Remote Audits

Crises accelerate change, and COVID-19 is no exception. Whereas the idea of doing food safety audits remotely was frowned upon just months ago, it now looks like a significant share of the audits will be executed remotely, even when COVID-19 is gone. On this page, we will summarize everything you need to know about the new scheme rules for remote auditing.

In the field of food safety, remote audits were traditionally frowned upon. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the limitations of on-site audits became painfully obvious. After intensive discussions with its stakeholders, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) updated its requirements in June 2020, enabling the GFSI-benchmarked scheme owners to develop procedures for partially remote audits.

BRCGS and FSSC 22000, two of the leading certification schemes for food and product safety, have released their guidelines already. A procedure for IFS certification is likely to follow soon.

As one of the pioneers of remote auditing, DQS is ready to assist wherever you need us – virtually or on-site. We invite our customers to explore the new options and make an informed decision.

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Benefits of Remote Audits

The use of remote audits makes it possible to:

  • Reduce travel expenses and travel time, both for the auditor team and those who attend the audit
  • Reduce environmental impact of audits
  • Experts from across the globe can be involved at a moment's notice
  • Increase flexibility: remote audits can be scheduled quickly
  • Avoid interruptions to operations
  • Make audits on-site more focused and more efficient

Remote Supplier Audits

Our remote supplier audit is a structured process consisting of three or four stages:

  • i-Assessment: Your suppliers take an online self-assessment, based on custom-made criteria and parameters we develop with you. Automatically generated assessment reports indicate the risk rating and priorities for the next stages.
  • DocView: Desktop review of key documentation and records
  • Video-Assisted Assessment: A qualified auditor conducts a video-assisted assessment. Includes a live site tour and interviews, inspired by the findings of the i-Assessment and the DocView-Stages.
  • On-Site Validation (optional): A short and focused on-site audit to validate the findings of the previous stages.

Blog Series: How to Conduct a Remote Audit

Is a remote audit the same as a regular audit, through a webcam? Definitely not! A remote audit is fundamentally different – different prerequisites, different audit methods, different challenges, different risks and different opportunities.

Done correctly, a remote audit can be a valuable addition to on-site audits. Internal audits, supplier audits and certification audits can all be done remotely – partially or entirely. By contrast, if a remote audit is not executed correctly, it does more harm than good, because it provides a false sense of assurance. Let’s look at the steps do it right!

In this series, we will focus primarily on audits of management systems (e.g. ISO 9001 for quality management systems, ISO 14001 for environmental management systems, ISO 45001 for OHS management systems, etc.). That being said, many of these points will be applicable to other kinds of audits, such as process audits, product safety audits and social audits.