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Food Standards: Remote-Audit-Processes and possibilities

Digitization is making its way into all industries. This also applies to certification - by means of remote audits. The special feature of this form of audit is that it does not require the auditor to be physically present on site. TÜV NORD CERT now offers its customers this new option.

Remote Audit possibility for ISO 9001, ISO 22000, FSSC 22000 and other ISO standards

Katharina Friederich, who heads the project at TÜV NORD CERT, explains for which companies remote audits are suitable and what differences there are to the previous audit. She has been Deputy Quality Management Representative since 2017 and is responsible for internal audit management.

 

Since when has TÜV NORD CERT offered remote audits?

Just over a year ago we started the pilot project for remote audits. Since then, the first 15 customers have been audited remotely. With success on both sides: Our auditors found the increased flexibility in scheduling very positive. Added to this were the savings in travel time and the reduction in costs. The customers also emphasized the participants' local flexibility and the savings in travel costs. They also liked the reduced 'intervention time' in day-to-day operations.

 

For which companies are remote audits suitable?

A remote audit is particularly useful if the on-site audit time just exceeds eight hours, for example. Without a remote audit, a second journey would be necessary in this case. Remote audits are also suitable for companies with many locations. It does not matter whether these are national or international locations. The journey to the location and, if necessary, an overnight stay in a hotel can be omitted by the remote audit. This saves travel expenses and travel time.

Under what conditions can a remote audit be performed?

Remote audits can be carried out as a component for the certification of management systems. That is, for ISO 9001, 14001, 45001, 50001, OHSAS 18001, SCC and service quality. They are not suitable for production sites, but only for office locations. The personal contact to our customers is important to us and will remain so, because the remote audit share must not exceed 50 percent of the total audit time. Certification as well as re-certification and surveillance audits can be conducted remotely. For companies affected by the current corona outbreak, remote audits can make a significant contribution to maintaining certification.

 

How does a remote audit work?

In essence, the remote audit is no different from a conventional on-site audit. Only part of the on-site audit discussion is replaced by an interactive, web-based video conference. It is only important that auditors and auditee check the technology before the audit.

Which technical requirements are necessary?

The most important basis is a laptop or computer with internet access, a webcam and a headset. Audits can be carried out using either WebEx or Skype for Business. Since WebEx offers better stability, we recommend this program from the project team. We have developed a checklist for all interested customers. With its help they can check if their infrastructure is suitable for a remote audit.