SIMSA Audit Software


SIMSA is an integrated Audit Management Platform based on the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) framework of operational excellence. It cuts out the bureaucratic layers of reviewers & approvers, therefore quick to deploy and intuitive to use. Its simplicity and mobility feature is the key factor for the buy-in from the operational staff. It can be used for self-assessments and tracking of corrective actions.

Category: Insights


Environment and Social Management System: Enhancing Supply Chain Sustainability


In today’s globalized world, supply chains play a crucial role in the success and reputation of businesses. With increasing awareness about environmental and social responsibility, companies are realizing the importance of integrating an effective Environment and Social Management System (ESMS) into their supply chain management practices. ESMS helps organizations identify, manage, and mitigate environmental and social risks, ensuring sustainable operations and positive impacts on communities and stakeholders.

Importance of ESMS in Supply Chain Management

Integrating an Environment and Social Management System (ESMS) into supply chain management is of utmost importance for businesses in today’s socially and environmentally conscious landscape. ESMS ensures that companies consider and address the environmental and social impacts of their supply chain activities, leading to several significant benefits.

Firstly, ESMS helps companies identify and mitigate environmental and social risks throughout their supply chains. By conducting thorough assessments and evaluations, organizations can proactively identify potential issues and implement measures to minimize their negative impacts. This proactive approach not only safeguards the environment but also protects the well-being of communities and stakeholders involved in the supply chain.

Secondly, implementing ESMS promotes sustainability and responsible practices. By setting clear goals and targets for sustainable operations, companies can optimize resource utilization, reduce waste generation, and minimize pollution. This not only reduces the ecological footprint but also leads to cost savings and operational efficiencies in the long run.

Thirdly, ESMS enhances brand reputation and stakeholder trust. In an era where consumers and investors increasingly prioritize ethical and sustainable business practices, companies that demonstrate their commitment to environmental and social responsibility gain a competitive edge. By integrating ESMS into supply chain management, companies can strengthen stakeholder relationships, attract socially conscious customers, and access new markets that value sustainability.

Furthermore, ESMS fosters transparency and accountability. Through regular reporting and monitoring, companies can track their environmental and social performance, identify areas for improvement, and demonstrate compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards. This transparency builds trust with stakeholders and allows for effective communication of sustainability efforts.

Pillars of ESMS

ESMS Pillars
1. Policy

A strong foundation for any ESMS lies in the development and implementation of a comprehensive policy. This policy outlines the organization’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility, setting the tone for sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. It should align with international standards and best practices, and clearly define the company’s goals, objectives, and strategies for managing environmental and social impacts.

2. Identification of Risks & Impacts

Understanding the potential risks and impacts on the environment and society is crucial for effective ESMS implementation. This involves conducting thorough assessments and evaluations to identify potential environmental and social risks associated with the supply chain activities. By analyzing the entire lifecycle of products and services, companies can identify areas where they can minimize their ecological footprint and enhance social well-being.

3. Management Program

A robust management program forms the core of ESMS implementation. It includes the development of strategies, procedures, and guidelines for addressing identified risks and impacts. This program establishes a structured approach to resource management, waste reduction, pollution prevention, and social engagement. By integrating sustainable practices into daily operations, organizations can optimize resource utilization, minimize environmental harm, and foster positive social outcomes.

4. Organization

Successful implementation of ESMS requires a dedicated team and well-defined roles and responsibilities. Organizations need to designate individuals responsible for overseeing and managing environmental and social aspects within the supply chain. This ensures accountability and facilitates effective coordination across different departments and stakeholders. Regular training and capacity-building initiatives should also be provided to empower employees and foster a culture of sustainability.

5. Emergency Preparedness

Preparedness for environmental emergencies is a critical aspect of ESMS. Organizations must develop contingency plans and response mechanisms to handle unforeseen events such as natural disasters or industrial accidents. By having robust emergency preparedness protocols in place, companies can minimize the negative impacts on the environment and local communities, while ensuring the safety of their workforce.

6. Stakeholder Engagement

Engaging with stakeholders, including local communities, NGOs, suppliers, and customers, is vital for the success of ESMS. Companies should establish regular communication channels and consultation processes to gather feedback, address concerns, and incorporate diverse perspectives. By actively involving stakeholders in decision-making processes, organizations can build trust, enhance transparency, and create shared value.

7. Grievance Handling

ESMS implementation should include a mechanism for addressing grievances raised by stakeholders. Companies should establish a clear and transparent process for receiving, investigating, and resolving complaints related to environmental and social issues. Promptly addressing grievances not only demonstrates a commitment to accountability but also provides an opportunity for continuous improvement and strengthening of relationships with stakeholders.

8. Reporting and Monitoring & Review

To track progress and ensure the effectiveness of ESMS, regular monitoring, reporting, and review mechanisms should be established. Companies should define key performance indicators (KPIs) and implement systems to collect relevant data. Periodic assessments and audits help identify areas for improvement, measure the achievement of goals, and facilitate informed decision-making. Transparent reporting on environmental and social performance promotes accountability and facilitates benchmarking against industry standards.

The Role of Leadership in ESMS Implementation

Successful implementation of ESMS requires strong leadership commitment. Top management must champion sustainability as a core value and integrate it into the organization’s culture.

Top management should actively participate in setting the strategic direction for ESMS and allocate adequate resources to support its implementation. They should lead by example and promote a culture of sustainability throughout the organization.

Leadership plays a crucial role in driving change and inspiring employees to embrace sustainable practices. By effectively communicating the importance of ESMS and its benefits, leaders can foster a sense of ownership and engagement among employees. They should encourage innovation and provide necessary training and guidance to ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in achieving sustainability goals.

Furthermore, leaders should regularly review and evaluate the progress of ESMS implementation. They should monitor key performance indicators, assess the effectiveness of initiatives, and make necessary adjustments to enhance performance. By demonstrating their commitment to continuous improvement, leaders can motivate employees and create a culture of accountability and excellence.

Partnership Between Companies in the Supply Chain

Collaboration and partnership between companies within the supply chain are vital for effective Environment and Social Management System implementation. When companies work together, they can share knowledge, resources, and best practices, leading to collective improvement in environmental and social performance.

The partnership enables companies to align their sustainability goals and coordinate efforts to address common challenges. By collaborating on initiatives such as responsible sourcing, waste management, and community engagement, companies can leverage their collective influence to drive positive change.

Sharing best practices and lessons learned fosters innovation and encourages the adoption of more sustainable approaches. Through collaboration, companies can identify and implement cutting-edge technologies, processes, and policies that have a positive impact on the environment and society.

Moreover, partnership enhances trust and transparency within the supply chain. By openly sharing information on environmental and social performance, companies can build strong relationships based on mutual respect and shared values. This transparency extends to stakeholders, including customers, investors, and communities, who increasingly expect companies to demonstrate responsible supply chain practices.

SIMSA Operational Audits


In an era where sustainability and social responsibility are paramount, integrating an effective Environment and Social Management System (ESMS) is crucial for companies seeking to enhance their supply chain management practices. By embracing the pillars of ESMS – including policy development, risk identification, management programs, stakeholder engagement, and reporting – companies can minimize environmental and social risks, drive positive change, and create long-term value.

Leadership commitment, resource allocation, and continuous monitoring are vital for successful ESMS implementation. Additionally, collaboration and partnership between companies in the supply chain foster knowledge sharing, innovation, and collective improvement in sustainability practices.

Embracing ESMS not only aligns businesses with global standards and best practices but also enhances their reputation, fosters stakeholder trust, and contributes to a more sustainable future.

Warehouse Gemba Walk

Warehouse Gemba Walk: Unlocking the Power of Excellence

The Gemba Walk is crucial for achieving warehouse excellence and optimizing operations. In this all-encompassing guide, we will delve into the pivotal role of the Gemba Walk in warehouse operations. We will provide a step-by-step approach to its effective implementation covering all aspects:

  • Its benefits in keeping warehouse operations in good health
  • Identify the suitable candidates to conduct it
  • Its frequency and time spent
  • What to do with its findings

Introduction to Gemba Walk

  • What is a Gemba Walk?

Gemba is a Japanese term that translates to “the real place.” In the context of warehouse operations, the Gemba refers to the actual location where work is being done. A Gemba Walk involves observing and understanding the processes, systems, and interactions within the warehouse by physically visiting the Gemba.

  • Importance of Gemba Walk in Warehouse Operations

The Gemba Walk provides an opportunity for managers, supervisors, and frontline employees to gain first-hand knowledge of the operations, identify improvement opportunities, and foster a culture of continuous improvement and warehouse excellence. It allows for direct observation of processes, equipment, layout, inventory, and the overall working environment.

Understanding the Purpose of Gemba Walk

The Gemba Walk serves several key purposes that are essential for optimizing warehouse operations.

  • Identifying Inefficiencies and Bottlenecks

By being physically present on the Gemba, managers and employees can observe the processes and identify bottlenecks or areas of inefficiency. This allows for a deeper understanding of the root causes behind these issues and enables teams to develop effective solutions.

  • Improving Communication and Collaboration

The Gemba Walk promotes open communication and collaboration among employees. It provides an opportunity for team members to interact, exchange ideas, and share valuable insights. By engaging in conversations during the Gemba Walk, employees can voice their concerns, suggestions, and potential improvements, leading to a more collaborative and productive work environment.

  • Enhancing Operational Efficiency

The Gemba Walk enables a thorough examination of processes, equipment, and layout, with the goal of identifying opportunities to enhance operational efficiency. By closely observing workflows and identifying any unnecessary steps or waste, teams can implement changes that streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve overall productivity.

How to Effectively Implement Gemba Walk in Warehouse Operations

To ensure the successful implementation of Gemba Walk in warehouse operations, follow these step-by-step guidelines:

  • Step 1: Define the Objectives and Scope

Clearly define the objectives and scope of the Gemba Walk. Determine the specific areas or processes that will be observed during each walk. This ensures that the focus remains on the most critical aspects of warehouse operations.

  • Step 2: Plan the Walk

Create a schedule for the Gemba Walks, considering factors such as operational hours, peak times, and availability of key personnel. Develop a checklist (download a sample checklist) of key areas to observe and questions to ask during the walk. This helps to maintain structure and ensure thorough coverage.

  • Step 3: Choose the Right Participants

Select participants who have direct involvement in warehouse operations. This may include managers, supervisors, and frontline employees. Including individuals from different departments or teams can provide a holistic perspective and facilitate cross-functional collaboration.

  • Step 4: Conduct the Gemba Walk

During the walk, encourage participants to actively observe processes, interactions, and the overall work environment. Engage in conversations with employees, asking open-ended questions to gather valuable insights. Take detailed notes and capture visual evidence, such as photographs or videos, to support the findings.

  • Step 5: Document and Analyze the Findings

After each Gemba Walk, document the observations, insights, and identified areas for improvement. Analyze the findings to identify patterns, recurring issues, or opportunities for optimization. This analysis will serve as a foundation for developing actionable strategies.

  • Step 6: Implement Corrective Actions

Based on the findings from the Gemba Walk, develop and implement corrective actions. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, and communicate the changes to all relevant stakeholders. Monitor the progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented actions.

Benefits of Gemba Walk in Warehouse Operations

The Gemba Walk offers a range of benefits that significantly impact warehouse operations.

  • Real-Time Problem Identification and Resolution

By physically observing the Gemba, issues and inefficiencies can be identified in real time. This allows for immediate problem-solving and prevents potential disruptions or delays in operations.

  • Employee Empowerment and Engagement

Engaging employees in the Gemba Walk demonstrates the value placed on their expertise and insights. This empowerment leads to increased engagement, motivation, and ownership over their work, fostering a positive and productive work culture.

  • Continuous Improvement Culture

The Gemba Walk promotes a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging employees to seek out opportunities for enhancement. This continuous drive for progress ensures that warehouse operations remain efficient, effective, and adaptable to changing needs.

  • Enhanced Operational Performance

Implementing the improvements identified through the Gemba Walk leads to enhanced operational performance. By eliminating waste, streamlining processes, and improving communication, warehouses can achieve higher productivity, accuracy, and customer satisfaction.

Who Should Conduct Gemba Walks in Warehouse Operations

Gemba Walks should be conducted by a diverse group of individuals, including:

  • Management and Supervisors

Managers and supervisors play a crucial role in leading and facilitating Gemba Walks. Their participation demonstrates the organization’s commitment to continuous improvement and sets the example for others to follow.

  • Frontline Employees

Frontline employees possess valuable insights into the day-to day operations and are directly involved in executing tasks within the warehouse. Their participation in Gemba Walks provides a frontline perspective and allows for the identification of operational challenges and potential improvements.

  • Cross-Functional Teams

Including representatives from different departments or teams fosters collaboration and a holistic understanding of warehouse operations. Cross-functional teams bring diverse expertise and viewpoints, leading to more comprehensive problem-solving and improvement strategies.

Frequency and Duration of Gemba Walks

Determining the frequency and duration of Gemba Walks depends on various factors, including the size of the warehouse, the complexity of operations, and available resources. Here are some considerations:

  • Determining the Frequency

Gemba Walks should be conducted regularly to ensure continuous improvement. For smaller warehouses or operations with fewer complexities, conducting Gemba Walks on a weekly or bi-weekly basis may be sufficient. Larger warehouses or operations with more complexities may benefit from conducting Gemba Walks on a monthly or quarterly basis.

  • Time Allocation for Each Walk

The duration of a Gemba Walk depends on the size of the warehouse and the number of areas to be observed. Typically, a walk can range from one to three hours. It’s important to allocate enough time to thoroughly observe and engage with employees, while also being mindful of operational demands.

Utilizing Findings from Gemba Walk

The findings from Gemba Walks serve as a foundation for driving meaningful changes and improvements within warehouse operations. Here are some steps to utilize the findings effectively:

  • Communicating and Sharing Findings

Share the findings with all relevant stakeholders, including managers, supervisors, and employees. Use clear and concise communication channels to ensure understanding and alignment on identified issues and improvement opportunities.

  • Prioritizing and Implementing Changes

Prioritize the identified issues based on their impact and feasibility. Develop action plans to address these issues, assigning responsibilities and establishing timelines. Regularly monitor the progress of implementation and provide necessary support and resources.

  • Monitoring and Evaluating Progress

Continuously monitor and evaluate the progress of the implemented changes. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) related to operational efficiency, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction. Use this data to assess the effectiveness of the Gemba Walk process and make further adjustments as needed.

SIMSA Operational Audits


The Gemba Walk is a powerful tool for optimizing warehouse operations. By physically observing the Gemba and engaging with employees, businesses can identify inefficiencies, foster collaboration, and drive continuous improvement. When implemented effectively, the Gemba Walk leads to enhanced operational efficiency, empowered employees, and a culture of continuous improvement. By prioritizing regular Gemba Walks and utilizing the findings to drive meaningful changes, warehouses can achieve higher levels of performance and success.

Food Safety

Food Safety Audits: Ensuring Consumer Protection and Quality Standards

Understanding Food Safety Audits

Indulging in the culinary delights that nourish our bodies and ignite our taste buds is an inherent part of our human existence. However, as our reliance on processed food continues to soar, the critical issue of food safety has taken center stage, captivating the attention of not only discerning consumers but also vigilant governments worldwide.

Amidst a plethora of regulations and standards, it’s disheartening to witness occasional breaches that shake our trust— ranging from tainted beef to adulterated baby milk powder and even the dreaded presence of lead in our beloved noodles. The consequences are dire, with a staggering estimate of nearly one in ten individuals falling prey to foodborne illnesses, leading to an alarming half a million lives lost annually due to consuming contaminated food. Therefore food safety audits are immensely important for any food business.

Food safety audits serve as an essential tool for evaluating and monitoring adherence to food safety regulations, protocols, and industry best practices. When it comes to ensuring the highest standards of food safety, a comprehensive food safety audit acts as a powerful magnifying glass, meticulously examining every facet of your establishment’s operations involving food handling, production, storage, and overall hygiene practices employed by food establishments.

Conducting regular food safety audits is paramount for several reasons:

1. Consumer Protection: Food safety audits are instrumental in safeguarding public health by minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses. By identifying potential hazards and implementing necessary preventive measures, audits contribute to maintaining the safety of consumers.

2. Compliance with Regulations: Food establishments are subject to various local, national, and international regulations. Regular audits ensure compliance with these regulations, mitigating legal risks and potential penalties.

3. Brand Reputation: Upholding high food safety standards enhances a business’s reputation and credibility. By prioritizing consumer safety, establishments can build trust and loyalty among their clientele, setting themselves apart from competitors.

Key Components of a Food Safety Audit

 1. Food Safety Management System: It is the foundation of food safety. A documented management system documents the commitment to food safety, policy, processes, procedures, practices, and responsibilities and creates an environment of ensuring safety in every decision & activity. It also has protocols for regulatory compliance, and resolution in case of violations or non-conformities. The food safety audit checks whether all aspects of the management system are in place and implemented in spirit.

 2. Food Production:  Food safety in the manufacturing industry plays a crucial role in safeguarding consumers from potential health hazards. By adhering to strict guidelines and regulations, manufacturers can ensure that food products are free from adulteration, harmful ingredients, and undeclared substances. The aspects of food safety in manufacturing include a sterilized environment, comprehensive quality checks, effective cleaning and sanitation practices, and prevention of contamination.

The proper functioning and periodic calibration of manufacturing and testing equipment are critical for ensuring food safety. Malfunctioning or inaccurate equipment can compromise the quality and safety of food products. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles are invaluable tools for promoting food safety in manufacturing.

3. Food Storage & Handling: Proper storage and handling of food are crucial steps in maintaining its freshness, quality, and safety. Refrigeration at the appropriate temperature slows down bacterial growth, preserving the freshness and quality of perishable foods. It is important to regularly monitor and maintain the temperature of storage units to prevent bacterial proliferation.

Proper segregation of raw and cooked foods is vital to prevent cross-contamination. Raw meats, poultry, and seafood should be stored separately from ready-to-eat foods to avoid the transfer of harmful bacteria. Regular inspection and rotation of stock are essential to prevent the consumption of expired or spoiled foods. This includes checking for signs of pest infestations and promptly discarding any damaged or compromised food items. Proper hygiene practices, which include thorough handwashing before and after handling food, and wearing appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and hairnets, to prevent physical and microbial contamination.

4. Food Packaging: Food safety audit should verify that the packaging materials used are safe for food contact and comply with regulatory requirements. Check if the materials are free from toxins, contaminants, or substances that could migrate into the food. Review the accuracy and completeness of the labeling on the packaging. Ensure that all mandatory information is present, such as product name, ingredients, allergen warnings, nutritional information, expiration date, batch or lot number, and proper storage instructions. Check if the packaging components, such as films, liners, or containers, are traceable to their source. This enables effective recall management and helps identify potential issues or risks associated with the packaging materials.

5. Hygiene and Pest Control: Evaluate the personal hygiene practices of food handlers. This includes checking if employees follow proper handwashing procedures, wear appropriate protective clothing (such as gloves and hairnets), and maintain overall cleanliness and hygiene while handling food. Inspect the effectiveness of pest control measures. Check for evidence of pests or signs of infestation, and ensure that appropriate preventive measures, such as regular inspections, pest monitoring, and pest control treatments, are in place. Verify that any pest control products used are approved and stored safely.

6. Structural Integrity: Assess the physical condition of the facility, including walls, ceilings, floors, and doors. Look for any structural deficiencies that may allow pests to enter or create harborage areas, such as cracks, gaps, or broken seals. The openings in walls allow birds inside the facilities to be exposed to the risk of contamination. Using air curtains or PVC curtains at the doors, docks, and maintaining cleanliness in the external areas are important components of food safety audits.

7. Training & Awareness: Training and awareness are critical components of a food safety audit, as they play a crucial role in ensuring that employees have the knowledge and understanding to uphold food safety standards. Evaluate the effectiveness of training programs provided to employees. Assess the coverage of topics such as personal hygiene, cross-contamination prevention, cleaning and sanitation procedures, allergen control, temperature control, and foodborne illness prevention. Verify that training materials are up-to-date, comprehensive, and tailored to the specific needs of each employee role.

Nearly one in ten individuals falling prey to foodborne illnesses, leading to an alarming half a million lives lost annually due to consuming contaminated food.

Implementing Effective Food Safety Audits

To ensure the success of food safety audits, establishments should follow these best practices:

1. Establish Clear Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Developing comprehensive SOPs that encompass all food safety aspects is crucial. SOPs should cover areas such as receiving and storage of raw materials, proper cooking and cooling techniques, and thorough cleaning and sanitation procedures.

2. Provide Regular Employee Training

Regularly educate and train employees on food safety practices to foster a culture of awareness and responsibility. Training should include proper hand hygiene, allergen management, and techniques to prevent cross-contamination.

3. Implement Robust Monitoring and Documentation Systems

Establish a system to monitor and document critical control points, such as temperature logs, cleaning schedules, and equipment maintenance. This documentation serves as evidence of compliance during food safety audits.

4. Conduct Internal Audits

Internal audits serve as valuable self-assessment tools. By conducting regular internal audits, establishments can identify areas that require improvement and take proactive measures to address any issues before external audits occur. Download a sample comprehensive Foods Safety Audit Checklist 

5. Stay Abreast of Regulatory Changes

Food safety regulations are constantly evolving. It is essential for establishments to stay up to date with any changes in regulations and adjust their practices accordingly. Regularly reviewing and updating SOPs ensures compliance with the latest standards.

6. Engage with Professional Food Safety Consultants

Engaging the services of professional food safety consultants can provide valuable insights and expertise. These consultants can conduct thorough audits, identify potential risks, and offer recommendations for improvement based on industry best practices.

7. Embrace Technology

Leveraging technology can streamline food safety audits and enhance overall efficiency. Digital tools, such as temperature monitoring systems, automated checklists, and real-time reporting, can simplify the audit process and provide accurate data for analysis.

SIMSA Operational Audits

Benefits of Effective Food Safety Audits

Conducting food safety audits in a meticulous and consistent manner offers several benefits to food establishments:

  1. Risk Identification and Prevention: By identifying potential hazards and vulnerabilities through audits, establishments can implement proactive measures to minimize risks and prevent foodborne illnesses.
  2. Continuous Improvement: Regular audits provide valuable insights into an establishment’s food safety practices, allowing for continuous improvement and the implementation of corrective actions where necessary.
  3. Legal Compliance: Adhering to food safety regulations and protocols through audits ensures compliance, reducing the likelihood of legal issues and associated penalties.
  4. Enhanced Efficiency: Through audits, inefficiencies in food handling processes can be identified and rectified, leading to improved operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  5. Consumer Confidence: Demonstrating a commitment to food safety through audits instills confidence in consumers, fostering loyalty and positive word-of-mouth promotion.


In conclusion, prioritizing food safety audits is crucial for maintaining consumer protection and upholding quality standards in the food service industry. By conducting regular and thorough audits, establishments can identify potential risks, implement preventive measures, and demonstrate a commitment to excellence. SIMSA, a PDCA-based audit software tool can not only help to standardize the food safety audits but also saves up to 70% time in managing audits and also ensure timely closure of the gaps.

Project Audit

Project Audits: The Secret Weapon for Successful Project Management

As projects become more complex and diverse, it becomes increasingly important to conduct project audits. A project audit is an independent review of the project’s performance, progress, and adherence to the plan. The audit is conducted by a third party or internal audit team to ensure the project is on track and meeting its objectives. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of project audits and provide a comprehensive guide to conducting a project audit.

The purpose of the project audit is not to skim through superficial observations but to dive deeper into the processes, checks & controls, people motivation & skills, data management, compliances, cost accounting etc. The objective is to nip the problem in the bud before it starts manifesting in failures of quality, schedule compliance or cost overrun. So audits are not tick in the box but a tool for steering the project in the right direction and taking timely action for course correction.

Importance of Project Audit

A project audit serves several purposes, including:

  1. Identifying problems early: Project audits identify potential issues early on in the project’s lifecycle, allowing for timely correction and minimizing the impact on the project’s success.
  2. Ensuring adherence to plan: Audits help ensure that the project team is following the project plan and the project objectives are being met.
  3. Improving project management processes: Project audits provide insights into project management processes, allowing for improvements to be made in future projects.
  4. Enhancing stakeholder confidence: A successful project audit can improve stakeholder confidence in the project team’s ability to deliver the project successfully.
  5. Mitigating Project Risks: Each project audit is an opportunity for reviewing the risks and identifying new risks. The audits test the effectiveness and relevance of risk mitigation plan as well as putting in place additional interventions that may be required.

Steps to Conducting a Project Audit

Step 1: Define the Audit Objectives

The first step in conducting a project audit is to define the audit objectives. This involves identifying the project’s scope, objectives, and deliverables. The audit objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Step 2: Select the Audit Team

The audit team should be selected based on their knowledge and experience in project management. The team should include individuals who are not involved in the project to ensure objectivity.

Step 3: Review the Project Documentation

The audit team should review all project documentation, including the project plan, risk management plan, communication plan, and change management plan. The team should also review project reports, status updates, and any other relevant documents.

Step 4: Put together a comprehensive Audit Checklist

The output of the first 3 steps culminates into the audit checklist that ensures all the key aspects of the project deliverables, risks, checks & controls are adequately covered. The audit questions should be structured to dig deeper to help discover the underlying root causes.

Step 5: Observe & Conduct Interviews

The audit team should observe the operations critically for any violations and conduct interviews with key stakeholders, including the project manager, team members, and project sponsors. The interviews should focus on the project’s progress, challenges, and risks.

Step 6: Analyze the Findings

The audit team should analyze the findings from the documentation review and interviews. The analysis should identify any discrepancies between the project plan and actual performance. The team should also identify any areas for improvement in project management processes.

Step 7: Prepare the Audit Report

The audit team should prepare a comprehensive report detailing the findings of the audit. The report should include an executive summary, detailed findings, and recommendations for improvement. The report should be presented to the project manager and stakeholders for review.

How Frequently the Project Audit should be done?

The frequency of project audits can vary depending on the project’s size, complexity, and risk. Generally, project audits should be conducted at key project milestones, such as at the end of each phase or at the project’s completion.

For long-term projects, it may be beneficial to conduct regular interim audits to identify any potential issues and make necessary corrections. The frequency of interim audits can be determined based on the project’s size, complexity, and level of risk.

It’s important to note that project audits should not be seen as a one-time event, but rather as an ongoing process to ensure the project is on track and meeting its objectives. Regular audits help to ensure that the project is being managed effectively and efficiently throughout its entire lifecycle.

Role of Technology in Project Audit

Technology plays a significant role in project audit and can have a major impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the audit process. Here are some ways in which technology is used in project audit:

  • Data Collection and Analysis: Technology can be used to collect and analyze project data, making it easier to identify patterns and trends in project performance. This can include data from project management software, financial systems, and other sources.
  • Automated Reporting: With the help of technology, project audit reports can be generated automatically, saving time and effort. This can include dashboards, graphs, and other visualizations that make it easier to understand the data and insights.
  • Collaborative Tools: Technology allows project audit teams to collaborate effectively, regardless of their location. This can include online communication and collaboration tools, such as video conferencing, shared project management software, and document management systems.
  • Risk Management: Technology can help project audit teams to identify and manage risks more effectively. This can include tools for risk assessment, risk mitigation planning, and monitoring of risk factors.
  • Artificial Intelligence: With the help of AI, project audit teams can analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns that may be difficult for humans to spot. This can help to identify areas of concern and improve the accuracy of the audit process.
  • Mobile Technology: With the use of mobile devices and apps, project audit teams can work more efficiently and effectively, regardless of their location. This can include mobile project management software, communication apps, and other tools.

Operational Audit Software


In conclusion, project audits are essential to ensuring project success. They provide valuable insights into project management processes and identify potential issues early on in the project’s lifecycle. By following the steps outlined in this blog, project managers can conduct a successful project audit and improve their project management practices. Remember, a successful project audit can improve stakeholder confidence in the project team’s ability to deliver the project successfully, which can have a significant impact on the project’s overall success.

5S in Warehouse

Streamlining Warehouse Operations with 5S: The Key to Efficiency and Effectiveness

Have you thought about implementing 5S for your warehouses?

Warehouses are integral and critical parts of any supply chain. From storage of inventory to packing, labeling, kitting, bundling, customer order fulfillment, product customization to service parts & warranty management, warehouses have slowly become the hubs of value-added services closer to markets & customers. With so many moving parts in warehouse operations and a high volume of goods & activities, things can easily become disorganized, leading to inefficiencies, mistakes, and delays. Also, it can make the warehouse prone to accidents leading to injuries and fatalities. This is where 5S comes in.

5S is used to create a clean, organized, and efficient workplace. The term 5S comes from five Japanese words: seiri (sort), seiton (set in order), seiso (shine), seiketsu (standardize), and shitsuke (sustain). The goal of 5S is to create a workplace where everything has a place and is easily accessible, making it easier for workers to do their jobs, improving safety, and reducing waste. 5S technique has been effectively applied in the manufacturing environment, which has yielded multiple benefits in waste reduction, quality improvement, and a safe & organized workplace. Unfortunately, people managing logistics and warehouse operations are not fully aware or trained to implement 5S, which reflects in inaccurate inventory,  wrong shipments, damages to products, injuries & fatalities to people working in these areas.

Let’s understand how 5S can help warehouses streamline operations. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps:

 1. Sort: This step involves identifying and removing unnecessary items from the workspace. By getting rid of items that are no longer needed or used, it becomes easier to find and access the items that are needed to complete tasks. This can also help to free up valuable storage space and reduce clutter. Some examples of Sort in warehouses are:

  • Sorting and labeling inventory that is slow-moving, non-moving, rejected/held stocks and putting them at a place that prevents any mix-up. One it helps to reduce any chances of shipping rejected products, faster liquidation of slow/non-moving products releasing more space for other products, and increasing the picking speed & productivity.
  • A warehouse may have a lot of tools and equipment that workers use for various tasks. However, not all of these tools may be necessary or relevant for a particular task. Sorting through them regularly can help in identifying any tools that are not needed and removing them, creating more space and reducing clutter.
  • Sorting the packaging wastes, used plastic films & tapes, and damaged products and putting them in the identified bins, and yard can help to minimize fire hazards, accidents, and environment-friendly disposal.
  • Sorting through the paperwork regularly can help in identifying any outdated or unnecessary paperwork and removing it. This can free up space and make it easier for workers to access the relevant documents quickly.

2. Set in Order: After sorting, the next step is to organize the remaining items in a logical and efficient manner. This step involves identifying where each item should be stored and creating a designated place for each item. This makes it easier to locate items quickly and reduces the risk of loss or damage. Some examples of Set in Order in warehouses are:

  • Creating a place for everything: With a lot of items to store and organize in a warehouse, it can be challenging to find space for everything. However, creating a place for everything ensures that operators know where to find the items they need quickly. For instance, tools, equipment, and supplies can be organized by type and stored in specific locations in the warehouse. Similarly, having separated space for expensive goods, defective goods, scrap, and hazardous goods makes the workplace more productive & safe. Also, dedicated space for parking material handling equipment e.g. forklifts, attackers, and reach trucks with lock & key arrangement prevents accidental usage by untrained operators.
  • Labeling and color-coding: Labeling and color-coding items can make it easier for workers to locate them quickly. For example, labeling storage shelves and bins can help workers identify what items are stored where, and color-coding can be used to indicate the type of item or the level of urgency.
  • Implementing storage solutions: Storage solutions such as pallet racks, shelves, and bins can help maximize space in the warehouse and make it easier to find and access items. For example, pallet racks can be used to store bulky items, shelves for smaller items, and bins for fast-moving items.
  • Implementing lean principles: The set-in-order step can also involve implementing lean principles in the warehouse. This includes identifying the most frequently used items and ensuring that they are stored in the most accessible locations, eliminating unnecessary steps in the work process, and reducing the amount of time it takes to complete tasks.

3. Shine: This step involves regularly cleaning and maintaining the workspace to keep it in good condition. This includes cleaning floors, shelves, and equipment, as well as performing regular maintenance on machinery and tools. By keeping the workspace clean and well-maintained, the risk of accidents and injuries is reduced, and equipment is less likely to break down. it helps to ensure that the workspace is clean, safe, and free from hazards that can impact the health and safety of employees. Some examples of Shine in warehouses are:

  • Maintaining floors and surfaces: Warehouse floors and surfaces can get dirty quickly due to the high traffic in the area. Cleaning floors and surfaces regularly helps to prevent slips and falls that could result from slippery floors, and also helps in preventing dust build-up, which can be a fire hazard.
  • Cleaning equipment and tools: In a warehouse setting, there is often a lot of equipment and tools e.g. Material Handling, scanners, printers, and computer terminals, that are used daily. Regularly cleaning this equipment and tools can help prevent dirt and debris from accumulating, leading to potential safety hazards, and also help in prolonging the life of the equipment.
  • Removing clutter: Clutter in the warehouse can make it difficult for workers to move around safely and efficiently. Regularly removing clutter such as empty boxes, packing materials, and pallets can help to create a safer and more efficient workspace.
  • Inspections and Checking for damage and defects: Inspecting equipment, tools, and storage areas regularly can help identify any damage or defects that need to be repaired or replaced. This can help prevent accidents and ensure that the warehouse is operating efficiently.
  • Reviewing safety procedures: The Shine step can also involve reviewing safety procedures regularly to ensure that employees are aware of the proper safety protocols and are following them correctly. This helps to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.
  • Cleaning toilets: Toilets and other bathroom facilities should be cleaned regularly to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of germs. Regular cleaning of toilets can also help prevent unpleasant odors, mold, and bacteria buildup.
  • Cleaning external areas: External areas such as loading docks, parking lots, and sidewalks should be regularly cleaned to maintain a clean and safe environment for employees and visitors. This can include sweeping or power washing to remove dirt and debris, removing litter, and ensuring that walkways are clear and safe to navigate.
  • Cleaning break rooms: Break rooms are a vital part of any warehouse facility, as they provide employees with a place to take breaks and recharge. Regular cleaning of break rooms can help maintain hygiene, prevent unpleasant odors, and create a welcoming environment for employees.

4. Standardize: Once the workspace has been sorted, organized, and cleaned, the next step is to standardize the processes and procedures used to maintain it. This involves creating standardized procedures for cleaning, organizing, and maintaining the workspace to ensure that everyone is following the same process. Standardization helps to ensure that the improvements made during the 5S audit are sustainable over the long term.  The Standardize step is essential in warehouse operations because it helps to maintain the gains made in the previous 3S steps, and ensures that the workspace continues to operate in an organized and efficient manner. Below are some examples of how the Standardize step can be useful for warehouse operations:

  • Standardized cleaning schedules: Creating a cleaning schedule that outlines specific tasks to be performed on a regular basis can help ensure that the workspace remains clean and organized. For example, a cleaning schedule might outline daily tasks such as sweeping and mopping floors, weekly tasks such as cleaning equipment, and monthly tasks such as deep cleaning.
  • Standardized labeling and storage: Standardizing labeling and storage procedures can help ensure that inventory is organized and easy to find. For example, items can be labeled with barcodes or RFID tags that can be scanned to track their location, and storage areas can be standardized to ensure that items are stored in a consistent and efficient manner.
  • Standardized visual management: It involves creating visual aids such as signs, floor markings, labels, kanban boards, shadow boards, and color coding to help workers quickly and easily understand the layout of the warehouse, the location of inventory, and the status of various tasks.
  • Standardized safety procedures: Creating standardized safety procedures can help ensure that all employees are aware of the proper safety protocols and are following them correctly. For example, safety procedures might outline how to handle hazardous materials, how to operate heavy machinery safely, and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Standardized work instructions: Creating standardized work instructions can help ensure that employees are performing tasks correctly and efficiently. For example, work instructions might outline the steps involved in picking and packing orders, or how to operate specific pieces of equipment.
  • Standardized training programs: Creating standardized training programs can help ensure that all employees receive the same level of training and are aware of the company’s policies and procedures. This can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, and ensure that all employees are working in a consistent and efficient manner.

5. Sustain: The final step of the 5S audit is to sustain the improvements made. This involves regularly reviewing the workspace and processes to ensure that they are being followed and that any issues or challenges are addressed promptly. Sustaining the improvements made during the 5S audit requires ongoing effort and commitment, but it is critical to ensure that the benefits are realized over the long term. Below are some examples of how the Sustain step can be useful for warehouse operations:

  • Employee engagement: Employee engagement is critical to the long-term success of the 5S process. By involving employees in the 5S process, and encouraging them to take ownership of the improvements made, warehouse operators can ensure that the gains made through the 5S process are sustained over the long term.
  • Continuous improvement: Continuous improvement is an ongoing process that involves identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes over time. By regularly reviewing and improving upon the 5S process, warehouse operators can ensure that it remains effective and continues to deliver benefits.
  • Performance metrics: Performance metrics such as productivity, inventory accuracy, and safety incidents can be used to monitor the effectiveness of the 5S process over time. By regularly measuring and analyzing these metrics, warehouse operators can identify areas for improvement and ensure that the gains made through the 5S process are sustained over the long term.
  • Audits and inspections: Regular audits and inspections can be used to ensure that the 5S process is being followed correctly and that the gains made through the process are being sustained over the long term. By identifying areas for improvement and taking corrective action when necessary, warehouse operators can ensure that the 5S process remains effective and continues to deliver benefits.
  • Training and education: Regular training and education can be used to ensure that all employees are aware of the 5S process and understand their role in sustaining the gains made through the process. This can help create a culture of continuous improvement and ensure that the benefits of the 5S process are sustained over the long term.

So, now that we have discussed the five steps of a 5S  for warehouse operations, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this approach.

  1. Improved Efficiency and Productivity: Implementing 5S in a warehouse operation can significantly improve efficiency and productivity. By organizing everything and removing unnecessary clutter, employees can quickly find what they need to complete their tasks, reducing the time it takes to complete them. This not only improves productivity but also reduces the risk of errors and mistakes.
  2. Increased Safety: A 5S  can also increase safety in a warehouse. By removing unnecessary clutter and organizing everything, the risk of accidents and injuries is reduced. Additionally, regular cleaning and maintenance ensure that equipment is functioning properly and that any potential hazards are identified and addressed.
  3. Cost Savings: Implementing a 5S can also result in cost savings for a warehouse operation. By reducing the time it takes to complete tasks, the number of errors and mistakes, and the risk of accidents and injuries, operational costs can be reduced. Additionally, by regularly evaluating equipment and supplies, any potential issues can be identified and addressed before they become more costly problems.
  4. Improved Employee Morale: A clean, organized, and efficient workspace can also improve employee morale. By implementing a 5S, employees are provided with a workspace that is easier to work in, which can improve their job satisfaction and overall morale. This, in turn, can lead to increased productivity and reduced turnover rates.

SIMSA Operational Audits


In conclusion, implementing a 5S initiative in a warehouse operation can significantly improve efficiency, productivity, safety, and morale, while also resulting in cost savings. By following the five steps of the 5S methodology – sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain – a warehouse operation can become a well-organized, efficient, and safe workspace for all employees. So, if you’re looking to improve your warehouse operations, consider implementing a 5S  today!

Pharma Audit

Saving Time & Reducing Risk: Streamlining Audits in Pharma Manufacturing & Distribution

The pharmaceutical industry is a high-stakes arena where quality and compliance are non-negotiable. However, auditing in this industry can be a major headache, with the potential to disrupt production, and distribution and consume valuable time and resources. Plus, with regulatory guidelines constantly evolving, it’s a challenge to stay on top of everything.

But don’t fret – there are ways to streamline audits and reduce the associated risks in pharmaceutical manufacturing & distribution. Here are some tried-and-true methods that can help.

1. Conduct Risk Assessment: Conducting periodic risk assessments can help identify areas that require more attention during audits. By focusing on high-risk areas, auditors can ensure that they are allocating their time and resources more efficiently. Risk assessments can also help identify potential problems before they occur, reducing the likelihood of audit findings.

2. Plan in advance and set a rhythm:  Given the complexity of types, and numbers of audits as well as the number of sites, companies can reduce the last-minute panic and ensure they have adequate time and resources to prepare for audits. This can also help to avoid scheduling conflicts and minimize disruptions to production.

Setting a rhythm of schedule can also help to create a sense of order and predictability in the audit process. By establishing a regular audit schedule, companies can better plan and allocate resources, and ensure that all areas are audited within a reasonable timeframe. This can also help to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with audits, as staff will know when to expect them and can prepare accordingly.

SIMSA Audit platform allows the creation of recurring schedules of audits at any frequency, thereby, speeding up the planning & scheduling of audits.

3. Automate Audit Processes: The use of technology has revolutionized the way audits are conducted in the pharma industry. Automating audit processes, such as data collection, analysis, and reporting, can significantly reduce audit time and improve accuracy. Automated audit management systems can also improve collaboration among audit teams, streamline communication, and provide real-time updates on audit progress. The technology should also allow addressing the gaps through the assignment of corrective actions with a deadline and automatic reminders of the outstanding actions until closure.

SIMSA Audit platform has all the features mentioned above, which not only saves 70% of the time as compared to using spreadsheets but also ensures timebound closure of audit gaps.

4. Train Staff:  Well-trained staff is critical to the success of audits. Providing training to staff on audit processes and procedures can improve their understanding of the audit process and help them prepare for audits in advance. Staff training can also improve compliance and reduce the likelihood of findings during audits.

The audit staff should also understand the standards used for the audits. Despite training, the audit resources need to refer to the standards during the audit. Doing it manually can be time-consuming and cumbersome. At times, auditors skip checking or referring to the standards and rely more on their judgment, which may create bias or inaccurate assessment. Therefore, in SIMSA audit platform, the specific standards pertaining to each checkpoint and question can be accessed on the fly.  It reduces auditors’ bias and tendency to skip the standards.

5. Standardize Processes: Standardizing audit processes can ensure consistency across all audits. This can include developing standard checklists, audit protocols, and templates. Standardization can also improve communication among audit teams and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings or errors.

SIMSA audit platform ensures the standardization of the process, checklists, version control, rating system, reporting and so on.

6. Prioritize Continuous Improvement:  Continuous improvement should be an ongoing goal for pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. By continually evaluating audit processes and implementing changes, companies can improve their overall performance and reduce the likelihood of audit findings. Continuous improvement can also help companies stay up-to-date with changing regulations and guidelines.

Audit reports generated by SIMSA categorize the gaps and corresponding action plans based on criticality, thereby, helping the prioritize the focus on the improvements that address high-risk gaps.

7. Utilize External Audit Support:  Utilizing external audit support can help streamline the audit process and reduce risk. External auditors bring a fresh perspective and can identify potential problems that internal audit teams may overlook. They can also provide valuable insights and recommendations for improving audit processes and procedures.

SIMSA has on its panel, who have expertise on different areas of pharmaceutical manufacturing & distribution, who can be made available on demand based on the requirement.

SIMSA Audit Software

In conclusion, streamlining audits is crucial for reducing risk and saving time in pharmaceutical manufacturing. By automating audit processes, conducting risk assessments, training staff, standardizing processes, prioritizing continuous improvement, and utilizing external audit support, companies can improve their audit performance and ensure regulatory compliance. Streamlining audits can also improve staff morale, reduce stress, and improve overall productivity in the pharma industry.

Audits post pandemic

Re-imagining Operational Audits in Post Pandemic World

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on businesses worldwide, disrupting supply chains, altering consumer behavior, and challenging traditional ways of working. As organizations adapt to the “new normal,” operational audits have become more critical than ever. In this blog, we will explore the role of operational audits in a post-pandemic world and how they can help businesses navigate this challenging environment.

Operational audits are a systematic and objective assessment of an organization’s operations, processes, and controls. They are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the organization’s risk management strategies, identify areas of inefficiency, and provide recommendations for improvement. Operational audits can cover a wide range of areas, including financial operations, IT systems, supply chain management, and health and safety practices.

The pandemic has created significant disruptions across all industries, forcing businesses to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and new ways of working. These disruptions have also impacted the way operational audits are conducted, with many businesses facing new challenges in the audit process.

One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses is the need to conduct audits remotely. With many employees working from home, auditors have had to rely on digital communication tools to conduct interviews and gather information. This has created new challenges around data security and privacy, as well as communication and collaboration between auditors and auditees.

Another challenge faced by businesses is the need to assess new risks and vulnerabilities created by the pandemic. For example, businesses may need to evaluate the risks associated with remote work, such as data security and employee productivity. Additionally, the pandemic has created new risks around supply chain disruption, employee health and safety, and compliance with government regulations.

Despite these challenges, operational audits remain a critical component of effective risk management in the post-pandemic world. By leveraging the right tools and strategies, businesses can conduct audits effectively and efficiently, identify and mitigate new risks, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Operational Audits are more important than ever

In a post-pandemic world, operational audits have become essential for several reasons. Firstly, the pandemic has led to significant changes in business operations, with many companies adopting remote work arrangements, altering supply chain strategies, and implementing new safety protocols. Operational audits can help organizations assess the effectiveness of these changes and identify any new risks that have emerged.

Secondly, the pandemic has created new risks and challenges for businesses. Supply chain disruptions, cybersecurity threats, and employee health and safety concerns are just a few examples of the new risks that organizations are facing. Operational audits can help businesses identify these risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Finally, the pandemic has heightened the need for transparency and accountability. With stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and regulators, demanding more information about how organizations are managing risk, operational audits can help provide assurance that proper controls and processes are in place.

Role of Technology in Operational Audits post-pandemic

Technology plays a crucial role in operational audits, especially in a post-pandemic world. With remote work arrangements becoming more prevalent and businesses increasingly reliant on digital systems and processes, technology has become an essential tool for operational auditors. Here are a few ways in which technology can support operational audits in a post-pandemic world:

1. Remote Auditing: Technology can enable auditors to conduct remote audits, reducing the need for in-person interactions and allowing audits to be conducted safely and efficiently. Remote auditing tools can include video conferencing, screen sharing, and remote access to systems and data.

2. Data Analytics: Technology can help auditors analyze large volumes of data quickly and accurately, identifying patterns and anomalies that may indicate areas of risk or inefficiency. Data analytics tools can include data visualization software, artificial intelligence, and machine learning algorithms.

3. Automation: Technology can automate many of the tasks associated with operational audits, freeing up auditors to focus on higher-value activities. Automation tools can include robotic process automation, workflow management software, and electronic document management systems.

4. Collaboration: Technology can enable auditors to collaborate more effectively, even when working remotely. Collaboration tools can include cloud-based project management software, virtual whiteboards, and chat applications.

5. Security: Technology can help auditors ensure the security of their audit data and protect against cyber threats. Security tools can include encryption software, multi-factor authentication, and network monitoring tools.

In addition to these specific tools and technologies, the use of technology can also help auditors to work more efficiently, reduce costs, and increase the speed and accuracy of audits. For example, technology can automate many of the routine tasks associated with audits, such as collecting data and generating reports, allowing auditors to focus on more strategic and analytical activities.

Audit Software

In conclusion, operational audits are more critical than ever in a post-pandemic world. They can help businesses navigate the challenges and risks posed by the pandemic, evaluate the effectiveness of new operational strategies, and ensure ongoing compliance with relevant regulations and standards. By providing transparency and accountability, operational audits can also help businesses build trust with stakeholders and maintain their reputation in a challenging environment.

The Operational Excellence Compass

In a recent webinar on Reimagining Operational Excellence in a VUCA world, there were panelists across different industries. Everybody agreed that the business leaders are losing interest in OE initiatives. Despite so much time & effort being spent on lean, six sigma and many blackbelt projects, they don’t see a real impact on the business outcome. It was felt that OE needs a new Avtar in the world that is changing at a very fast pace.

Many companies bet upon their continuous improvement program and often brand it as operational excellence. However, there is a vast difference between the two in many aspects. The goal of continuous improvement is to eliminate wastes, cut cost, reduce lead times etc. The most common techniques used for the continuous improvement are Kaizen, Lean, Six Sigma. Continuous improvements are based on small changes rather than paradigm shift or breakthroughs. Operational Excellence, on the other hand, is focused on delivering the performance to make an organization or business better than the competition. Operational excellence starts with leadership setting the strategic direction, which percolates through every process and decision making.

Standalone, Continuous Improvement initiatives do not Sustain

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The continuous improvement follows a continuous cycle of Improve, Sustain, Measure & Monitor. The gains realized at the beginning of implementing a continuous improvement program are significant. But over a period of time, the law of diminishing return sets in and the spiral of improvement become smaller and smaller.

After a few years, the continuous improvement program becomes a ritual, focus shifts to the quantity of projects than the quality, and little impact on the company’s top line and bottom line. It has also been found that the continuous improvement projects keep running in isolation, essentially being driven by a group of employees in their specific area and mostly focused on manufacturing operations.

The idea is not to belittle the importance of continuous improvement but without an umbrella of operational excellence, it may lose direction & significance.

Operational Excellence is an Organizational Compass

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Operational Excellence is much more than the improvement program. The term Excellence means superiority or better than others. When applied in the business sense, excellence means delivering value to your customers superior to your competitors. It involves setting the organization up for growth by understanding what the market wants and creating an uninterrupted value stream aligned to the customer needs.

Considering the fact that we live in an increasingly dynamic world, the customers, markets and business models change frequently. Operational excellence acts like a compass, always pointing and aligning to the customers’ needs, provides a new strategic direction to the entire organization.

When ingrained into the organization culture, it works in auto mode and continuously aligns the internal journeys to the customer journeys. It provides the agility in decision making, execution as well as resilience by minimizing the time to recover in case of any shocks.

How does the Operational Excellence Compass work?

It begins with understanding what the company would want to excel at to gain competitive advantage or the customer value proposition. Is the value proposition the low price, high speed of response, flexibility or variety offered, superior customer service or anything else?

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It is also a fact, that you cannot excel in every performance parameter. Therefore, all energies should be focused delivering a superior performance than your competitors on the parameters that are critical for the value proposition.

For example, for McDonald the value proposition is quick delivery. Therefore, for them the operational excellence means standardising the processes, making the operations agile to minimize customer waiting time. But if you are looking for variety of options or flexibility, then MacDonald is not the place to go.

Another example is Starbucks whose value proposition is superior quality products and comfortable ambience. For them the operational excellence means sourcing finest beans, retail outlet design, making the customers feel at home. If you are looking for a cheap coffee, then Starbucks is not the right place to go to.

Using Operational Excellence Compass

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 1. Find True North:

Finding true north means identifying the Customer Value Proposition or what do you offer to the customers that will put your business in the leadership position. It could be superior quality, large variety, fastest delivery, or lowest prices etc.

 The challenge is that the true north is not stationary in a dynamic environment. For example, restaurants that offered dine-in had to shift to home delivery during Covid. Similarly, online grocery delivery companies are offering 10 minutes delivery. As the competition heats up, the true north may need to shift.

 It is the responsibility of the leadership to continuously watch, question, redefine & communicate the customer value proposition to stay ahead of competitors.

 2.    Plan Customer Wow Experiences:

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 Customer wow experience or customer delight means exceeding (not just meeting) customers’ expectations. For example, if the value proposition of a grocery delivery company is the speed, then delivery within 10 min is a customer wow experience. Similarly providing a salon experience with all safety measures at home is a wow experience provided by Urban Company.

3. Align Customer Journeys:

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 Customer journeys are the processes that create customer experiences which include how a customer enquires about the company’s products, how they place the orders, what communication they receive, and how the products are delivered etc.

 Amazon is one of the best examples of the excellence in the customer journey. Not only customer is able to search variety of products, but they can find technical details, reviews of buyers, alternative products, find many options for making payments, get rewards but also return the products if they are not satisfied.

 The customer journeys must be aligned to create the customer wow experiences. Many companies set-up customer experience centres so that they can experience the products before making a decision to buy.

4. Align Internal Journeys:

 The internal journeys are the internal operations and processes e.g., customer order to cash, supply chain, manufacturing and procure to pay processes. Getting an alignment and coordination between these processes is one of the most challenging tasks.

 This is because how different functions are incentivized and may end up having conflicting true north. For example, while supply chain department may be incentivised on the service, manufacturing may be incentivized on lowest cost. That is why using the right true north (value proposition) for the cross-functional alignment is very important.

 The role of the operational excellence is to facilitate the internal alignment of the objectives, targets to the customer journey. For example, to create the experience of 10-minute delivery the logistics must ensure the network that can cater to this requirement.

 5.  Implement Cultural Enablers

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 Unless the excellence is embedded into the DNA of the organization, the operational excellence initiatives are not sustainable. Every employee needs to understand how their role fits in, see its impact and feel empowered to contribute towards creating customer wow experiences.

 Sensitizing the employees to customers’ needs, communicating the customer value proposition, training & skilling them, equipping with right tools, encouraging the cross-functional collaboration, creating transparent and visual systems for every employee to see the impact, are some to the measures for the cultural enablement.

 6.  Continuously Improve:

Once there is an understanding on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the internal journeys, the continuous improvement programs should focus on those areas where there are significant gaps from the targets or expected outcomes.

 Sometimes, automation or complete transformation may be required before implementing the continuous improvement. Periodically conducting operational audits, checking if the improvements are sustained, ensuring corrective actions where gaps are found is an important piece of continuous program, which mostly is neglected.  The reason is use of spreadsheets based systems and manual workload involved in managing the entire workflow. Using technology e.g. SIMSA, for automation of workflow and use of advanced analytics to predict risks helps to ensure that the improvements stay on the right course.

7.    Re-assess True North & Realign

 As mentioned earlier, in an increasingly dynamic environment, the true north keeps shifting. Therefore, periodically re-assessing the true north and realigning the customer & internal journeys ensures that you continue to win in the game of competition.


Operational Excellence has been reinvented to overcome the challenges posed by the dynamic world. Its role has evolved from providing the tactical advantage to providing strategic competitive advantage.

The operational excellence compass automatically points to the shifting true north or the customer value proposition and realigns the customer & internal journeys. It ensures that the organization never lose the sight of the right direction and continuously win in the marketplace.

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Need & Benefits of Operational Audit Software

Operational audit software is a powerful tool that can help organizations improve their operations and ensure compliance with regulations. It allows companies to automate their audit processes and streamline their operations, which can save time and money while also improving the overall quality of their audits and ensuring timely closure of the gaps found.

Operational audit software can automate time consuming manual tasks such as data collection, data analysis, report generation, tracking and reporting corrective actions etc. By automating these tasks, organizations can reduce the time and resources required to complete an audit which can be especially beneficial for companies with complex operations or those that conduct multiple audits each year. Additionally, these software programs can also help organizations identify areas of improvement in their operations, which can be addressed as part of the audit process.

Another benefit of operational audit software is that it can help organizations ensure compliance with regulations. Many of these software programs include built-in compliance checks, which can help organizations ensure that they are meeting all of the requirements set out by regulatory bodies. Additionally, these software programs can also help organizations track their compliance efforts over time, which can be useful for reporting purposes. This can be especially beneficial for companies that operate in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare or finance, as compliance is of paramount importance to these organizations.

Operational audit software can also be used to improve the overall quality of audits. Many of these software programs include advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, which can help organizations identify patterns and trends in their operations. Additionally, these software programs can also be used to create detailed, actionable reports that can be shared with stakeholders, including management and regulatory bodies.

Operational audit software can also be used for real-time monitoring and control of operations, which can help organizations to quickly identify and address issues as they arise. This can be especially beneficial for companies that operate in industries such as logistics pharma, chemicals, healthcare, where the ability to identify and address issues quickly can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Additionally, many of these software programs also offer the ability to automate corrective actions, which can help organizations to address issues more quickly and efficiently.

Operational audit software also allows organizations to store and organize data in a centralized location. This can include information on audit findings, compliance data, and other relevant information. This can make it easier for organizations to access and analyze data, and can also help to ensure that data is accurate and up-to-date. Additionally, this data can be easily shared with stakeholders, such as management or regulatory bodies, as needed.

SIMSA is one of the best operational audit softwares with unique features e.g:

  1. Scheduling Recurring Audits at any frequency in one shot e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly
  2. Gamification of audit performance scores by awarding Diamond, Gold, Silver, Bronze ratings to the sites
  3. Conducting surprise audits
  4. Providing the standards & guidelines for assessment to the auditors on the go
  5. Off-line mode for conducting audits on mobile in case of poor or no data connectivity.

SIMSA can save up to 70% of time as compared to using spreadsheets or any other manual systems. It allows people to focus on the value added part of audits as all non-value added activities are taken over by the software.

In conclusion, operational audit software is an essential tool for organizations looking to improve their operations and ensure compliance with regulations. These software programs allow companies to automate their audit processes and streamline their operations, which can save time and money while also improving the overall quality of their audits. Additionally, these software programs can also help organizations ensure compliance with regulations, improve the overall quality of their audits, and monitor and control operations in real-time. By adopting operational audit software, organizations can improve their operations, ensure compliance with regulations, and reduce costs, which can have a significant impact on their bottom line.

10 Must Have Features for Operational Audit Software

Operational Audit Software is increasingly used by companies that have significant risk exposure to the operational failures. The purpose of the software is to standardize & streamline the audit process and at the same time save people time in managing end-to end audit workflow by automating the manual activities. There are many solutions available in the market, but if you ask the users, they will have a long list of expected features. However, the top 10 features, required by most of the users are:

1️⃣ 𝙎𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙙𝙪𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙍𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘼𝙪𝙙𝙞𝙩𝙨: Operational audits should be done at a regular frequency or cycle. What if you can schedule recurring audit at any frequency required e.g. daily, weekly, monthly etc., like scheduling recurring meetings in calendar?

2️⃣ 𝘼𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙨 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝘼𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙨: A site has multiple areas e.g. a warehouse site may have security, parking, utility, docks, storage, packing, office areas. Shouldn’t the checkpoints be specific to each area? Does your audit software allow that and ensure no area is missed out by the auditor?

3️⃣ 𝙎𝙚𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙖 𝙇𝙤𝙜𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙡 𝙊𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙧: Imagine the auditor moving back & forth in different areas as the check points may be listed randomly. With sequencing of areas, the check points will be presented to the auditors in a logical order, saving time and avoiding any confusion.

4️⃣ 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙡 𝙤𝙣 𝘾𝙝𝙚𝙘𝙠𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙩 & 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨: If you follow any QMS, you will know the importance of standardization and control of documents. Does your audit software ensure that all are using the latest version of the checklist and standards?

5️⃣ 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘼𝙪𝙙𝙞𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙈𝙤𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙚, 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙞𝙣 𝙊𝙛𝙛𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙈𝙤𝙙𝙚: Many sites like warehouses, depots, fulfillment centers are located in remote areas with poor data connectivity. Also, in the cold room there may not be good data connectivity. If you don’t have an offline mode, you cannot use mobile device to conduct audits. Does your audit software work even without data or wi-fi connectivity?

6️⃣ 𝘼𝙘𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙨 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙜𝙤 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘼𝙪𝙙𝙞𝙩: What if auditors can access the relevant standard for each check point as they are conducting the audit, without going thru the pain of checking soft or hard copies?

7️⃣ 𝘼𝙪𝙩𝙤𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙍𝙚𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜: In the age of social media, people don’t want to read manually written long reports. Does your software provide automated report that includes all details but yet to the point?

8️⃣ 𝙎𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 & 𝘿𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙛 𝙋𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚: Does your software allow you the slice & dice the performance by Areas, Categories, Sub-Categories, Risks or a combination of that, so that you know where the problem is?

9️⃣ 𝘼𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 & 𝙏𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙛 𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝘼𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨: What is the point of conducting audit if it doesn’t lead to timely corrective actions? Does your software allow assigning actions with timeline and then track, sends auto reminders for follow-ups?

🔟 𝙂𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣: What if your audit software gives coins or badges based on the scores & actions taken? Wouldn’t that motivate people to go for higher standards & ratings?

SIMSA Operational Audit Software is the only platform that has all the above features. SIMSA can help you save up to 70% of the time in managing the entire workflow. Then why settle for less?Audit Software