News Article

The Future of Auditing

Auditing a supply chain at the start of the pandemic had proved to be another roadblock in the way of ensuring businesses are upholding their standards and maintaining production of quality products and services to their customers. As 2020 and 2021 have progressed, auditing has been forced to take a detour and adapt to the current circumstances. This detour may have proved more beneficial than initially thought for the future of auditing with new methods coming to light on how to successfully ensure a business is performing at its highest level.

Remote working, Zoom calls and advances in online software are all being taken advantage of to make sure thorough and ethical auditing is still able to take place. These adaptations make sure that new auditing methods can be used in 2022 and beyond. Are in-person audits a thing of the past now?

Code Of Conduct

Depending on the industry that you operate in, your suppliers may need to have certain qualifications and certifications to be able to work with you. If this isn't mandatory, consider what accreditations they could gain to be able to prove their outstanding processes, ethical standards and high-quality deliverables. Make sure that your entire supply chain meets the required laws and regulations to be able to do what they do by hosting regular meetings and asking for proof of certification.

Some examples of certifications and standards that not only make your business look more credible but ensures it is following the correct guidelines are:

  • ISO 9001:2015 - Focuses on having a continual improvement, process-based approach that supports the effective management of business.

  • AS9100 - Specifically for the aerospace and defence industry, this standard gives suppliers a QMS for providing safe and reliable products to the industry.

  • IATF 16949:2016 - An international standard for automotive quality management systems. This aims to create a common set of methods for processes and product development alongside manufacturers in the automotive industry.

Having certifications like these allow you to evidence to auditors that you are adhering to national and international standards whilst delivering quality products and services to your customers.

These stringent measures should make sure that you are aware of the organisational structure of all of your suppliers, you are able to verify clients and workers who you will be directly involved with and you are able to halt the relationship, should any of your criteria not be met.

Virtual Auditing

In an ever-evolving world of technology, virtual auditing is soon becoming an up-and-coming method in 2021 for auditors. Video calling software enables auditors and companies to work together to complete an audit without the need for in-person meetings. Softwares allow these audits to be recorded and documented from start to finish.

This method allows companies to show the auditor the necessary facilities and equipment that needs to be inspected in order to pass. This can also help to decrease on-site disruption and reduce auditing costs whilst still being completed in a timely manner, if not faster. As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to lessen we can guarantee virtual auditing will be here to stay.

In-Person Site Visits

Sometimes, not all audits can be conducted virtually or without the need to meet in person. Luckily, there are measures and precautions that can be put in place to plan an on-site audit of a supply chain that is safe and non-invasive.

Precautions include wearing masks, gloves, and the correct PPE when appropriate. It is also important that all persons on-site feel well and, if needed, take the correct tests beforehand to ensure they aren’t at risk of passing anything on. Following other measures such as social distancing, hand sanitising and cleaning precautions help to minimise the risks involved with on-site visits in 2021. Although these may not always be ideal in current circumstances, there are measures that can be placed to allow safe auditing on supply chains whilst in the workplace.

Performance/Productivity Data

One final way that you can audit your supply chain in 2021 is through evaluating productivity data and making sure that your suppliers are hitting targets consistently. Data such as delivery times, productivity and carbon output helps auditors see that you are performing as expected. Not hitting these targets indicate that the business may not be in line with your code of conduct and need assistance to reach those targets.

Measuring this data is a great way to audit a supply chain in 2021 as performance is regularly monitored alongside progress and risks that may arise from these audits. There is lots of digital software available that allows these statistics to be tracked and updated as accurately as possible without the need for an in-person visit.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that we audit supply chains in 2021 and for the foreseeable future. Auditors are able to adapt to the current climate and provide businesses with safe, effective auditing solutions that ensure processes are being carried out properly. Our fully qualified IRCA lead auditor consultants can support businesses with the auditing process, from the beginning with looking at your business scope all the way through to accreditation from the third-party body. In-person auditing will still be a thing in auditing no matter how time goes on, however this may not be as important as it once was with the new methods of successfully auditing being available.

At Clear Quality, our aim is to support you in any way we can whilst allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a safer, effective and efficient workplace. If you need help with recertification, auditing, internal standards training etc. Contact our friendly staff today.

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