The Difference Between Inspection And Audit

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When it comes to ensuring your business is running as efficiently and effectively as possible, you need to keep an eye on a lot of different things. From the processes involved in your production to the people who work for you and how they operate on a day-to-day basis, many things can be checked and verified to keep your company running smoothly.

Auditing and inspection are two words that you may have heard regarding business management before. But what exactly do these terms mean? And how do they differ from one another? These are excellent questions, so read on to discover everything you need to know right here!

What Is An Audit?

Let's start with the formal definition of audit, as provided by ISO 9000:2015.

'the systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled'

An audit thoroughly examines all aspects of a business, product, or service. It is designed to assess the accuracy and efficiency of a company's operations. An audit may be conducted by an internal auditor or by an independent auditor hired by the company being audited. There are three main types of audits: product, process, and system.

What Is An Inspection?

Here also, let's start with the formal definition provided by ISO 9000:2015.

'determination of conformity to specified requirements'

An inspection evaluates something (usually a piece of equipment, a work area, or a person) to determine if it meets some specified requirements.

Inspections are often conducted by regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Internal staff members may also perform inspections. An inspection report is a record of everything that is observed during an inspection. The report will often include details about the current state of the item being inspected and any issues found. The report may also include photographs or diagrams of the inspected object.

What Is The Difference Between Audit And Inspection?

Audit and inspection are both processes of evaluating a business or product, but there are some key differences between the two.

1. Product vs Process

The main difference between an audit and an inspection is the source. An audit usually looks at the processes within a company, while an inspection usually focuses on the product or service being provided.

2. Depth of Review

Another difference between audit and inspection is the depth of review. Inspection is typically limited to certain specified requirements. If the product or service meets those specified requirements, it is considered acceptable; if not, it is deemed rejected. On the other hand, an audit is typically a much deeper review of the product or process.

3. Formal and Documented

As you would have noted from the definitions of these two above, an audit is a much more formal and documented process than an inspection.

4. Purpose

The primary purpose of an audit is to improve processes. On the other hand, inspection is typically used to determine whether the product or service meets specifications.

5. Time Frame

Audits focus on the future by identifying weaknesses in the system and looking at opportunities to improve processes. On the other hand, inspections are focused on the past performance of the process.


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