I remember the first time I helped a company to develop and implement their SQF program.
It was a seafood company, good sized operation in Florida.
Sitting there in the conference room the owner walked in and said tell me what I need to do next to which I said - please contact all of your suppliers and tell them you want copies of their most recent GFSI, 2nd or 3rd party audits and get their corrective actions as well as a copy of closeouts for each one.
He looked at me and said - OK.
He got on the phone and proceeded to call 70 suppliers - he was told everything from NO to we have never been audited - there was only 2 suppliers that complied.... this was about 10 years ago.
We discussed the issue and over the next several days he called each one again and said they were no longer interested in doing business with the other 68 suppliers unless they comply with new requirements in order to re-qualify as a supplier.
Some just wanted to give a copy of their certificate or there own self-audit (funny people.)
He pressed onwards and the results at the end of his gathering project was 80% compliance with the balance audited by an audit team.
Several indicated that the company could visit the supplier and see the audit - look, that is really bogus to demand that a valued customer has to travel to your facility to review your audit package.
A certificate is nice but your customer wants to know the issues and how you corrected them even if your certificate shows you in good standing - they want the details - not the cover page - because they are seriously not interested in buying your product when it comes with a side helping of risk.
By the way, fast forward to our clients today and we find compliance with providing the audit package by suppliers to be close to 100%... on the first request and without the kicking and screaming on the the part of the supplier.
Give it up to any customer (large or small) or potential customer that asks, you'll have more stable relationships with your customers, more business and many times we now see our clients helping their suppliers with issues they may have - that is the side benefit of having an open and free exchange.
Telling a customer they can look at the audit at the supplier location is an open invitation for the customer to demand a full audit of your facility and documents thus the horse and pony show will be replaced with a day or longer audit. Suppliers really can not afford having to add on audits for all customers - the labor costs are staggering to having to dedicate an employee for a day or more plus the costs involved (travel, audit fees, etc.) and then closing out corrective actions to the satisfaction of the customer.
Audit packs (Certificate/Audit/Issues/Corrective Actions and close out information) are ready to be printed and sent (yes, by mail) to any customer or potential customers that requests them from our clients after each SQF Audit package is completed.
They are not sent electronically.
For some reasons (in the minds of suppliers) this appears to be an issue - providing the audit package... but primarily in the United States, while it is common practice in most other countries.