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tsmith7858

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:14 PM

As I am preparing for my first audit from a foreign customer and this is an international web site I wanted to pose the question on differences in auditing in different countries.  Sure we all have the same standards to go by and GFSI has helped to standardize but there are always going to be differences.

 

I would like to pose the following questions:

  1. What country are you from?
  2. Do you have audits conducted on exported goods by auditors from other countries?
  3. Do you treat or "handle" auditors from other countries differently?
  4. Do auditors from other countries focus on different areas?

My audit is next week and I am already finding a few differences in the approach to setting up the audit and agenda differences as far as areas of focus.  I will elaborate more after the audit.

 



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Posted 05 September 2014 - 11:52 PM

Good Day TSmith,

 

To answer your questions (from my approach). 

 

  1. What country are you from? UK
  2. Do you have audits conducted on exported goods by auditors from other countries? Not now, however yes in the past. We had USA and French audits.
  3. Do you treat or "handle" auditors from other countries differently? No. All auditors were treated with upmost respect, politely and we answered every question they asked (and only answered what they asked and no more). What we found was that the 3rd party auditors concentrated on their audit programme, whereas 2nd party auditors primarily focused on anything linked with food safety, control and brand protection.
  4. Do auditors from other countries focus on different areas? I found that the USA auditor spent a lot of time looking at our pest control systems, distance of pallets to walls, drains and pest entry points. The French auditor spent most of his time on the critical control points, whether these were effectively controlled and verified. However having said that, I have had many UK auditors concentrate on various different areas as well. My point is that you never know what an auditor will hone in on so its best to make sure everything is perfect.

Good luck for your audit!

 

Simon



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Posted 06 September 2014 - 08:20 AM

Dear tsmith,

 

Yr post is "slightly" obscure in that no mention of what product is to be audited. It could be relevant.

I also assume no particular standard is to be audited, ie compliance to a "Company" standard is involved.

(GFSI "compliant" may well be necessary but also often insufficient.?)

 

I rather agree last line of para 4 / previous post.

 

Based on audits from 4 continents I can only say that the differences are legion, and also for different Companies within same area.

 

IM observations for one product range (seafood), offhand, can think of 4  "possibilities" for the differences  -

 

(1) Regulatory. Variations are enormous and sometimes (intentional) deal-breakers.

 

(2) Buyer's own Quality Philosophy-Flexibility / their client's Philosophy.

 

(3) Audit methodology. (eg some auditors tick their boxes, others genuinely interact).

 

(4) Location. Yours and Theirs. Especially if there is a History Involved.

 

I believe it is impossible to geographically generalise. Except to some extent for No.1.

 

The "best" (IMO) customers will willingly provide their specifications / basic process/hygiene expectations in advance. Some will provide a sample audit schedule.

The 2nd tier will donate "guidelines" on request.

The third are simply uncommunicative.

 

As a comparison, by looking at the threads in this forum, one gets some idea of the similarities of different GFSI benchmarked schemes. Or Not ? :smile:   Take your pick ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


cazyncymru

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 07:09 AM

Hi TSmith

 

I can comment from a different perspective, in that as an UK auditor I was asked to audit a facility in India.

 

Whilst everyone was respectful, it the senior manager who were answered when a question was asked. Very few people from the shop floor answered me directly. I assumed that this was because I was female and there is a hierarchy system.

 

I've noticed on other posts, regarding the Kosher audit, where the Rabbi doesn't really interact with the female members of staff. Again. I have experienced this and to be honest, there is no point in being offended by it; its not their decision but that of many years of religion. I would like to think that some of the modern thinking Rabbi's aren't comfortable with this, but it is part of their religious make up and therefore they feel the need to abide by it.

 

What you will find is that all auditors are different, regardless if they are a "retailer" auditor or a "scheme" auditor. We all have certain aspects of a standard that we feel most comfortable with. personally, I tend to look at calibration of equipment around CCP's. If a site has BRC Grade A, then I take it as read that some aspects are covered. I also look at how many (external) audits they have had and gauge the depth I go into by the number of those audits. Pest Control tends to be an easy win, as does internal audits.

 

Caz x



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Posted 08 September 2014 - 09:18 AM

It is always useful to get a copy of the audit checklist prior to the audit.  That will give you a clue.

Auditors come in all shapes and sizes and always have their own preferences and areas of expertise. 

I doubt this is heavily related to the country they are from.

 

It would be interesting to hear about the audit once completed.


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tsmith7858

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 07:20 PM

It is always useful to get a copy of the audit checklist prior to the audit.  That will give you a clue.

Auditors come in all shapes and sizes and always have their own preferences and areas of expertise. 

I doubt this is heavily related to the country they are from.

 

It would be interesting to hear about the audit once completed.

 

Well, I am fresh out of the audit and happy to say that we did well.  As I am done, I will answer my own questions.

 

  1. What country are you from? USA
  2. Do you have audits conducted on exported goods by auditors from other countries? This was the first formal 2nd party audit by auditors from a different country (Japan) although most of our GFSI auditors have been from the UK (we are currently FSSC 22000 and previously held BRC certification).
  3. Do you treat or "handle" auditors from other countries differently?  We investigated any cultural differences to ensure that we were respectful of their needs and culture.  I also found my CB to be helpful as they gave me tips on Japanese customs (thank you NQA).
  4. Do auditors from other countries focus on different areas?  I agree with others that have said it is more auditor preference than cultural and the focus was definately on foreign material and weight checks.  Whether this is cultural, company or auditor I cannot say without a larger sample than 1!

I agree with Simon on getting a checklist ahead of time but in this case it was not made available.  We were told up front that even though we are GFSI they often find issues (which did not surprise me) and that they would be utilizing "Japanese Standards" but no standard was provided so I reviewed government sites on food safety.  We were also told focus would be sanitation, foreign material and general paperwork review.  There were 4 representatives with one being the auditor.  One person was US based and acted as translator as the auditor was not fluent in english.  Only 4 minor issues were noted and I cannot go into details but 3 were foreign material related.  All were low risk but provided insight and a different view.

 

As someone that is audited frequently (45-50 days a year) I find the opportunity to see things from someone elses point of view to always be enlightening and at time humbling.  As mentioned by others, it all comes down to the same thing - we are all just looking to produce safe, quality food.



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Posted 11 September 2014 - 03:02 AM

Dear Tsmith,

 

2 comments - AFAIK, there is no such thing as a GFSI auditor. Perhaps someone has been hoaxing you.

 

Based on a rather small sample of Japanese audits, subsequent experience seemed to indicate that the audits were as related to gaining business leverage as to sanitation issues, both being equally demanding compared to the norm. But it may depend on the precise (competitive) situation.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


tsmith7858

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 11:56 AM

Dear Tsmith,

 

2 comments - AFAIK, there is no such thing as a GFSI auditor. Perhaps someone has been hoaxing you.

 

Based on a rather small sample of Japanese audits, subsequent experience seemed to indicate that the audits were as related to gaining business leverage as to sanitation issues, both being equally demanding compared to the norm. But it may depend on the precise (competitive) situation.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

I know there is no such thing as a GFSI auditor and no one is hoaxing me.  I used it as a general term to reference the auditors that audited us to FSSC and BRC standards.






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