For years, organizations and businesses have successfully used analytical tools such as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis as a basis for the formulation of strategies and objectives, and to fully investigate and evaluate the merits of specific initiatives. TÜV SÜD America has applied the mechanism of the Insight Auditing® SWOT analysis to the auditing of a wide range of management systems. The result is a robust auditing process that provides data to drive continuous business improvement, in addition to the standard benefits of quality audits.
TÜV SÜD America’s Insight Auditing® SWOT analysis presents the audit findings in clear, understandable terms and directly connects them with specific areas of business significance and /or risks, as well as follow-up actions that focus future activity in those areas of greatest priority.
In strategic planning, a SWOT analysis can be used as a starting point for developing an organization’s goals or objectives, or as a mechanism for assessing the likelihood of achieving goals and objectives once they have been drafted.
Use of the Insight Auditing® SWOT not only results in a more effective management system, but helps to connect such improvements with the larger goals of the organization.
How Does Insight Auditing® SWOT Analysis Differ From Auditing Reports?
On-site audits assess an organization’s compliance with the standard requirements of certification programs. All third-party-accredited registrars are required to comply with the provisions of ISO 17021 when reporting audit results. However, the similarity between standard audit reports and TÜV SÜD America Insight Auditing® SWOT reporting ends there.
A typical audit report includes all audit findings, including non-conformities and improvement opportunities. Nonconformities are typically written in standard compliance language, which may impede full comprehension by personnel who work outside of quality or environmental management functions. The audit report is given to the company’s management representative, who is then responsible for addressing and closing out nonconformities. Formal actions in connection with improvement opportunities are seldom addressed.
By comparison, the TÜV SÜD America Standard Audit Report (SAR) is designed to include five different audit findings, as follows:
- Best Practices
- Positive Comments
- Opportunities for Improvement
- Minor Nonconformities
- Major Nonconformities
TÜV SÜD America also provides clients with a Value Assurance Insight Auditing® SWOT report during the closing meeting. This SWOT report supports and enhances the value of the SAR in the following ways:
The SWOT report is a one-page, high-level summary that translates the audit findings into business-focus items (BFIs); The report goes beyond a typical audit report to include information that has potential business impact and consequences, including:
- Strengths: Characteristics of the organization’s QMS/EMS that give it an advantage over others;
- Weaknesses: Characteristics that place the organization at a competitive disadvantage;
- Opportunities: Areas where performance (e.g. revenues, profits, operation excellence) can be improved;
- Threats: Areas within the QMS/EMS environment that could place the operation at risk.
The SWOT report is addressed to the client’s senior management, and is written in nontechnical language to increase comprehension and understanding.
With the additional information provided by the Insight Auditing® SWOT assessment, decision makers have better intelligence regarding the organization’s priorities and can make more informed decisions regarding the allocation of resources required to improve the overall business performance and minimize potential risks.