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Remote audits in connection with the coronavirus

As the coronavirus spreads more widely, we are receiving ever more questions about the performance of remote audits. Because of the current situation, the standard owners have made a large number of special arrangements, which mean that remote audits can be performed in more situations than before. We would now like to answer some of your questions and have put the most important information together for you here.

The most important questions and answers

Which organisations are suitable for remote audits?

There are a large number of special arrangements in the current situation. This means that a remote audit is now suitable almost all organisations.

Normally a remote audit is particularly useful if, for example, the on-site audit time is slightly more than eight hours. Without a remote audit, a second journey would be needed in this case. Remote audits are also useful for organisations with many sites. Here it is not important whether the sites are in Germany or abroad. The journey to the site with possible overnight stay in a hotel can be avoided through the use of a remote audit. This saves travel costs and time.

Which audits can be performed remotely?

Surveillance and re-certification audits and, to a limited extent, certification audits can be performed remotely.

Are 100% remote audits possible?

Normally the remote audit time should not exceed 50 percent of the total audit time. However, this has also changed in the current situation. In justified exceptional cases, audits, with the exception of certification audits, can be carried out up to 100 percent remotely on organisations which

  • deny access to the audit team on the basis of self-imposed security measures,
  • are located in an area which is currently considered to be a Covid-19 hotspot,
  • are located in a country which currently denies access to business travellers.

All remote audits caused by the Corona pandemic require an approval by the certification body.

For these organisations, remote audits can contribute significantly to maintenance of certification.

How does TÜV NORD handle the confidentiality of data in remote audits?

Naturally your data will be handled just as confidentially in a remote audit as in a normal on-site audit.

Do the standard owners in the food sector allow remote audits?

The standard owners in the food sector take different positions, which are currently still changing very dynamically. We would be happy to check whether your individual certification can be implemented remotely. Please contact foodcert@tuev-nord.de.

What is the procedure for a remote audit?

Basically there is no difference between a remote audit and a traditional on-site audit. The audit dialogue on site is replaced – in part or as a whole – by a interactive web-supported video conference. It is important that all those taking part in the audit should check the technical equipment before the audit. A good way to do this is to have a test video conference. The final details of the audit can also be discussed with the auditors during this test conference.

What are the technical requirements?

The most important requirements are a laptop or computer with internet access, a webcam and a headset. The audits can be performed via WebEx or Skype for Business.

Can only office locations be audited remotely, or can remote audits also be used for production sites?

Normally only office locations can be audited remotely. However, if production sites are located in an area which is currently considered to be a Covid-19 hotspot, remote audits can also be performed at production sites, if all the requirements can be evaluated remotely, including the assessment of objects/processes. 

Can I also make use of remote audits if I am a new customer of TÜV NORD?

Remote audits can be used for all customer groups. In the case of organisations affected by coronavirus, initial certifications may also contain remote shares to a limited extent.

Remote audits at TÜV NORD



Checklist: Are you ready for a remote audit?

Rooms

  • Best: Quiet conference room
    Alternative: Quiet office room

Infrastructure

  • Stable Internet connection
    Usual web browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer
    Best: connection via network cable
    Alternative: Connection via WLAN
  • Desktop computer/Laptop/Tablet/Whiteboard for connection
  • Camera for video transmission
    Best: Conference cam (with at least 2 megapixel)
    Alternative: Webcam
  • Audio equipment for sound transmission
    Best: Audio conference system
    Alternative: Headset with microphone
  • All the people relevant to the audit must have an email address. The email address is necessary in order to invite the participants to attend the remote audit.

Software

  • Best: Video conference software
    (Cisco WebEx oder Microsoft Skype for Business)
    If the organisation does not have video conference software at the moment:
    WebEx: Low initial cost for plug-in installation (no additional costs)
    Skype for Business: Use only possible with an Account (at a cost)

Documentation

  • Best: All necessary documents are available in digital form.
    Alternative: Possibility to scan in or photograph documents
    (by means of webcam, e.g. with Windows10: Preinstalled “ Camera” App)
    Only necessary for documents in hard copy