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Are You an Effective Auditor?


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Poll: Are You an Effective Auditor? (64 member(s) have cast votes)

Are You an Effective Auditor?

  1. Yes (36 votes [56.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 56.25%

  2. No (4 votes [6.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.25%

  3. So So (24 votes [37.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.50%

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#1 Simon

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 05:34 PM

Today's webinar was titled Effective Food Safety Management System AuditingAs well as possessing technical auditing skills the speaker David Rosenblatt from Sher Consulting and Training said that to be effective an auditor needs:

 

1. Passion

2. Professionalism

3. Attitude 

4. Tactics

 

Do you agree?

Do you possess these attributes?

Do you consider yourself to be an effective auditor?

 

If not, what do you lack...and what are you going to do about it?

 

Please watch the webinar, vote in the poll and comment below.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#2 ChristinaG

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 09:01 PM

I think I'm so-so right now, and I'm chalking it up to lack of previous directly-related experience and that there's always room for improvement for every auditor.

 

However, I do have previous experience in dealing with adhering to regulations/systems and educating people on how to follow them, and I have my degree in Biology. I've been told I have a good rapport with our employees and temps, and I'm a very optimistic and enthusiastic person. I think I could improve in the Tactics and Professionalism categories, but I think that will develop well with further training and experience. I've got attitude and passion down, though.

 

I'd argue that integrity should be added to the list, as well. After all, honesty is the best policy. :-)

 

Personally, I enjoy conducting audits, and I even enjoy being audited to a certain extent. That may be because I'm an inquisitive person, so I really enjoying learning how everything works and then figuring out how to improve it. I also like helping people, so much that I've been told by my boss once or twice that I shouldn't be offering advice at supplier audits (working on that).

 

-Christina


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-Christina

 

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."- Albert Einstein 


#3 mgourley

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 01:42 AM

I am very passionate about making sure that my sister facilities, as well as my own, are ready for third party audits.

When I do second party audits, I am perhaps not as professional as I should be. When the person I have in the cross hairs is bumbling about and prevaricating...I just come right and say "well, that's just BS."

Say what you do, do what you say and be able to prove it. 

 

I tend to nit pick. Especially on documents. Nothing sets my "NC" pen off more than seeing documentation that is filled out at the exact minute on the hour, every hour. When I am walking around on the floor and I see this, I make sure I am near that monitoring station at the next "scheduled" check. Nine times out of ten the check is not done when the time is logged. Then we have to have the immediate training on "WHY" it's OK to miss a check, as long as the check is completed and a deviation form is filled out. 

 

As far as tactics go, I'm a big fan of open and closed ended questions. If I ask "so what do you do if x" and I get a 5 minute rambling, incoherent babble, I know the person has no clue what the policy or procedure is.

 

That being said, when you hit the floor, I have worked in food facilities for 24 years. I am certainly not going to complain about some flour on the floor, nor am I going to complain about a whole bunch of trough grease on a lift assembly if the line has not shut down for three weeks. I might point out that it might be a good idea to have someone clean off that obvious gob of food grade oil that is near, not over, a product zone, but I know what it's like when sales do not allow you to shut down to clean.

 

Marshall


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#4 GMO

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 11:10 AM

I have do admit I don't like the word "tactics".  I'm not there to trip people up, I'm not the traffic warden waiting by your car until it's 1 minute past the time when you should have returned.  I am there to help and improve and educate.  I am also there to tell people what they are doing right.  If I see a hint of an issue then, yes, I will dig deeper.  I am suspicious but at the same time, I'm open minded and that took a few years in the food industry to get to.  Sorry that sounds filthy. :oops2:

 

What I mean is that there are 101 ways to do things.  If you aren't doing things the way I would prefer, I listen and see if it achieves the same aim.  I might even learn something in the process which helps me anyway.

 

I don't beat myself up anymore if I can't cover everything.  I cover what I can in the time I have then move on.  As they say "it's a sampling exercise".  That said, I did learn a lesson from one external auditor in how to make that sampling exercise more effective.  When we'd checked internally we'd found no issues with PPM by saying "can I see the PPM for machine X".  You would be shown the PPM and say "fine". 

The auditor said "I see you have 3 of these machines, please can I see the PPMs for all of them?"  And that's where we came unstuck as one didn't have a PPM but it would have been difficult to spot without trying to see all three at once (because the numbering on the PPM wasn't great.)

 

I am far more collaborative than I used to be.  I was trained never to give advice but I've noticed that my external auditors are changing their stance on this too.  Ok, don't lead someone down a path which would cost them millions but at the same time, if they are stuck in how to resolve an issue and you've seen some good practice (which not subject to some kind of NDA) then share it.  It helps everyone.


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#5 DenisB

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 06:20 PM

I've been performing Food Safety, GMP and Quality System audits for 25 years and training internal auditors for over 15 years and I must also admit that Tactic is not one of the qualification that I would consider - my number four attribut would have to be that a good auditor MUST have "Common Sense" without common sense, one can make poor judgment in auditing. In order to do so, one needs to know and understand the sector being audited - there are so many technical information an auditor must be aware of in order to be the best auditor he can.

 

For the past 4 years, I've been auditing between 25 and 30 dairy facilities per year under SQF program and must admit that I may a bit more picky than the certification auditors, but an audit being a "Picture in time" of the food safety programs in place that will generally be different from the following day or audit as personnel change, production change, stocks move, there are so many variables that will impact the outcome of an audit - this is why, common sense is most essential to being a good auditor.

 

Look, Listen and Audit

 

DenisB


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#6 GMO

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 07:08 PM

Another thing I've learned throughout the years is to stop and look.  Don't be rushed by the person you are with.  Stop, look and watch.  In a way if you don't do that, you miss out on the behavioural aspect which is probably more important than anything else you could look at.


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#7 Inverse

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 07:59 AM

I'm truly impressed by all of you and your experience in food industry!

 

I think currently I'm only so so internal auditor. I'm very passionate at what I'm doing but lack of management understanding and interest really puts me off sometimes. Since we are really small company (less than 10 employees), I need to do everything myself, so auditing is not that exciting anymore (I know every single corner of our site). Either way, I try to do by best, stay professional and attentive to details. I'm really looking forward for an opportunity to audit our suppliers !


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#8 DenisB

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 01:10 PM

Hi Inverse, I have been in a similar position as you early in my carreer. Being the only auditor in a small company is a good way to learn, but you will find out with time that because you audit month after month the same facility where you work daily, you will fall into a confort zone and wont see obvious non-conformities - if you could involve others from you company and rotate audits responsabilities it would make your audits much more efficient. 


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#9 GMO

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 05:26 PM

I'm truly impressed by all of you and your experience in food industry!

 

I think currently I'm only so so internal auditor. I'm very passionate at what I'm doing but lack of management understanding and interest really puts me off sometimes. Since we are really small company (less than 10 employees), I need to do everything myself, so auditing is not that exciting anymore (I know every single corner of our site). Either way, I try to do by best, stay professional and attentive to details. I'm really looking forward for an opportunity to audit our suppliers !

 

Are there any other small companies nearby or friends in non competing industries you could call on to do the occasional "swap" audit for a fresh pair of eyes?


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#10 Inverse

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 02:11 PM

Thank you both for great suggestions!

 

Denis, 

As you might know from your experience, it is really hard to convince other employees to do internal audit and give constructive feedback.. But I will try!

 

GMO,

This is brilliant idea! However, I don't know any other small company that would like to "swap" for an audit.. That would be very useful though!

 

Thanks!


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#11 BrummyJim

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 07:41 AM

One approach I have found useful over the years is "What is wrong with this picture?". Just stand there for a minute, looking around. There will most likely be something wrong, something that shouldn't be happening. It may well be fine and can be ignored. On the other hand, it may be a good thing to focus on.


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#12 GMO

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 12:47 PM

One approach I have found useful over the years is "What is wrong with this picture?". Just stand there for a minute, looking around. There will most likely be something wrong, something that shouldn't be happening. It may well be fine and can be ignored. On the other hand, it may be a good thing to focus on.

 

Don't forget what's right and communicating that!


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