During the time I've worked at Tequila Sauza, I've professionally developed myself by carrying out a series of different activities. One of them is by being part of the team of internal auditors to assess compliance with our Tequila Sauza Operating System. In all of the audits in which I've participated, I've learned and acquired knowledge of each of the requirements requested by the comprehensive management system and compliance itself.
It should be noted that it's important to carry out internal audits with the internal staff. This helps us to conduct audits in greater depth and detect where Tequila Sauza's operating system impacts the most.
In general, one of the main benefits of performing internal audits is to allow the main managers of Tequila Sauza to make decisions based on the results found by the auditors. By taking advantage of it, we can move forward so that those problems that have always been in Tequila Sauza can be overcome and thus, achieve the expected results of the comprehensive management system.
What are audit techniques?
Audit techniques are those practical methods of investigation and evidence that the auditor uses to verify information and/or evidence that allows him to reconstruct the facts, in order to determine the degree to which the audit criteria are met.
Attitudes facing the audit
In recent months, the issue of internal audits in the Operating System processes has been constantly mentioned in Sauza. For some of its workers, these issues are repetitive and they even ask "Why are our processes being audited so often?" However, there are people with different attitudes towards these audits:
- Receptive- The one who understands that the findings help him improve his processes and appreciates them
- Defensive- Wants to get the least findings registered, showing a hesitant attitude during the audits
Some still consider audits as something negative, as an obligation, without internally seeing that audits help us to:
- Search for improvement opportunities
- Verify the conformity degree and the implementation degree
- Verify if we are complying with our established procedures such as:
- instructions that we have established in our integral system, in which we are certified
Little by little, Tequila Sauza's staff has been starting to accept and join the audits since they realize the importance of carrying them out in our comprehensive management system, for they allow us to visualize in detail, findings classified as:
This is how we can identify opportunity areas, detected in time in order to improve them and thus, achieve greater operational efficiencies and best practices in our integrated system.
Well, without further words, I will present the steps to apply an internal audit, considering the best possible ways to help process owners or managers of Tequila Sauza to improve them.
5 Steps of an Internal Audit
Step 1: Planning of the Audit Program
In this first step, we set an agenda with the future audit dates. Having an audit program is very important since it allows everyone to know in advance - a week before - when each of their processes will be audited, according to the dates set in the program.
The audit program is thus, the main result of this first stage, the planning stage.
Step 2: Planning of the Audit of Processes
Once the previous agenda/schedule is set, the next step to an internal audit is to design the planning of the audit and communicate (prior to the execution of the audit) to the management and/or owners of the processes of Sauza tequila, the scope of the audit, so that all parties involved know the limits within which the evaluation will be done.
Step 3: Run the Audit
All audits must get started with a previous opening meeting between the auditor and the process owner, so that both approve the audit plan.
The Chief Auditor:
- Introduces himself and/or the members of the audit team, technicians or observers
- Explains the objective, scope and criteria of the audit
- Describes the audit process to follow
- Informs the ways in which the necessary information can be gathered, for example:
- Reviewing previous records (manuals, procedures, catalogs, formats, etc.)
- Interviews with employees themselves (they know, apply, understand and identify the documents, etc.)
- Tour at the area to be audited (So that they comply with what is established in the integral system)
We then run an analysis of the data that was gathered, based on the direct observation of the process in operation.
Based on this gathered information and on the observation of the actions of the people, the auditor seeks to verify that the process is effective in producing the established results and that, in general, it works as provided in the established integral system.
Step 4: Audit Report
Once the process of reviewing and gathering information is completed, we must then hold a closing meeting between the auditor and the process owner.
In this meeting, the owner of the process should be informed about the findings discovered in the areas that present problems and that need to be reviewed, as well as should be informed about those possible areas that, even if they're functioning properly, can still improve their performance.
It's advisable that the findings discovered in the audit get registered in the audit report so that the auditor's information flow is documented and gets delivered to the process owner. By doing so, we can give a proper follow-up in future audits, considering the suggested corrective and preventive actions described in the report.
Step 5: Audit Follow-Up
This step is very important because after identifying the nonconformities, we must verify that the corrective actions are implemented within a reasonable period of time.
Without an effective follow-up to the suggested corrective actions, the audit process would be a waste of resources from both the auditor and the auditee.
Tu sum things up, in this blog I've shared the steps that are followed for an internal audit, as well as the importance of carrying it out in our Tequila Sauza facilities. Making the best out of the steps that I've described, we can detect those problems that have always been present in our processes.
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