support
Historically, our Audit Support service encourages auditors to stay on track (i.e. within their stated Terms of Reference and Audit Scope), clarifying understanding, verifying facts, recording evidence and raising non-conformance which can be substantiated by accurate reference back to the standard at the source of the audit.
This approach adds value to both the Client and auditee as the results of the audit are meaningful and fact-based. But most importantly, your business is truthfully and accurately to your clients.
A Track Record of Providing Audit Support
Over the years we have deployed our Audit Support service for with clients and contractors, large and small, from the Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy, Construction, Engineering, Defence, Highways, Diving Operations, Marine and Maritime sectors, across the United Kingdom and internationally. Our customers have seen significant benefits from audit support, including ascending within the Supply Chain and even breaking into industry sectors not available to their organisation in the past.
Please get in touch so we can discuss how our Audit Support service could benefit your business.