With continued COVID-19 restrictions and a second national lockdown, remote auditing was a reality for the quality team. Maintaining regulatory compliance is not just a nice to have, but a critical business function to satisfy our customer’s needs, so success was imperative.
Midas has always taken quality and process control seriously. Having been ISO 9001 certified since 2004, this would be our first remote audit experience, and after two productive days and a great team effort, we have satisfied all requirements for our recertification (Audit Company – NQA). No recommendations and no non-conformities.
Well done to Team Midas and a big thank you to Adam at Spedan Consulting for guiding us through the process and maintaining our system.
If you have a remote audit lined up and are not sure how to prepare, check out our thoughts and experiences below.
What is a Remote Audit?
It is the method of obtaining enough evidence to confirm compliance with your Quality Management System (QMS) and to show that you are meeting the clauses set out by the standard. The remote audit review process follows the same methods that a normal audit would take, but with no one physically attending your premises. Besides prepared documentation, the auditor will utilise software tools to help with interviews, conducting virtual factory tours, and using screen share options to further understand and discuss documentation.
Preparation is Key
At Midas, we are very thorough with internal audits and evidence collection throughout the year, so preparing for a remote audit, whilst it took more time, was less arduous than it could have been. Take some time to think about previous audits and ensure you have clear, documented evidence for key areas in your business.
As a polyurethane moulding company, calibration, purchasing, and training records along with production control documents, were top of our audit agenda.
Talk with your audit company to understand how they would like to approach the day. Being prepared is great, but not if it conflicts with your auditor’s preferred style. Remember the adage, ‘Proper preparation prevents poor performance’, so the better prepared you are, the better you can handle those tricky requests.
Check to see if your audit company would like to clause check against documented projects or ask if they would like to be more active. With the right mindset, prep, and equipment, virtual factory tours and zoom interviews can really help with context.
Invest in a little kit if the audit requires remote factory visits. You can purchase smartphone holders, which can improve lighting, picture, and audio quality. All of which help avoid misunderstandings, frustration, and time-wasting because of repeating questions and answers.
For online meetings, set your team up and make sure they are comfortable using the software (TEAMS, Zoom) and equipment (headphones, webcam). Set aside time for them to prepare, especially if they are inexperienced with online meetings.
Improved efficiencies were our biggest takeaway from remote auditing. The removal of travel time and unnecessary chitchat meant the auditor could focus on evidence. Taking more time to understand our business and the evidence we have provided. To continuously improve, having a third party review your business processes can be incredibly valuable so the more time freed up to do this, can only be beneficial.
And remember, the remote auditor’s job does not differ from an onsite auditor. Their remit is to check that your process is robust, compliant with the specific clauses and that you are following the process described. You just need to show it!!
If you are looking for a moulding company that can show regulatory compliance and provide high-quality, complex mouldings, get in touch. Let’s see how we can work together email@example.com