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To preaudit or not to preaudit, that is the question.

SQF Audit Preaudit Poll SQF

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Poll: SQF Preaudit (22 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you conduct preaudits prior to the official SQF Audit?

  1. Yes (10 votes [45.45%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 45.45%

  2. No (3 votes [13.64%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.64%

  3. Only for the initial audit. (9 votes [40.91%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 40.91%

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#1 Brendan Triplett

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:26 AM

With SQF auditing becoming the way of the future for anyone involved in the food industry, the question remains whether or not it is worth it to spend the money on finding someone to conduct a sqf preaudit inspection on your facility. So, have you done it? Do you continue to do it? Did you only conduct it for the initial audit? What are your reasonings behind your choice? Let me know.

Cheers!


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Brendan Triplett


#2 SQFconsultant

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:09 AM

Hi Brendan - As SQF Consultants (and prior SQF Auditors) we do a lot of 1st time pre-audit consulting sessions with clients.

 

When I was an SQF Auditor most companies had pre-audits conducted by the auditor that would eventually be doing their desk and cert audit.

 

There can be two ways to look at this - many have the feeling that is the same auditor is doing both the pre-audit and their actual audits then it would be impossible for the auditor to come up with "new" stuff when they came back to do the actual certification audit. The upside is that the company personnel can get an insight into what they might think of as hot buttons and they can take the time to fix up what the pre-audit discovers.

 

The downside is that many people feel that if they "got away" with something because the auditor missed something that it is smooth sailing ahead for the certification audit - NO, Stop, Wait, Listen -- lots of stuff can happen during the time of a pre-audit and the actual certification audit.

 

It happen many times that the auditor comes back in 3 months to do the certifcation audit and up pops a number of items that were not on the pre-audit. This is when facility personnel start questioning the auditor asking why he/she didn't note this when they were here the first time for the pre-audit.  It sure can get messy.

 

The other issue is that many people expect the Auditor doing the pre-audit to provide consulting advise, No, stop, wait, listen - Whether the auditor is doing a pre-audit or a regular audit the auditor is an auditor - not a consultant.  I remember the sage advise that an Auditor told me when I first started auditing years ago... Auditors are reporters - not consultants!

 

If the idea of having a pre-audit is not only to seek out what is missing, but also get advice on what to do, suggestions, etc - then get a consultant to do your pre-audit. If you strictly want to identify holes and non-compliance items as of such and such a date and nothing else - get an Auditor to do the pre-audit.

 

We find ourselves doing a lot of what we call SQF compliance consulting reviews with both companies that are going for the their first SQF certification and with those that are established SQF certified companies  for two primary reasons... 1. Because of the change over from 7.2 to 8.0  and #2 because ownership doesn't know if they are ready or yet due to a fall out, firing or a person quits a key role having to do with the SQF program....

 

Right now we are working with and scheduling three companies where the key person either quit or was fired and the audit is upcoming before end of year.

 

Based on background and having our own food company my polling would be YES for a pre-audit with a determination whether you want a straight reporter to point out issues or a consultant that can conduct the review, point out the issues and help you fix them.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC Group | +1.800.793.7042 | Serving the Food, Food Packaging & Food Storage Industries
SQF Development, Implementation, eContinuity & Certification Consultants 
 
In a nutshell we help small to large businesses to get their act together (as needed), help them to co-develop
entire SQF documentation systems, make recommendations as to installations and repairs in order
to get certified and continue with on-going support thru our popular eConsultant program and we do
all within 30 days so your staff can implement with our assistance to retain and get new business!
 
Serving the new Republic of the United States of America & Alliance Countries

http://www.GlennOster.com


#3 Tony-C

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 03:42 AM

Hi Brendan,

 

I would normally carry out a pre-audit or pre-inspection for every audit of the facility, there are not just SQF audits.

 

If you don't have the knowledge or resource to do this then by all means hire someone.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony



#4 Scampi

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 05:33 PM

I would suggest it depends on your own level of knowledge/years of industry experience

 

The codes don't really ask for things you shouldn't already be doing, even if you are running a simple HACCP plan. If you have a really good understanding of HACCP and you know your facility in and out then it may be an expense you don't need

 

I would however suggest that you get 3-5 other employees, HR, accounting whatever, to walk through the plant with your internal audit/monitoring record and see what they see

 

Or/and ask them to pick a section of the code and see if you have what they believe is required

 

Your still getting a pre audit of sorts and you may be surprise at what you find out  (BTW accounting folks are used to finding a needle in the haystack so might be your best bet)


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#5 trishjarmon

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 06:11 PM

Hello,

As a former SQF lead auditor, I would say that if you have a full knowledge of the SQF requirements, then conduct your pre-audit as part of your internal audit program. It is important that you include other employees as you should not audit your own areas of responsibilities. Just make sure they are knowledgeable of audit technics and also the code!

If your team do not have the time, then hire a consultant. An auditor is not supposed to provide you with ideas on how to manage your system better.

 

All my clients who have done pre-audit before SQF certification have commented that it was well worth it... After that some of them would use food safety consultants to conduct their pre-audit.

 

Hope this helps

Trish 



#6 Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 06:27 PM

As the poll indicates, first time certification or re-certification? We weighed the cost and chose a full audit as a gap analysis and relied on guidance documents after the fact then 6 months later successfully passed our next certification audit. We do continuous internal auditing to determine compliance but not in preparation for an audit although I do a review just to verify all components are available for the auditor but I look at that as a courtesy. I have been trying to foster a culture of annual certification audits as being just another part of the whole program, not the focus of the program. It seems upper management looks at the audit as the focus and tries to throw resources at it a month or two before. I tell them it's not necessary as almost everything is already the way it should be.



#7 Brendan Triplett

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 02:21 PM

Hey all,

 

I have prepared for audits in a bunch of different ways but currently we have conducted one pre-audit, where we outsource the audit to a professional, and then all successive pre-audits are conducted by the Food Safety Team.  To make this program more effective we ensure that the food safety team is active in the initial professional pre-audit so that they can ask questions and specifically see what the auditor is looking for when they go through the facility.  Of course the auditor is looking for everything but there may be more of a focus on one thing than another and more importantly there may be areas that were missed or documented incorrectly that they can fix the next time there is an actual audit.  The success of this is based on the "buy in" from the food safety team and as long as there is a good group, that meets regularly and take ownership of the program then there is not shortage of a knowledge base to work from.  This is made all that much more strong by being able to reach out to other food safety professionals... like on this forum.  Our team is always stalking around here somewhere.


Director of Operations/Vice President and SQF Practitioner in Pennsylvania
Brendan Triplett


#8 Simon

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 07:43 AM

Hey all,

I have prepared for audits in a bunch of different ways but currently we have conducted one pre-audit, where we outsource the audit to a professional, and then all successive pre-audits are conducted by the Food Safety Team. To make this program more effective we ensure that the food safety team is active in the initial professional pre-audit so that they can ask questions and specifically see what the auditor is looking for when they go through the facility. Of course the auditor is looking for everything but there may be more of a focus on one thing than another and more importantly there may be areas that were missed or documented incorrectly that they can fix the next time there is an actual audit. The success of this is based on the "buy in" from the food safety team and as long as there is a good group, that meets regularly and take ownership of the program then there is not shortage of a knowledge base to work from. This is made all that much more strong by being able to reach out to other food safety professionals... like on this forum. Our team is always stalking around here somewhere.

Sounds like a good plan Brendan. You know the 5 P's saying "Prior preparation prevents p#@! poor performance". It's true.

Cheers,
Simon

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#9 Mariam Y.

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:00 PM

Conducting Pre-Audits has always been a "thing" for companies, I believe pre-audits before the actual audit is important, but not for the same reason most of the companies do it for.

 

Companies usually do it as a way to try to do a "quick-fix" for the deviations before the actual audit so that they have law # of NCs, an approach that leads to doing a lot of Correction & a little of Corrective Action & Root Cause Analysis. Hence, problems persisting & recurring after they have been certified.

 

The approach (IMO) should be more of a putting the company in the "mood of audit", assigning different team members to audit thus helping them be more exposed to the requirements of the standard, training staff how to deal with auditors & help them see the system better.







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