Ticking the box or missed opportunity? The purpose and benefits of management audits


Nowadays, organisations are faced with an increasingly complex environment and continuously rising expectations from clients, government bodies and, not in the least, society itself. A company’s continuity therefore demands an ever-increasing degree of responsibility of its board members.

Our principals often take advantage of our damage prevention plan to make sure their company does not run any more risk than necessary during building or renovation works. In doing so, the company mainly focuses on risk management such as for example preventing fire and shipyard damage. The insurance premiums involved are often reduced and in this way, sound risk management translates into a direct financial benefit.

But those who use such audits as a compulsory means to meet quality standards based on checklists, might miss out on serious opportunities to gain strategic added value that can actually help move the business forward. For this reason, we developed and further improved / expanded our management audit system for more complex organisations.

Unfortunately, management audits are still tainted by mysteriousness and complexity. Employees often see it as a field in which surveyors/experts only focus on formal structures and ticking the boxes. But this service, that originates from our damage prevention concept, goes much deeper than our regular condition surveys on board of ships.

On the basis of extensive talks with management officials on shore and comprehensive audits on board all ships of the owner’s fleet, our experts make their recommendations. The primary goal is, of course, to limit the risk of damage to ships or ships that are under repair as much as possible. Additionally, we also carefully examine management procedures. Which working arrangements are made? How are they documented and how is this supervised? The quality of recruitment is considered in relation to employee education, experience and skills and therefore we advise ship owners not only on technical but also on behavioural components. The latter also includes recommendations in possibly improving communication between ship and shore. After all, an extra pair of eyes may be able to notice what has become less apparent to everybody else.

Our principals are not limited to shipping companies and shipyards, underwriters increasingly turn to us with a request to analyse the claim history of an insured party in order to present a customized  prevention plan and reduce the total number of claims. We have, for example, performed an audit at a shipping company with no less than 20 inland vessels for which the underwriter handled 27 collision claims within a relatively short period of time. We focused on a possible mutual connection between the claims and the cause of the incidents. After extensive interviews with management and personnel on board, we, fairly quickly, came to a number of simple recommendations. One of these was to immediately fit the wheelhouses with a steering watch alarm (systems that sounds an alarm after a set period of inactivity) and to remove all factors that might distract attention from navigation (TVs, and other media sets) from the bridge. And even though this solution seems extremely simple and obvious, the shipping company has since not claimed any damages whatsoever, other than for technical damage.

Insight into and awareness of procedures and possible points of improvement, enable management teams to take necessary measures on time and anticipate to changes more quickly. In this way, our management audits stand out just that extra bit from regular damage prevention plans.

Would you like know whether a management audit can be interesting for your company? Feel free to call us for more information on +31 20-6107260.

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