Inspections and audits can save lives and reputations. While they are different in terms of depth and scope, they also share some similarities. Many people do not really understand that there is a difference between inspections and audits. If you are in a similar situation do not be surprised. There are many people across a broad range of industries that do not know the difference between the two. This post aims to discuss the differences between inspection and audit management.
What are Inspections and Audits?
Once you look at the meaning of these two words, you’ll actually find out why a lot of people mix them up.
According to the ISO 9000:2015, an inspection is the ‘determination of conformity to specified requirements’ (3.11.7).
An audit has a similar definition and is the ‘the systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled’ (3.13.1).
In simpler words, inspections are mostly observations, a review of sorts to inspect a particular product or service. This review is performed to ensure that the product or service works to specification. An audit, however, deals with a more thorough examination of the entire process. This includes the process that goes into building the product or service.
While both are, in fact, reviewing a product or service. There is a big difference between them and the depth of the review. This difference is what often confuses people due to the similarities in the definitions.
Audits look at the overall process that led to the product or service, as an end result. Think of it in this way. Let’s take an example - assume that you are in the mining business. If your equipment is not working for any reason, you stand to lose thousands if not millions of dollars in revenue. If you were auditing such an operation, you would look at:
- The materials being mined
- The hours of operation during which the equipment is being used
- The skills and training of the operators
- The location of the mine and the weather conditions
- The maintenance of the equipment itself
- The tools being used for the maintenance
- The training of the technicians performing the maintenance etc.
As you can see, the list can be quite large! However, if there was an inspection of the equipment, the condition of the equipment at that specific date and time would be the only thing measured.
Key Differences Between Them
Now that you have understood what inspections and audits are, let’s move on to the key differences between them. If you don’t understand the difference between inspections and audits, you might find it harder to be able to distinguish between their respective key features. Therefore, we highly recommend that you go back to the previous section and read it so that you understand what we’re talking about very clearly. The last thing you want to do is to mix up the key features of inspection and audit management as well.
Inspections, as we mentioned earlier, are more a review of the product or service itself. Inspections generally have a more defined frequency and schedule. They can be performed daily, weekly, monthly or even annually. The focus of an inspection is to check a specific end state. It could be that a product is safe to use, or it is being maintained correctly or something else. Inspections usually follow a predefined checklist and can be done by anyone in the company, or even by a third party if you want.
Compared to that, you’ll find that audits are more formalized. They are used as a tool to assess whether your product or service follows a written management standard. Audits also check whether the process of creating your product is reliable and effective. For example, if you have a service, audit checks if you are delivering quality services and not just reporting business based on quantity.
Audits may use employee interviews, data collection, and observations of your work environment to produce a report on the overall performance of your company. Unlike inspections which may be carried out just to see the quality of the product or service, audits might be conducted with a different goal in mind. For example, a company looking to expand or reduce its workforce might request an audit. Like inspections, audits can be done by an employee as well as a third party. Most of the inspections are conducted on periodic bases in regulated industries such as Gas, Oil & Mining, Construction, Pharmaceuticals, and many others, to follow the set standards by the government.
Simplify and Standardize Your Audit and Inspection Process with Field Eagle
Inspections and audits can be time-consuming and labor intensive, but they can be made easier through the use of technology. The Field Eagle solution was custom built to address the current manual process. It gives you a single place for all of your data and reports and will help identify problems proactively.
Field Eagle integrates with many other systems and allows you to submit reports and information in real-time. With corporate and regulatory standards built in, this paperless powerhouse is the go-to solution for companies in the Construction, Mining, Manufacturing, Chemicals, and Oil & Gas sectors.
Comprising of two key components - the Field Eagle Server and Field Eagle Tablet communicate seamlessly - ensuring data integrity. Using Field Eagles powerful inspection and audit backbone, businesses around the world can realize efficiencies. Field Eagle is very user-friendly and delivers exceptional value at economical price point. You can try Field Eagle for free for 15 days and test it in your real enterprise inspections and audit operations.
Hopefully, now you understand the key differences between inspections and audits. As you can see they both serve a valuable place in the business, however, there function in addition to their delivery is clearly very different. If you would like to get more information or looking for an easy to use and implement inspection and audit software solution, look no further, Field Eagle is easy to use and one of the best inspection and audit management software for small and medium-size companies. Contact us to know more or schedule a demo with one of our solutions experts.