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Performing Supplier Audits

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#1 Weebus90


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Posted 28 August 2017 - 08:05 PM

HI Everyone, 

i'm looking for some help on performing supplier audits. 

We have a few hundred suppliers that have been grandfathered in. 

We put a start date to our supplier approval program and every new supplier coming on board now undergoes a supplier approval process.


We have many grandfathered in suppliers who do not have a third party food safety/ GMP audit on file. 

My company and i were developing our audit criteria so we can go out and perform these audits on our suppliers.


Is anyone else out there doing this? i'm looking for some advice on how to actually start this up. 

Is the cost on the supplier who wants to do business or with my company since its our requirement?


for this is anyone contracting with an certification body to have them go out and perform your company's audit?




#2 SQFconsultant



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Posted 29 August 2017 - 04:10 AM

We have clients that have gone out on their own and following fairly standard 3rd party audit formats have done their own audits on the suppliers and normally it is the customer that pays for the audit, not the supplier or at least the supplier may pick up some of the expenses related to travel for instance. But normally your company should expect to pay for in-house labor time and travel expenses; unless your company is a substantial customer to the supplier and then they may pick up the entire expense.


I will say that I am surprised that with hundreds of suppliers not one of them has a recent third party or GFSI certificate/audit they can provide - that does sound rather strange to me, with that many you should be able to fish up at least 30% or more.


We used to do contract bulk audits (not anymore - the traveling on bulk orders is insane), however you can contact most any food safety auditing company and get quotes on bulk auditing. I was with several in the past and we had one client that had us doing 3,000 audits a year - these of course were spread out over about 25 people plus sub contracts - however you should be able to contract and order this up and the auditing companies would have their own standard auditing formats already to go or you can customize criteria with them.   


 With bulk audits you might be able to also reduce the per audit cost and travel expenses when an auditor does a loop of audits instead of having to travel to one and come back to base again and then go do another one.


You may also be able to reduce the cost enough on a per audit basis to get the suppliers to split costs or pay the entire amount - it is worth a shot and a cost of doing business anyway.


If I remember correctly the cost of a bulk audit set was $1700 per audit (and now that included not just the auditor - believe me, the Auditor never gets paid what you think they are getting paid, it is always lower) and higher if you wanted the auditing company to follow up on corrective actions, close out an re-audits as needed. That of course was ten years ago - recently I checked an the price for bulk was about $2200 + expenses of course.


I'd first really go back over your suppliers and run a bit of a forensic Q&A with them about recent audits or certifications, it just sounds wild to me that out of hundreds of suppliers that none would have these.


Best to you.

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Glenn Oster


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#3 liberator


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Posted 29 August 2017 - 09:20 PM

Do you really need to do a physical audit all of your suppliers?


Have you risk assessed each vendor and their materials supplied to your company to determine their risk to your business?


We risk assess all of our vendors and their materials being supplied to us and based on the outcome of those risk assessments we determine who needs or doesn't need to have a physical audit.


You can also decide if you just want to do a desktop audit. Just obtain all of the vendors QA documentation/certification and copies of their latest quality certification audit for your review and any other documentation you specifically require for their approval. Audit costs should be covered by your company not your Vendor. You are the one requiring to do the audit so need to cover the costs. The vendor may provide you lunches etc. as part of the audit but they are not obliged to.

We have found that even with a BRC or other GFSI quality certification we may still need to do an audit on our Vendor as they are either new - i.e. we don't have a supply history with them or the materials they provide to us are high risk in our processes so we need to verify that they are suitable as a vendor for us.


If you have many vendors which as you have noted are "grandfathered" you should already have a good amount of information with regards to their supply performance, their quality certifications and their overall performance with your business. All of this information can be used to build your risk assessment and help you decide if you need to do a physical audit, a desktop audit or something else you choose to do to have them as an approved vendor in your system. As long as you have a justification as to how/why you came to approve your vendor you will be ok.

#4 Charles.C


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Posted 30 August 2017 - 03:46 AM

As an obvious comment(s), the amount of work involved can very significantly depend on -


(a) what kind of products/quantities are involved

(b) what kind of approval criteria are involved

(c) yr technical resources


Whole fish are rather different to food supplements.

Kind Regards,



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