Industrial audit: a lever for improvement in your production plant
An industrial audit is an essential step in maintaining and improving the quality, efficiency and profitability of a production plant’s manufacturing processes.
What is an industrial audit?
Industrial performance audits consist of an objective and systematic assessment of the various elements that make up a production plant or manufacturing process. The aim is to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement, based on industry standards and best practices. Factory audits play a fundamental role for companies wishing to optimize their resources, comply with regulations and adapt to technological developments.
Different types of audit for a production factory
Several types of audit can be carried out, depending on the objectives involved:
- Quality audit: focused on the quality management system and compliance with internal and external quality standards.
- Environmental audit: focused on controlling the company’s environmental impact and compliance with environmental standards.
- Safety audit: focused on occupational risk prevention and compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.
- Energy audit: aimed at analyzing energy performance and practices.
- Supplier audit: to evaluate and select industrial partners on the basis of their reliability and social responsibility.
- Due diligence audit: carried out as part of a merger or acquisition to identify the risks and opportunities associated with integrating a new entity.
How to carry out an effective industrial performance audit?
How a manufacturing process audit works
An industrial audit generally involves the following phases:
- Preparation: definition of audit scope, objectives and criteria, setting up the audit team, planning activities and gathering information.
- Execution: site visits, verification of documents, interviews with managers and operators, collection of data and samples.
- Analysis: processing of information gathered, identification of strengths and areas for improvement, drafting of report.
- Restitution: presentation of conclusions, recommendations and an action plan, implementation of improvements and monitoring of results.
Methodology and tools for an effective production process audit
There are several approaches and techniques for carrying out an effective production process audit. The methodology chosen will depend on the specific features of the plant and the issues targeted:
- Evaluating digital models: using software and decision-support tools to simulate, analyze and optimize production processes.
- Application of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP): compliance with principles and procedures guaranteeing the quality and traceability of manufactured products.
- Use of the 5S method: organize the work environment according to criteria of sorting, tidying, cleaning, standardization and discipline to improve performance and safety.
- Risk analysis: identification and assessment of potential hazards linked to activities, infrastructures or equipment, in order to define appropriate measures.
- Process mapping: visual representation of information, material and energy flows within the plant to facilitate analysis and understanding of the system.
The benefits of an audit for a production plant
Well-conducted industrial production audits can bring many benefits to a company.
They help to optimize performance by identifying sources of waste, delays or elements that don’t add enough value. The plant can then implement an action plan to increase productivity and reduce costs, while improving customer satisfaction. At the same time, an industrial audit enhances safety. It promotes risk control, enabling accidents or interruptions to be anticipated and prevented. What’s more, a commitment to continuous improvement enhances a company’s image. By complying with legal requirements and obtaining recognized certifications or labels, the company can strengthen its relationship with customers and suppliers. Last but not least, a plant audit helps to mobilize teams, making them aware of current issues and actively involving them in improvement plans, while developing their skills.