“The auditor is a watchdog and not a bloodhound.” — Lord Justice Topes
The word “audit” has a bad rap. “Audit” isn’t a phrase that rolls off the tongue, like “Christmas bonus” or “donuts in the break room.” It leaves a bad taste in your mouth like “traffic ticket” or “detention.” Just mentioning the word can strike fear in the heart of a taxpayer, and send them spiraling into anxious thoughts of what if–what if I made an error on a form, what if the IRS calls my boss, what if I go to jail? Personal audits can have consequences. They’re generally nothing to worry about, but extreme cases of fines and punishments give audits a negative connotation.
Audits in the engineering world are different. The only consequences are improvements. A technical audit is not a trip to the principal’s office. It’s more like a checkup at the doctor’s (minus the shots. Imagine a friendly nurse with lollipops and dinosaur stickers).
Technical audits consider the unique needs of an operation. Technicians evaluate and diagnose the problems of individual machines. The variety of condition, age, and performance in machines is extensive. In a single factory, machines could range from 1-year-old to 30-years-old.
In engineering audits, technicians look for surface level problems, as well as deeper, chronic problems, and optimize each machine based on its age and needs.
In Atlantic’s MUST Method for preventing pallet load failure, an audit is the first step:
Atlantic looks at stretch wrapping as an operation. Materials, machines, and operators work together, so improving overall efficiency means improving each aspect’s efficiency. This is why every Atlantic audit involves three components:
- Film audit
- Machine audit
In an audit, Atlantic MUST technicians go on-site to study and learn about a stretch wrapping operation. They collect data on current conditions, and consult with key stakeholders to understand your company’s goals and priorities.
In a film audit, technicians evaluate:
- Revolutions per wrap cycle
- Film weight
- Containment force
- Load dimensions
- Stretch percentage
In a machine audit, technicians consider:
- Evaluation of common wear parts
- Studying carriage structural and functional parts
- Opportunities for upgrades or retro-fits
- Recommendations for parts
Technicians then analyze their data and create a list of actionable steps to improve a stretch wrapping operation. These steps include ordering parts, reprogramming equipment, and defining other concrete actions that will change data and meet the goals of your company.
Audits are essential. They keep a machine healthy, like an an inspection for your car or a checkup for your body. Technicians are like doctors: they can spot signs of problems you might not see on a daily basis. It’s the same with humans and machines, we all need a little TLC.