A little bit off topic, but still relating to supplier approval
We recently had an un-announced visit from a future customer (contract is made but start up with their product is in September/October).
This customer is a fairly large international company and exists in several parts of Europe. Notorious for being complicated and having big, tedious systems and routines everyone must follow.
We have earlier this year, before the contract was signed, submitted our certificates, specifications and answered all their questions about food safety etc. etc. Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to sign a contract with them.
So, two weeks ago a QA person from their national branch and an auditor from a well known CB knocked on the door.
They ended up doing an, almost, full BRC food safety audit during 9 hours!
At the time we were in a little bit of shock but have since then gathered our thoughts and come up with:
1) During a world wide pandemic, this company think it's good to send out people to perform physical audit?! Even CB companies have restrictions against this. If they needed more information we could have sent the entire audit report for them to read and they would have been more than welcomed when things have calmed down.
2) Their company only had 3-4 extra requirements that wasn't covered by our BRC certification (or other GFSI standards). They could easily have made us answer/prove conformancy digitally instead of on site.
3) We could have rejected their visit. Our management has put a ban on allowing visitors on our site, but at the time we were so shocked and didn't think of this (also, the sales person wouldn't have been too pleased, but that's another thing).
4) It was un-announced. It's a well known fact that July and August are holiday times, in this part of the world at least. Most industries shut down, or at least minimize production. Also, and again, it's a pandemic. We might not be operating because of that. What would they have done if we weren't open, or production wasn't running? One week earlier and this would have been the case (due to holiday, not pandemic). We had one production line running for them to look at. Luckily it was one that was applicable for their future product.
5) They promised to send their official report asap as they had some remarks and thoughts of improvement for us. We still haven't heard from them.
Bottom line: We are certified according to BRC Food (grade AA, I might add) but apparently this means nothing to some companies and they have to perform their own audit. No matter what!
We might as well stop paying for the certification and just continue with our internal audit program instead... just a thought.
Side note: it will take about 1-2 weeks to produce their contract volume which span for a year... (They didn't know what to say when we mentioned this ) Most of our other customers are bigger in terms of production volume and money value, but nowhere near as "complicated" to work with.