Auditing in times of Social Distancing

Jonathan Brun

When you cannot be onsite, how do you audit? With a few simple tools you can empower local staff to do high quality audits.


The COVID crisis is severely limiting our ability to go onsite and conduct audits, inspections and speak with operational staff. Despite this, businesses must continue to maintain their production, ensure worker safety and environmental protection. Many people have already discovered the benefits and advantages of video conferences and online tools. While nothing will replace an onsite audit, there are ways to leverage technology to conduct inspections of workplaces without going onsite.

Empower Local Staff with Remote Experts

Even without this crisis, expert auditors can be an expensive and complex option for many businesses. Their travel time and onsite time quickly adds up and whether it is an external auditor or an internal auditor, the cost of sending experienced auditors onsite is significant.

A few years ago, Nimonik worked with a large multinational that was trying to use Google Glass and iPad based audits. An experienced auditor would remain at headquarters and a local staff would don Google Glasses and an iPad. The remote auditor would then guide the junior person through the facility, ask questions, point things out and request photos and evidence for certain issues. The project proved that you could save money and conduct a great audit using a combination of remote and local staff.

Google Glass no longer exists, but there are some alternatives available on the market. In fact, we would argue that you do not need fancy glasses and complex tech to do these joint audits. You can also just leverage the power of a cell phone and use technology such as Facetime, Microsoft Teams or other video conferencing systems. There are even some funny looking head-mounts for your mobile device that free up your hands to use an iPad to do the audit and take notes. To make this combination of remote and local audits successful, we suggest following these steps:

  • Prepare with the local staff – ask them to confirm the layout of the site, headcount, etc.
  • Agree to an audit plan – identify expected time commitment, how the audit will be done, what the final report will include.
  • Test the technology – test the video conferencing solution you plan to use and the internet connection in the real environment where the audit will be done
  • Get a great mobile audit app – of course, we recommend Nimonik’s audit tool for this!
  • During the audit – be patient with the local auditor and ask them to identify issues that they see, let them take the lead and the expert auditor should be there to guide and offer suggestions – not to dictate all the details of the audit
  • Recap the experience – do an analysis of the experience and determine ways you can improve the remote audit work

At Nimonik, we believe that compliance to your obligations is the foundation of good management. Experienced auditors are expensive and there is no reason why all companies cannot leverage modern technology to strengthen their junior auditors. Take a spin on our super easy to use Auditing tool and do not hesitate to contact us for a friendly discussion of your business requirements.

If you need help implementing a Comprehensive Compliance program for your supply chain, please contact us at of at +1-888-608-7511