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The future of auditing: Empower your organization to thrive as an industry leader

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Automated defect and feature metrology system enables new levels of quality and reduced rework for aerospace components further enabling aviation safety standards.

The auditing profession has undergone significant evolution over the years, progressing from its inception with military standards to embracing total quality control, Deming principles, and ultimately adopting ISO standards. What’s different now? Below are some of the trends in auditing impacting auditors and the profession as a whole:

  • The need to branch beyond one “practice” Due to complexity from a regulatory and customer demand perspective, companies have been implementing varied management systems and internal practices. Previously, companies conducted internal and external audits typically in quality, environment, and sometimes health and safety. Now, it’s common to involve aspects of anti-bribery, mental health in the workplace, information security, and much more. This may require professional auditors to migrate from specialists to generalists (supported by subject matter experts.)
  • The cause of a problem may not be you: It’s a known fact that one of the main causes of recalls is supplier product defects. Strong quality oversight of supply chains is not a new trend. What’s new are the additional supply chain oversight needs of complex supply chains. You can no longer ignore how your suppliers operate and how they manufacture your materials. From understanding their carbon footprint, to how they manage the health, safety, and well-being of employees, auditors are now brought in to help support supply chain professionals manage the intricacies of their suppliers.
  • Yes, we have good quality. But is it better than my competitors? You may have a good quality management system or a solid environmental and health and safety system that fits your needs. But your company is not your oyster, and just down the road (or across continents) you may have competitors with stronger performance than yours. Auditors are being asked to be able to benchmark their systems with those of their competitors to improve their competitiveness.
  • Technology could make the profession irrelevant. Are you ready for change? Looking back on the history of quality and auditing, process-based auditing emerged in the early days. We can’t inspect every product from our production line, as industrialization has made it impossible.

The focus was on auditing the manufacturing process to assure repeatability, stability, and consistency. This created a controlled outcome. What if every single product has a sensor that enables the monitoring of its functions? If you have 100 percent assurance that your products are working as they should, why audit the process at all? What’s next? What are you auditing? Consider this: the company's culture, its commitment to quality, environmental consciousness, and data security measures. How does that impact you as an auditor? These above are four examples of areas that will require a new skillset of auditors and the auditing profession. To be ready for the future, auditors will need to investigate what skills they need to succeed. The first that may be needed is adaptability; it may be the most important skill an auditor will have. Auditors need to be prepared to change to new environments, new regulations, new standards, or new approaches to auditing. Another one is the ability to use technology in its favor. Can you use drones in your auditing process? Can you use IoT devices and recognize data patterns and be able to use them to predict future outcomes? If you feel the need to adapt to an ever-evolving auditing profession or have immediate needs to fulfill, rely on BSI to help you. From supplier audits to internal audits, we can give you peace of mind that your internal and external requirements are met. Our teams of auditing and verification experts are here to help you on this journey. By partnering with BSI to develop your audit program or train your teams for the changes to come, you can protect your brand, improve trust, and gain more competitiveness in the marketplace.