Remote Auditing The ‘New Normal’
Many have now had a successful remote audit and many have said they would do it again. There are of course still a few uncertainties about how your remote audit can be achieved effectively if your business is in manufacturing for example.
The purpose of this blog is to address these questions and hopefully provide more insight in advance and reassure you that your own internal audits should not be dramatically affected.
Over the last few weeks our blogs and the news have spoken a lot about change; how you change and adapt for your business to succeed. The certification industry is no different and this is how we have implemented change to ensure we succeed in providing the service you need. There is no reason why your internal audits performed remotely cannot be as successful.
We now know we can easily audit the management/paper based and discussion aspects of system as if we were in the room with you. We also recognise that the main function of what you do is the vital part of what we want to see and that cannot be done just from paper!
Our processes are not operational due to shut down
If ALL of your processes are locked down and we cannot see any operations other than paper trail, it may be necessary to split your audit. This means we can audit what we can remotely and then book a visit with you that will solely encompass the processes within the manufacturing aspect.
If you are partly operational or fully operational there are a variety of ways we can view. These are methods we have been using with our clients;
Live stream: Observing social distancing: some clients have taken their smartphone around the site to provide a tour, the auditor has then directed to where they want to see. Ostensibly the guide will be ‘us’ for the tour, we may ask you to lift bin lids, look behind machines (if safe), point the camera towards the floors, look at jobs and drawings, go to inspection areas etc. This is no different to us being at your location, however it is recognised we are relying on technology!
Photographs: In some instances where live streaming would interfere with production, we have shared screens with live work on and selected randomly what jobs we want to review and where tractability is expected on the line or floor, we have requested photos. A manager has then gone and safely taken photos’ as evidence which we can then discuss with you.
Drones: For large sites drones have actually been used to do an overview for the auditor.
Will your internal audit criteria change?
Ours has naturally changed by adding criteria these may factors you may wish to consider as well as the product process requirements;
Do the product processes comply with the COVID risk assessment
Can you verify that the measures put in place to ensure reduced risk to staff are effective
Has it been measured if production has been effected by any measures taken – based on this have we planned to factor changes in
How often are we enforcing changes
Can we verify that the planning has been effective in respect of context, order and supply
A lot of these can be established over a phone call, and it can be verified by film, photo or paperwork.
For further information on what what you need to do to be prepared, what/who you need to make available for your remote audit, what happens if either party has technical difficulties and what happens if the remote audit cannot cover everything on the audit, please download a copy of our Remote Auditing guidance document here.
We also have launched a virtual training course on Remote Internal Auditing, you can find out more and/or book online here.
Authored by: Judith Hargreaves, NQA Regional Assessor