Technical audit experiences

Here is some information on three of my technical audit experiences for companies. These three audits cover the innovation trajectory from idea to commercial scale implementation. One audit was on a project in the early concept stage, one audit was on a project in the development stage and one audit was on processes already started-up for commercial scale operation.

The early concept stage project was about auditing on the following items:

  • A) whether the whole field of potential process options was covered by the company findings. I searched and found additional options. 
  • B) How to fairly select options very different in research reporting. I made for each option a simple process concept design to the same level of detail to facilitate a fair selection.
  • C) How to select the best option? To that end I defined selection criteria indicating feedstock (product yield on feedstock) and investment cost (number of process steps), and a simple check on Health Safety, Environment, and social acceptance issues. With these criteria that the selection was quickly made and highly valued by the customer.  

The development project was about auditing whether the development plan missed important items related to risks. I found 19 missing items. 16 items could be covered by additional desk studies, and 3 items needed experimental work. For the latter I also provided advice on finding outside specialized companies to execute this additional experimental work. The audit results were highly valued.

The commercial scale processes of the company were audited on why several of them had a very long start-up time, while others were started up rapidly. The processes were audited on their actual development, design, and start-up history. For all processes with a long start-up time the reasons could be identified using development, design and start-up preparation methods now described in my book on Industrial Process Scale-up.  

Reasons for an external technical audit by an independent consultant on projects can be that the budget provider want such an audit. It can also be that the project team wants to make sure that they do not forget items critical to the project success. In a case of a single person start-up company the entrepreneur may just want to have a sparring partner to bounce of his ideas.

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