4 Tips for Performing a Supermarket Audit

By Vladik Rikhter

In May 2013, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) published its Food Retailing and Wholesaling Internal Audit Study. *

The study, which was released at FMI’s Annual Internal Audit conference last year in San Antonio, revealed two interesting facts about supermarket audits:

  • 8 in 10 supermarket retailers and wholesaling companies employ third-party vendors for audit functions, but only use those solutions for less than 10% of total audits performed.
  • More than 40 percent of companies expect to increase the size of their internal audit function over the next five years.


Based on the study’s findings, the self-auditing process is a crucial and growing part of supermarket retail operations.

Being proactive highlights operational strengths and weaknesses, and can help prevent potential losses that impact your bottom line.

Furthermore, having a self-auditing program sends a strong message to your team that complacency is unacceptable.

Four Tips for Performing a Successful Supermarket Audit

1. Make sure your managers understand the auditing process and encourage participation.
An audit is a large undertaking that requires everyone’s attention. Regional and district managers should all be involved in this process. Therefore, instructions for filling out surveys must be clear.

2. Set well-defined parameters.
When will the audit take place? Will it be announced or unannounced? A lot of time can pass between third-party inspections, depending on your company’s audit schedule. Industry loss prevention specialists LP Innovations recommends self auditing at least once a month.

3. Choose a mobile solution with the right tools.
A uniform collection method is imperative to collecting accurate data that will lead to actionable results. Use a tool that can consolidate tasks and organize information in real time.

For example, why not use your GPS-enabled smartphone mobile device when checking in for the audit? When verifying merchandise, use this same device to scan a product’s bar code or take a photo of a promotional display. Having these capabilities will save both time and resources.

4. Based on results, create an actionable plan and set measurable goals for your next self audit.
Communication is key. Provide feedback and guidelines to managers on how they can improve their stores. Present these findings to the entire store team and discuss what was done correctly and what wasn’t. Focus on team accountability and fixing mistakes, from planogram execution to cleanliness or maintenance issues. Reward employees that go the extra distance.

“Inspecting what you expect within your organization sends a powerful message and is a critical tool for long-term success… Set the bar high and you may be surprised to see just how many people make it over.”

Bill Angiolillo
Executive Director of Client Services
LP Innovations

*N.B. The Food Retailing and Wholesaling Internal survey was conducted by 210 Analytics LLC and consisted of a nationwide survey of 31 retailing and wholesaling companies, representing more than 24,000 stores and 981 internal audit professionals.


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