Rick Suttle reports:
"The process of writing a walk-through audit for a retail store entails creating the form and completing the write-up. Auditors must consider several key elements when composing the form as they relate to specific retail operational standards. The retail walk-through audit is often conducted by an area or zone manager. Outside auditors may be hired in some cases to alleviate bias. Whatever the case, the retail walk-through audit, unlike a formal audit of financial records, is primarily used to measure a retailer's effectiveness and efficiency...Decide which variables you want to measure, including those related to operations, adherence to company policy and safety. Meet with other area and retail managers. Get their input to ensure that you include all the important variables on your retail store's audit form. Divide your retail audit form into various sections such as exterior, front-of-store operations, departments, if applicable, back room management and safety...Create certain performance standards for retail stores when composing the audit form...Use a rating scale of 1 to 5, with '5' being the highest and '1' the lowest. Set an overall score of '4.0' as passing if you use the rating scale, for example...Start composing your questions for the walk-through retail store audit. Begin with the exterior appearance and maintenance, for example. Ask questions that can be answered by a '[Y]es' or '[N]o,' such as, 'Is the store's exterior clean and inviting?' Move [on to] questions regarding customer service and the front registers. Include rating questions where the auditor needs to listen to several interactions between employees and customers...Include questions related to the presentation of merchandise...Add questions that measure the friendliness of department employees, or how well the store is managed...Ask questions related to how efficiently shipping and receiving operate. Write questions related to inventory, including whether the oldest food items were displayed first for perishable foods -- if the retail store sells food items. Include at least a few questions on the accuracy of bookkeeping records...Work safety-related questions into your audit, as they pertain to certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. Quiz employees on various safety standards, such as how to lift objects properly. Have the auditor observe whether employees are using lifting belts or knee pads when carrying products around...Summarize the results of the audit after it is completed. Recommend areas in which the store can make improvements. Include certain strategies that may help the retail store improve its ratings for the next walk-through audit. Share your results with managers and employees affected by the audit, according to the University of Wisconsin's NIATx model, which stands for Network for the Improvement of Addiction...Download your audit form to an electronic reader to eliminate paperwork."
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