Auditing; Are audit teams struggling to keep-up with multiple and changing audit schemes?
Because consumer demand for high quality food products is increasing, many new public and private standards for food safety have been created.
There is now a proliferation of food standards worldwide which need to be complied with.
Retailers and regulators may require as many as 10 different compliance regimes to be applied, which in turn puts pressure on the costs and margins of delivering auditing services.
On top of this, compliance bodies must ensure that their auditors stay up-to-date with changes to regimes. This can be hard to ensure when, in most cases, information is spread between independent templates located in different IT systems or spread across a range of spreadsheets.
Managing this complexity can be extremely difficult.
Different certification schemes require different formats, increasing complexity and time
The modern auditor is faced with a growing stack of audit schemes that have to be managed - with confidence – in the field.
Auditors have limited time on site, where they have to lead and manage the gathering of information, whilst completing multiple audits for the same producer, sometimes across different locations. But they must ensure that no individual questions are over-looked or forgotten.
In practical terms this can involve different logins to different IT systems for each scheme, and a different layout for each audit. And all of this data must be saved, accessible and secure. And if different schemes require certification, this may also involve collecting evidence and answering the same question for different audits - again and again - repeating the same information.
All this whilst standing in a noisy environment - or in the heat of a greenhouse.
Storing information in different places makes it very hard to have visibility across data, regimes and clients.
It can be a big task to collate various pieces of information and evidence when it’s stored in multiple locations, in multiple formats, across multiple files and on multiple devices.
And if it’s hard for the auditors, it’s even harder for managers.
Information stored across various locations offers very little ability for making comparisons, spotting trends and auditing the rigour of the audits undertaken.
Having good oversight of audits – auditing the auditor – is fundamental to consistent audit delivery, and it builds confidence and trust.
The increasing coverage of food safety by the media puts even more pressure on quality processes and procedures in the delivery of audits, and emphasises how critical it is to have clear visibility.
Spotting issues and risks early and identifying opportunities for continuous improvement are just the beginning.
As complexity grows, so does risk management.
The solution doesn’t lie in attempting to plug legacy systems together or by creating more spreadsheets.
Auditors, suppliers and consumers need a joined-up, accessible and trustworthy platform that ensures quality and visibility of data.
Companies that invest in one, scalable solution now, will ensure themselves a bright future within the industry.
QuantumLeap is a multi-user, multi-assessment, multi-level auditing cloud platform that enables controlled visibility and control of information.
Unsplash image by NRD