Audit Missteps: Six Things To Avoid

What Are the Root Causes of A Failed Audit?

What are the root causes of a failed audit? Aside from obvious pest or food safety issues, there can be multiple reasons from poor recordkeeping and communications to staff turnover or inadequate resources – both financial and training.

And then there are the seemingly insignificant things that come up during an audit. The deductions may not be significant and won’t cause you to fail an audit, but they could be enough to raise questions. Questions not only auditors and inspectors but clients as well. Regardless of the reason the result is not good.

Every facility or QA Manager has experienced or heard what happened when an audit returned a lower than anticipated score. Customers may look to a new vendor to buy from. Your brand reputation could take a hit. Management may ask questions and become more involved in the process. All because an audit didn’t go the way it was supposed to.

Paying attention to the small items before and during an audit are critical to making your facility audit-ready and compliant. Brushing aside a point or two deduction here and there may not seem important but can snowball if left uncorrected over time.

A good example is door sweeps. Not replacing a broken sweep may not send your audit crashing to the ground but the perception it creates – that your facility is not on top of simple maintenance items – is very real. And so is the conducive condition it creates to provide pests a means to gain access to your facility.

A perceptive auditor or inspector may also view it is a sign that more questions need to be asked or your facility needs a lengthier, more in-depth inspection. In their view where there’s smoke there could be fire.

Pay Attention to the Little Things

Sprague’s Geoff Wiebe A.C.E. and Riley Dodson have participated in hundreds of third-party audits with clients and have assembled a list of some of the most overlooked items that can cost a facility points.

  1. Tight Spaces

If a pest management service professional cannot access an area of a facility to inspect or perform service, it gives pests an advantage. Remember, clutter is a pest’s ally. Not leaving an 18-inch minimum clearance between product and warehouse walls can easily be overlooked but is something that auditors will notice.

  1. Missing Documentation

If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen. That is how an auditor will view missing or incomplete documentation/device mapping. Accurate and complete recordkeeping of documents is essential to audit readiness and successfully passing an audit.

  1. Unaddressed Bird and Spider Activity

If an observant auditor notices evidence of bird activity (i.e., droppings, resting locations, etc.) – birds do not actually have to be present inside the facility – they may flag it. The same goes for spider activity. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) auditors and inspectors are paying closer attention to both these pests.

  1. Unsealed Cracks in floor not properly filled/sealed

They are easy to walk over every day but unsealed cracks in a production room floor collect food particles and water and attract pests, and an auditor’s attention.

  1. Open Doors

A propped open door on the side of a warehouse during the heat of summer may seem harmless but it can be an open invitation for a wide variety of pests from ants to rodents to gain access. And it will deduct points from your score.

  1. Device Placement

Third-party auditor firms can have specific (and differing) requirements regarding frequency of services or traps and bait station placement. Knowing what audit standards your facility is being judged on is important; don’t assume all third-party audit standards are the same or you can have points deducted.

Sprague’s QA Experience Delivers

A successful audit is in the details. Sprague Pest Solutions’ in-house QA auditors will leverage innovative data collection and reporting technology to prepare your facility and staff to successfully complete any audit. We can serve as an extra set of eyes during the pre-audit walkthrough and prep and be present during the audit itself.

Our audit preparation and documentation protocols are accurate, thorough and comprehensive, and meet all leading audit firms’ standards. Sprague can also help verify your documentation is in order and explain any corrective actions and how the issue was resolved.

With Sprague clients can feel confident that no matter when an auditor or inspector comes knocking at their door, they’ll be ready.

Discover The Sprague Difference

If you are looking for an innovative pest management and QA auditing service provider for your commercial property, connect with the Sprague pest management experts at 800.272.4988.


Commercial Properties