In business, we measure everything. In our stores, we call it auditing. In theory, these audits are intended to provide both a barometer for performance and a road map toward improvement. But often, in practice, audits pile up in the digital wasteland. Often, we are satisfied that we’re inspecting even if we’re not necessarily improving. And unfortunately, our audits may be providing zero return on our investment.
The bad news is that folks in your organization probably won’t tell you the audits don’t have value. You’ll keep the audits coming, and the improvements will keep lagging.
The good news is that there are three simple methods to know if your audits have a zero ROI.
If any of these are your company’s experience with audits, you have a potential zero ROI problem.
1. No Executive Attention: Executives are no doubt busy and certainly don’t have the time to review every audit or every detail. But do they ever check the overall results? Do they ask about the store audit findings? Do they consider audits a part of the company goals discussion? If the answers are no, they don’t see the efforts and information vital to overall decision-making. In other words, audits aren’t included in their performance litmus test. And if an action isn’t a solution, then that action doesn’t have a perceived return on investment.
2. No Change-No Urgency: Do audit results create change in the organization? Do they spark ideas for the implementation of new policies? Are the results used for improvement strategies? Is there any sense of urgency when scores are poor? Audits do, after all, serve to measure compliance to brand standards and practices. If the findings aren’t changing or improving operations and performance, then they are just a report card no one values.
3. No Consequences: Are there cheers or recognition for locations with high compliance? Are there corrective actions for those who underperform? Are there any tangible consequences for anyone based on the audit findings? If the answer is no, then the message is: scores don’t matter in the big picture. If nothing happens, good or bad, it means the time and effort investment is perceived as having little or no return because of an audit.
The above analysis can feel a bit harsh. And it is certainly not to suggest that if any of the above is true, we should abandon our audit efforts. Audits are an invaluable tool to identify and improve practices and performance.
Fortunately, creating an audit ROI isn’t that difficult.
The secret is that you can investigate why audits are not garnering any proactive attention once you recognize the lack of ROI. And then, using those “why’s” build an audit that will get not only proper attention but that will result in action toward improved results.
About the Author
Raymond Esposito is President of Loss Prevention & Compliance for HS Brands Global. He has over 30 years of loss prevention experience and has spent the past two decades building premier LP outsource programs for some of the world’s most well-known brands. He has worked with over 130 retailers within the department store, specialty, restaurant, grocery, and pharmacy industries in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
His articles and interviews have appeared in various magazines and on radio, including Security Source Magazine, LP Magazine, Family Circle, and Small Business Radio.