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Preparing for an unannounced SQF Audit with multiple sites


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Altermanm

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 04:22 PM

Hello,

This is the first time that i am going to handle an unannounced SQF audit, and would appreciate your help with the few questions I have.

Our company has 2 manufacturing sites in different provinces.1 in Alberta and the other in Ontario. Our Head Office is in the same building with the manufacturing facility in Alberta. Each facility has an SQF practitioner and a Senior Site Manager. I am the corporate Food Safety Manager.

 

1. Does the SQF practitioner's back up must be from the same site? Can I be the back up for the Ontario facility, if I am located in Alberta?

 

2. During the previous SQF audits the Corporate senior management team , including me, were present.  In the case of the unannounced audit , it will be almost impossible to do so. Would that be an issue for the auditor? 

 

3. There are few corporate programs that are part of the SQF requirements, that are managed by me. The SQF Practitioners are familiar with these programs , but I was the one who developed them If I won't be present during the audit, and the auditor will have question, will it be ok to do it over the phone? Or they will expect the  SQF Practitioner to handle everything by themselves?

 

 

Thank you in advance for your help!

 



michaelal

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 05:31 PM

Hello!

I was in a very similar situation last summer where I was actually on Vacation and all other senior management had moved to our second facility.

 

In my experience:

2. They want to see "management commitment" to the food safety program, you can set blackout periods (time managers should not take vacation). The more management is there, the better it looks, but if one or two people are there is sufficient. For our unannounced audit there was no management present in the facility, the auditor said it looked bad and used this as the basis to find lack of management commitment in our other policies and reviews and eventually said our lack of support from senior management was to blame for the failure.

 

3. The practitioners should be able to find the documents and know that one exists and when it is used, but during our unannounced, my deputy called me multiple times to ask questions, and the auditor gave him a list of things he needed me to provide for the second day of the audit.



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Altermanm

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 05:35 PM

Thank you for sharing,

Both our facilities supposed to have an unannounced audit during the same window. I wish I knew which facility to go first:)

 

Hello!

I was in a very similar situation last summer where I was actually on Vacation and all other senior management had moved to our second facility.

 

In my experience:

2. They want to see "management commitment" to the food safety program, you can set blackout periods (time managers should not take vacation). The more management is there, the better it looks, but if one or two people are there is sufficient. For our unannounced audit there was no management present in the facility, the auditor said it looked bad and used this as the basis to find lack of management commitment in our other policies and reviews and eventually said our lack of support from senior management was to blame for the failure.

 

3. The practitioners should be able to find the documents and know that one exists and when it is used, but during our unannounced, my deputy called me multiple times to ask questions, and the auditor gave him a list of things he needed me to provide for the second day of the audit.



SQFconsultant

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 05:58 PM

 

 

1. Does the SQF practitioner's back up must be from the same site? Can I be the back up for the Ontario facility, if I am located in Alberta?

 

> The key SQFP can cover 1 or multi facilities and operate from one location, assuming that person has a covering person (provision to cover) at each facility that can fill in for that person as the need arises. 

 

 

2. During the previous SQF audits the Corporate senior management team , including me, were present.  In the case of the unannounced audit , it will be almost impossible to do so. Would that be an issue for the auditor? 

 

> This is a given on any unannouced audit - no issue, but there must be an SQF Practitioner or covering SQF Practitioner.

 

3. There are few corporate programs that are part of the SQF requirements, that are managed by me. The SQF Practitioners are familiar with these programs , but I was the one who developed them If I won't be present during the audit, and the auditor will have question, will it be ok to do it over the phone? Or they will expect the  SQF Practitioner to handle everything by themselves?

 

>I doubt that an Auditor (having been an SQF Auditor) will not mark up an SQF Practitioner that has to call out to another person to answer a question -- your SQF Practitioner needs to be in full command. It could come down to not being knowledgable - not a good thing for an SQF Practitioner.

 

 

Thank you in advance for your help!


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 

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Altermanm

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 06:32 PM

Thank you Glenn,

In my case the situation is a little different. The back up for the site SQFP is in another province, If during the unannounced audit the SQFP is sick, for example, the back up can't fly out right away. We will have to book a flight and to get to the facility, It might take the whole day.  

For a scheduled audit it is not an issue.  The only problem is with the unannounced. 

 

 

 

1. Does the SQF practitioner's back up must be from the same site? Can I be the back up for the Ontario facility, if I am located in Alberta?

 

> The key SQFP can cover 1 or multi facilities and operate from one location, assuming that person has a covering person (provision to cover) at each facility that can fill in for that person as the need arises. 

 

 

 



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Posted 04 February 2020 - 06:48 PM

Thank you Glenn,

In my case the situation is a little different. The back up for the site SQFP is in another province, If during the unannounced audit the SQFP is sick, for example, the back up can't fly out right away. We will have to book a flight and to get to the facility, It might take the whole day.  

For a scheduled audit it is not an issue.  The only problem is with the unannounced. 

 

My answer is based on what is allowed and was verified by SQFI last year and has been in force at several of our clients without issue.

 

The back up must be on-site, there is no way around that one - thus I would seriously be looking at ensuring that you either have a helcopter available or appoint a new back-up person and get them up to speed fast.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 

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Altermanm

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 07:01 PM

Thank you Glenn!

I am training somebody right now, although I loved the idea with the helicopter:)

My answer is based on what is allowed and was verified by SQFI last year and has been in force at several of our clients without issue.

 

The back up must be on-site, there is no way around that one - thus I would seriously be looking at ensuring that you either have a helicopter available or appoint a new back-up person and get them up to speed fast.



SQFconsultant

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 07:24 PM

Thank you Glenn!

I am training somebody right now, although I loved the idea with the helicopter:)

 

..................

 

Yes, I think most companies should have one.

 

Years back when I did my first SQF Audit at a nut company in Delano, California I had just sat down at the conference room table and I hear this loud noise outside, looking out the window there's a red helicopter landing on the pad and in walks the owner of the company.

 

I thought well, that's a way to make an entrance!

 

But, seriously, he and his partners ran about 12,000 acres of nut trees and orange groves and that is how he would go out and look over the different locations.

 

I was offered a ride, but turned him down as it was a rather intense audit and I had this strange feeling of being pushed out of the helicopter at some point --- just kidding... but it was an intense audit.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 

Altermanm

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 07:46 PM

Wow! That's impressive.  :yikes:

 

Thank you Glenn!

I am training somebody right now, although I loved the idea with the helicopter:)

 

..................

 

Yes, I think most companies should have one.

 

Years back when I did my first SQF Audit at a nut company in Delano, California I had just sat down at the conference room table and I hear this loud noise outside, looking out the window there's a red helicopter landing on the pad and in walks the owner of the company.

 

I thought well, that's a way to make an entrance!

 

But, seriously, he and his partners ran about 12,000 acres of nut trees and orange groves and that is how he would go out and look over the different locations.

 

I was offered a ride, but turned him down as it was a rather intense audit and I had this strange feeling of being pushed out of the helicopter at some point --- just kidding... but it was an intense audit.

 






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