As part of my masters dissertation, I surveyed six firms to evaluate their experience with service audits with interesting results.
The first thing that stands out; they all report substantial success not only in improving operations, but in the broader view of where the company competes and how it succeeds. As one respondent put it, "I cannot underscore enough the competitive and marketing advantages. While the impact on the business as a whole has been positive, it is really the marketing and competitive component that has made the process worth the effort."
I find this very encouraging. The point of my research is to understanding the impacts to service providers that serve regulated industries when those providers adopt a risk management regime (implied in undertaking a service audit, which focuses on risk).
In reviewing the responding firms' methodologies, there was lots to learn as well. The four firms that had already completed at least one service audit reported the following undertakings when improving their internal activities in preparation for their first audit:
100% - Review the firm's organizational chart
75% - Devise metrics for measuring the firm's operational performance
75% - Review the decision-making authority at different levels of the organization
50% - Map out the firm's major value chains
50% - Establish a cross-disciplinary forum for discussing performance