Defining the process audit checklist

Process audit checklists are itemized breakdowns of manufacturing processes to check during routine audits. They list all areas that need periodic review, and enable an auditor to log their observations. 

Audit checklists, however, aren’t perfect. These paper-based forms are time-consuming to manage, easily damaged or misplaced, and difficult to compile into meaningful reports. As a result, many manufacturers spend more time managing their audits than their processes. 

One easy way to get beyond this problem is to digitize your process audit checklist–replacing paper audit forms with instrumented digital applications. 

Here are 5 reasons you should consider digitizing your audit checklists.

5 reasons to digitize your process audit checklist

1.) Paper checklists are hard to update

Manufacturing processes are dynamic. They’re constantly evolving. That means every time a new product line is introduced or a new line rolled-out, checklists have to change.

If you’re using paper, you might find yourself editing a spreadsheet to add or remove audit items, and then printing new forms and managing versions. 

Digital checklists simplify this process. Every time you need to update an audit item, you simply update the application. That way every auditor is always using the same, up-to-date checklist. 

illustration of a traditional kamishibai board
Paper cards and checklists are hard to update

2.) Can’t include images

image of a digital process audit checklist application with a picture embedded in the apps
Digital audit applications put pictures of audit items where they’re needed

You want your auditors to have the best possible information. Often, that includes giving them pictures of compliant states for reference. 

Paper checklists rarely have room for images. (Realistically, you could put images in your paper checklists. But that would disrupt the format, not to mention any problems you might have with printer resolution…). Digital audit applications make it easy to embed images, videos, and other media directly into your checklist. 

That way frontline workers always have a clear picture of what constitutes a pass or fail. 

3.) Checklists aren’t linked directly to corrective actions

Picture of a process audit checklist application showing how open actions are tied to audit results
Digital checklists can automatically create corrective actions

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Each time an auditor finds a nonconformance, there needs to be a corrective action

With paper, instigating this corrective action requires additional layers of communication and work. 

With digital audit apps, reported nonconformances can be linked directly to associated corrective actions. An auditor marks a fail, a corrective action appears on a “to do” list, a notification goes out to all relevant parties. 

4.) Data is hard to aggregate from paper

Over time, audits provide a birds-eye view of a manufacturing operation. They let you know what works well, what needs improvement, and where opportunities are. 

Getting this data in one place, however, is a challenge. 

If you’re using paper, this means manually entering data into a spreadsheet. Once you begin logging corrective procedures, the administrative burden of audits can get out of hand. 

Digital audit applications automatically gather your data into a useful format. They let you display your data in a useful, visual format, with all of the charts, breakdowns, and audit histories you need. 

5.) Can’t view your results in real-time

With paper, there’s always going to be a delay before your data’s ready. 

Audit applications eliminate the lag-time between observation and action. They give you a real-time picture of your operations, and expedite any necessary actions. 

Conclusion – Digital is a better way to audit

When it comes down to it, getting rid of paper is one of the easiest ways to make a difference in your manufacturing operations. 

Audits are a great place to start. 

If you’re interested in digitizing your audits, you can get started with a free trial of Tulip.

Digitize your audits now with a free trial of Tulip