Jump to content

  • Quick Navigation
Photo

Using technology to carry out food safety audits without the auditor being present


  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

Simon

    IFSQN...it's My Life

  • IFSQN Admin
  • 12,529 posts
  • 1318 thanks
721
Excellent

  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Manchester
  • Interests:Married to Michelle, Father of three boys (Oliver, Jacob and Louis). I enjoy cycling, walking and travelling, watching sport, especially football and Manchester United. Oh and I love food and beer and wine.

Posted 04 March 2020 - 08:50 AM

With coronavirus and the mitigation strategies being discussed I got to thinking about audits, specifically third-party food safety certification audits and how we can make them more efficient. 

 

Although desk audits are carried out as part of some certification schemes the main audit is always on-site for x number of days. 

 

The on-site audit itself takes a lot of time because there are a lot of requirements to check, a lot of evidence gathering and writing of the findings.

 

I was thinking surely today we can remove or reduce time on-site with technology.  Some crazy ideas might be capturing evidence with photos and video that are automatically uploaded to the cloud against the specific clause of the standard.  Maybe the auditee walks round the factory wearing a head camera and is asked to show and tell by the auditor, with photos taken of documents and records. 

 

Web conferencing, tablets, video cameras are all easily accessible and easy to use these days, so surely anything is possible.

 

What do you think?

 

Regards,
Simon


hand-pointing-down.gif
 
Get FREE bitesize education with IFSQN webinar recordings.
 
Download this handy excel for desktop access to over 140 Food Safety Friday's webinar recordings.
https://www.ifsqn.com/fsf/Free%20Food%20Safety%20Videos.xlsx

 
Check out IFSQN’s extensive library of FREE food safety videos
https://www.ifsqn.com/food_safety_videos.html

 

recommend-us-on-facebook.png


LesleySR

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 64 posts
  • 50 thanks
22
Excellent

  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom

Posted 04 March 2020 - 09:06 AM

Hi Simon

 

Nice idea, but I but I think this may depend on who is doing the "head camera" walk?.... would this be an employee of the company that is being audited or an independent person?.

 

After almost 30 years in the food industry I'm probably very cynical, but I know there are diverse & genius ways of deflecting attention from 'problem' areas if you are really committed to it ("misplaced the key", "John's on his break" "the engineer is off sick" "we'll send the records on" etc.)

 

However I think this would be a very good way to conduct "follow-up" audits to confirm that known NCFs have been adequately resolved. In these instances  an auditor will have already have visited factory so would be aware of factory layout, how the specified controls should work,  and what evidence is sufficient to resolve a NCF?.



Thanked by 1 Member:

QAGB

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 671 posts
  • 255 thanks
107
Excellent

  • Earth
    Earth

Posted 04 March 2020 - 01:54 PM

Given the circumstances around the Coronavirus and potential travel bans, maybe some sort of web-audits could be considered. Perhaps just to grant an extension to people's certificates so they don't expire if the CB decides not to conduct audits. If/when the threat has subsided, the regular on-site audit can be conducted.

 

LesleySR brings up a great point though. With a head camera or video - it is really easy for an employee of a company to direct an auditor's focus away from problem areas. Some things you really have to be on-site to capture. 



SQFconsultant

    SQFconsultant

  • IFSQN Fellow
  • 3,786 posts
  • 953 thanks
843
Excellent

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:American Patriot
    WWG1WGA
    Never give up, never give in - always win!
    Martha's Vineyard Island, Massachusetts

Posted 04 March 2020 - 02:16 PM

We develop entire SQF systems on a remote basis without ever stepping foot inside a plant and this includes a full review of the interior and exterior - the facility personnel are tasked with providing an extensive video that we normally get in sections by department, thus being about 3-6 hours worth.

 

We either supply the client with the best GoPro available and send it to them or they already have one - we can't accept anything less from a clarity standpoint.

 

At the point of change over to remote from on-site there was most certainly a lot of nervousness, was this the right move, would it be accepted, etc as there is a LOT to be said about being on-site, interacting with the staff and eyes on all areas for inspections.

 

From a consulting standpoint watching video is quite acceptable because we can't help companies if we don't know what the "bad" is along with the good, technically during a consulting review and prior to the actual development process we are auditing, but it is a different type of audit - we find out what's wrong and then go about helping the facility to fix it, do the installs, repairs, etc.

 

A bit different auditing and our clients get that - so we get ALL the video, every inch of the facility, all narrated as they go.

 

With all this being said I can see how an Auditor (having been one) can (and does, such as an SQF desk audit) review standard documentation via systems such as dropbox, cubby, etc. but I don't see how an Auditor could inspect a facility with only a video provided, photo's etc - there is a lot more that goes into an audit than just an experienced set of eyes...

 

Interactions on the spot are priceless, as is just sitting in car (and what seems like) out by the guard gate and watching ingress and egress or seeing if I could breach safeguards and drive around a building or enter thru a different door, etc. is also priceless.

 

Interviews with employees, having a "that smells funny" moment during a tour of the facility could ever be replaced with video.

 

I don't see a way to replace a human being (and not with a robot) walking around a facility, smelling the air, having a... let me look over there moment and watching paint chips vibrate off the ceiling and fall into food products rolling down the line or being able to ask one of the people to run a metal detector check for me watching how one is done.

 

So, as far as the part requiring "eyes, nose, ears and legs to walk around I do not see a way to replace the on-site visit part - but standard policy type documents, recall plans, etc sure, that can be done off-site.

 

As to CV - it's being super hyped and 'they" are doing a real job of it.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant Retainer Subscriptions - 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
 
 

SQFconsultant

    SQFconsultant

  • IFSQN Fellow
  • 3,786 posts
  • 953 thanks
843
Excellent

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:American Patriot
    WWG1WGA
    Never give up, never give in - always win!
    Martha's Vineyard Island, Massachusetts

Posted 04 March 2020 - 03:12 PM

Wow, lots of typo's - sorry, I need more coffee this morning.

 

Is there a reason why the "edit" button only comes in some but not all postings by a user?  I was not able to go back and repair my posting, but on this entry there was a edit button?


Edited by SQFconsultant, 04 March 2020 - 03:14 PM.

Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant Retainer Subscriptions - 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
 
 

zanorias

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 802 posts
  • 241 thanks
156
Excellent

  • Wales
    Wales
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:Motorcycling, Food Safety, Science, Paddleboarding, Space

Posted 04 March 2020 - 05:39 PM

I largely agree with Lesley's point both on the limitations of conducting an audit, and the potential of this approach for following up non-conformances.

 

When conducting internal audits a good portion of non-conformances I list will come from points that I notice from the corner of my eye and assess before a production member has time to rectify/hide it. I fear that via a headset worn by the auditee they may also notice these things, but would make a subtle effort not to turn their heads and thus the camera to witness the issue. 

 

Checking specifics though to close non-conformances could well be feasible however. Although that said, auditors would suffice with photographic evidence submitted electronically anyway (IME at least).

 

I can see more potential for this kind of approach in future when the production process and records also turn towards a fully electronic system. I.e. if all production records, traceability, supplier approval documentation etc etc are help on a system that can be temporarily accessed by an auditor who can then look through the info and select a production specification or a complaint investigation at their choosing, perhaps this would work better than the traditional "here's the board room, and here are 20 folders".

 

@ Glenn, I could be mistaken but I think the 'edit' option remains open for a certain amount of time from posting, before disappearing.



AL DSOUZA

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 9 posts
  • 0 thanks
0
Neutral

  • India
    India
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mumbai
  • Interests:Food Microbiology, HACCP, Audits of Vendors.

Posted 28 September 2020 - 10:56 AM

With coronavirus and the mitigation strategies being discussed I got to thinking about audits, specifically third-party food safety certification audits and how we can make them more efficient.

Although desk audits are carried out as part of some certification schemes the main audit is always on-site for x number of days.

The on-site audit itself takes a lot of time because there are a lot of requirements to check, a lot of evidence gathering and writing of the findings.

I was thinking surely today we can remove or reduce time on-site with technology. Some crazy ideas might be capturing evidence with photos and video that are automatically uploaded to the cloud against the specific clause of the standard. Maybe the auditee walks round the factory wearing a head camera and is asked to show and tell by the auditor, with photos taken of documents and records.

Web conferencing, tablets, video cameras are all easily accessible and easy to use these days, so surely anything is possible.

What do you think?

Regards,
Simon

Fully agreed Simon, this is the new norm so we need to adapt to mitigate risk.
I am doing quite a few remote audits of vendors in a month about 3-4 vendor audits.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


GMO

    Grade - FIFSQN

  • IFSQN Fellow
  • 2,700 posts
  • 695 thanks
186
Excellent

  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom

Posted 28 September 2020 - 11:05 AM

I don't know, there are people looking at headsets etc but it never matches a real world audit.  I would think if we're working though, an auditor should be able to visit.  The insistence you have to be 14 days clear of a case gets really difficult.  While there are large numbers of infections across the UK, there are no signs of transmission on site.  Why can an auditor go to a supermarket having no idea if a member of their staff has gone off sick but not come to my site?

 

Right now I'm unsure on whether several planned audits will happen as someone could go off sick a few days before.  They must be cancelling masses of audits at short notice.  It's unrealistic.



AL DSOUZA

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 9 posts
  • 0 thanks
0
Neutral

  • India
    India
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mumbai
  • Interests:Food Microbiology, HACCP, Audits of Vendors.

Posted 21 October 2021 - 10:48 PM

We develop entire SQF systems on a remote basis without ever stepping foot inside a plant and this includes a full review of the interior and exterior - the facility personnel are tasked with providing an extensive video that we normally get in sections by department, thus being about 3-6 hours worth.

We either supply the client with the best GoPro available and send it to them or they already have one - we can't accept anything less from a clarity standpoint.

At the point of change over to remote from on-site there was most certainly a lot of nervousness, was this the right move, would it be accepted, etc as there is a LOT to be said about being on-site, interacting with the staff and eyes on all areas for inspections.

From a consulting standpoint watching video is quite acceptable because we can't help companies if we don't know what the "bad" is along with the good, technically during a consulting review and prior to the actual development process we are auditing, but it is a different type of audit - we find out what's wrong and then go about helping the facility to fix it, do the installs, repairs, etc.

A bit different auditing and our clients get that - so we get ALL the video, every inch of the facility, all narrated as they go.

With all this being said I can see how an Auditor (having been one) can (and does, such as an SQF desk audit) review standard documentation via systems such as dropbox, cubby, etc. but I don't see how an Auditor could inspect a facility with only a video provided, photo's etc - there is a lot more that goes into an audit than just an experienced set of eyes...

Interactions on the spot are priceless, as is just sitting in car (and what seems like) out by the guard gate and watching ingress and egress or seeing if I could breach safeguards and drive around a building or enter thru a different door, etc. is also priceless.

Interviews with employees, having a "that smells funny" moment during a tour of the facility could ever be replaced with video.

I don't see a way to replace a human being (and not with a robot) walking around a facility, smelling the air, having a... let me look over there moment and watching paint chips vibrate off the ceiling and fall into food products rolling down the line or being able to ask one of the people to run a metal detector check for me watching how one is done.

So, as far as the part requiring "eyes, nose, ears and legs to walk around I do not see a way to replace the on-site visit part - but standard policy type documents, recall plans, etc sure, that can be done off-site.

As to CV - it's being super hyped and 'they" are doing a real job of it.

I second that 100%


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users