The words “audit” may strike fear in your heart, but the reality is that many companies pass their maintenance audits regularly. There is no reason to fear a maintenance audit if you’re following the correct procedures.
What exactly is a maintenance audit?
A maintenance audit is a comprehensive and systematic review of an organization’s maintenance, inventory, and processes. It evaluates how activities and standards are maintained, such as in-house facilities and repair processes. Audits help you ensure quality, health, and safety at your facilities.
Auditing firms inspect a variety of maintenance functions, including:
- Equipment maintenance
- Maintenance practices and organization
- Management of documents, inventory, and purchasing
Although they can be stressful, audits protect both you and your organization. The primary purpose of any audit is to see how well you’re following your SOPs, check for problems or shortcomings, and, if there are any problems, create a plan of action that addresses them.
Audits are a way to ensure your procedures meet every requirement and that everything is working as effectively as possible.
Why are maintenance audits important?
Maintenance audits give managers a clear view of what’s happening in the organization, which helps them more easily set benchmarks. By comparing the baseline data to correct procedures, managers can more easily define problems and implement solutions.
Audits also protect you and the organization from liability because generally audits focus on safety standards and procedures, helping to lower the risk of workplace incidents. With regular audits, you ensure your organization is meeting requirements and that you are covered in the event of accidents or injuries.
You must include audits to ensure you provide safe working conditions for your employees and safe products for your consumers. Audits help hold you accountable, as they are often done by third-party companies. This means they view your organization through an objective lens to provide integrity for their audits.
What are the types of maintenance audits?
There are three types of maintenance audits.
This type of audit is required by law. They are a comprehensive inspection of processes carried out by governmental agencies and include maintenance processes. For example, the U.S Food and Drug Administration conducts regular audits to ensure practices follow the proper manufacturing processes.
A voluntary audit is a way for a company to have the freedom to complete audits that are not mandated or compelled by law and are used to obtain certification that gives organizations an edge over the competition.
For example, some food safety certifications in the food and beverage industry are voluntary, as well as some playground safety audits. By submitting to the audit, the organization proves its commitment to meeting the industry's current best practices.
A maintenance audit is an internal audit that organizations include in their plans for improvement. They are important to do regularly as they help organizations evaluate if their current processes and systems are effective, giving them a chance to correct any problems they find.
Maintenance audits foster continuous improvements, especially when their results are compared against company codes, policies, and other indicators.
Knowing the types of audits to expect helps you improve over time and be better prepared.
How often should you perform maintenance audits?
It all depends on the auditing agency and your industry. Some inspections come as a surprise, and some are scheduled. Most maintenance audits occur within manufacturing or maintenance departments.
If the organization has a history of falling short, code violations, or not being up to industry standards, audits become more frequent and often are unannounced. Depending on the severity of the situation, the audits could even lead to a full investigation into violations and failures.
However, audits of maintenance and manufacturing departments every six months to a year give managers a clear picture of how they’re performing and what areas need improvement.
What is included in a maintenance audit?
In many cases, a third party needs to complete the audit to ensure unbiased results. During the audit, all floor managers, supervisors, and workers need to be present and interviewed. Expect an audit to look into:
- General data
- Budgets and costs
- Production equipment
- Documentation procedures
- Maintenance management
- Organization within departments
After the team is done, it’s time to analyze the data. This information is used to create either short-, mid- or long-term solutions for any shortcomings or problems. The plan of actions you design needs to reflect carefully established priorities.
Additionally, a cost-benefit analysis needs to be included in your audit to help you and your team make decisions that benefit the company in the future.
How do you pass a maintenance audit?
Even though audits are a pain, there are ways to make things easier on yourself and your team to take the sting out of any future audits. In order to pass, your department needs to be doing everything by the book, and everything needs to be up to code. Implementing a CMMS makes this more manageable.
A CMMS helps you track your data and provide up-to-date documentation of every inspection and task. You and your team have access to all the information you need to carry out all your plans, and all your data is available in one place. A good CMMS platform is easy to learn and use, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time training your team to use it correctly.
With the right CMMS, you have access to a complete history of everything that happens in your department, from what happened, how much time was spent, what equipment, tools, or parts were used, and who carried out the task.
Having a properly documented history provides reliable proof in the event of a workplace incident. It also gives you and your team a way to compare past and current data to look for patterns and ways to improve. Also, remember that things need to be documented as accurately as possible -- if you don’t document something, in the eyes of your auditor, it never really happened.
CMMS software, unlike traditional paper or spreadsheet work orders, automatically updates in real time, so everyone on the team is working from the same data. No one is behind and no one is out of the loop. It ensures your team has the proper instructions, and if any changes are made, it is reflected immediately, decreasing the chance of misunderstandings. This helps you pass your audits because nothing falls through the cracks, and everything is done based on the proper procedures.
The best way to decide is to talk with something from the industry. All you need to do is find the right provider.
Hippo's here to help you get the solution that works best for you, including answering your questions about facility maintenance software, helping you book a live software demo, or even setting you up with a free trial.
CMMS software solutions help maintenance departments keep critical assets online for less money by streamlining processes and capturing and leveraging reliable data. Unlike older management systems, a modern CMMS lives in the cloud, ensuring everyone has access to up-to-date data. Organizations across industries can see concrete benefits from the systems, including more uptime and less wasted time and money. When choosing a CMMS, it's important to consider not only the features but also the complete user experience, including implementation, training, and ongoing support.