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BRC Position Statement 079 - Unannounced Audits


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AndyDiff

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 09:42 AM

Hi, any views from BRC Packaging companies on unannounced audits to be made compulsory from April 2021? At least 1 audit has to be unannounced over a 3 year period. I have attached a copy of the BRC Position Statement BRCGS079, which describes the proposed change. My own view is that this could be a culture shock for our site as we have only ever had announced audits.

 

 


Edited by Jacob Timperley, 23 December 2020 - 08:38 PM.


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pHruit

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 05:34 PM

Not in packaging, but the same change is taking place for the Food standard (and S&D). I can think of a good few sites for whom this will be quite a shock ;)

I do think it has some merit though*, as it will hopefully improve standards year-round, rather than having a panicked few weeks of prep to look good for specific known audit dates. Not saying this applies to you; rather that there are sites for which it definitely does apply, such that their BRC grade is not at all representative of their standard of operation on the 363 days they don't have the auditor there...



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zanorias

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 06:21 PM

I imagine it will be unwelcome news for many; no doubt an audit it easier to pass when it is expected and can be specifically prepared for. I can see why it's being done though and I hope it will push an improvement in the general culture. Personally I'm striving to get my site up to 'audit ready' standards as a baseline and the 'threat' of unnanounced BRC auditors turning up is a tool I'll use to help push things in the right direction, where traditionally it may be the case of standards falling because "we don't need to worry about the audit for another X months now". I predict moving forwards there will be a gradual shift across most audits towards unannounced where feasible and it may gain more popularity with customers and their confidence in the standards of their suppliers (hopefully) year round, not just on audit days.



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wjmccann3

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 01:40 PM

We are a SQF certified facility in the states. Every 3 years we have an unannounced audit. SQF provides a 90-day window where the auditor can show up. There was a panic when we were approaching our first time line. I explained to the leadership team, that we are supposed to be doing all this 365/24/7. We should not struggle with this and should not feel that things would go poorly. In my opinion, I love unannounced audits, it is the time to "put up or shut up" I am happy to say, our first unannounced audit we scored a 97. After the audit, everyone was saying "what was the big deal" go figure! 

 

Best of luck to you and your organization. In the end, your company will be better for it. 



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Charles.C

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 02:20 PM

So much for the original Philosophy that all GFSI-recognized Standards were to be considered equal. ?

 

Should guarantee a few new QC Managers anyway. Rightly or Wrongly.


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Charles.C


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Posted 30 December 2020 - 02:23 PM

Haha Charles---anyone who's managed more than one scheme knows they are not created equal!


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Charles.C

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 05:16 AM

Haha Charles---anyone who's managed more than one scheme knows they are not created equal!

 

Hi Scampi,

 

Yes, and IMO, the same comment applies to Manufacturing Facilities.

 

I have occasionally worked in and audited various Facilities which often, but not exclusively, due age/origins exhibit operational appearances/limitations at the lower end of "beauty".  The latter's characteristics can, predictably, particularly impact in situations where non "Low Risk" products are involved. No prizes for guessing that unannounced audits might not be overwhelmingly welcome by Top Management in such scenarios. The destination where the impact is typically passed down to is equally predictable. :smile:

 

Some "pro"s for unannounced audits are noted in previous posts. Another one might be Buyer (perceived?) customer satisfaction, particularly in the retail arena and especially when, at least in Principle, it costs the Buyer nothing.

 

JFI  is there  any documented evidence that this relative innovation has significantly elevated the safety of the output from the Food Industry. Will it reduce Buyer's demands for implementing their own audits, an apparently routine supplement to some(all?) GFSI-recognised Standards.

 

PS - @wjmccann - With all due respects, and happy to be proven incorrect, any Standard where most people seem to regularly score in the Range of 90-100  tends, for me, to induce caution rather than confidence.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


pHruit

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 01:41 PM


JFI  is there  any documented evidence that this relative innovation has significantly elevated the safety of the output from the Food Industry. Will it reduce Buyer's demands for implementing their own audits, an apparently routine supplement to some(all?) GFSI-recognised Standards.

This is an interesting question! I too was curious, but I haven't been able to find a particularly substantive answer.

It seems self-evident that sites needing to be on "best behaviour" (sorry, I think I mean "having a well-established and effective food-safety culture" ;) ) should be performing better more of the time, but it'd be nice to see some real data.

 

BRC published the attached White Paper approx. 5 years ago and this seems to support the assumed implications.

IFS have a bit of blurb on their website about it, but it's more marketing than data analysis IMO: https://www.ifs-cert...nnounced-audits

Arguably only tangentially relevant to our industry, but I did also stumble across the attached thesis looking at unannounced audits of safety practices in labs. and this does actually put some numbers (and even a graph or two!) together to support the conclusion that unannounced audits do indeed improve operating practices over time.

Attached Files



Scampi

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 03:10 PM

I spent a short while working in a facility that shouldn't have passed regulatory inspections never mind 3rd party for the state of the actual building........between that and the way the "food safety" was managed there, i gave my leave and moved on.  They were subjected to a huge international corporations own audit as well as 2 GFSI.....what I learned was (the only conclusion left to be gleaned) was wheels are still being greased somewhere along the way...........if a corporation has deep enough pockets-compliance can always be bought


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Charles.C

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 07:04 PM

This is an interesting question! I too was curious, but I haven't been able to find a particularly substantive answer.

It seems self-evident that sites needing to be on "best behaviour" (sorry, I think I mean "having a well-established and effective food-safety culture" ;) ) should be performing better more of the time, but it'd be nice to see some real data.

 

BRC published the attached White Paper approx. 5 years ago and this seems to support the assumed implications.

IFS have a bit of blurb on their website about it, but it's more marketing than data analysis IMO: https://www.ifs-cert...nnounced-audits

Arguably only tangentially relevant to our industry, but I did also stumble across the attached thesis looking at unannounced audits of safety practices in labs. and this does actually put some numbers (and even a graph or two!) together to support the conclusion that unannounced audits do indeed improve operating practices over time.

 

Hi pHruit,

 

Thks for the downloads.

I (so far) looked over Pgs 1-9 of the 1st (Food) document.

 

Interesting that 84% of the respondents stated their reason for choosing unannounced audit (UA) was "customer requirement".

 

The survey regretfully makes no mention of characteristics such as  -

Types of Production/Risk levels.

Sizes of Staff/Production.

Incoming Grades

I hypothesise that the majority of respondents possessed >= A Grade. The vast majority of respondent's unannounced audit results appear similar. (I deduce that none of the responding, unannounced, 283 sites (ca.25% of unannounced population) had Nonconformances  > Minor NCs. Remarkable ?)

 

Pg8 summarises the data via 3 Sections -  (1) Nonconformities and Grades, (2) Impact of an Unannounced Audit, (3) Comments Received by the Survey

Section (1) contains some conclusions presumably based on data not shown here so no specific comments. Interesting to know that NCs found in announced /UAs are typically similar.

Section (2) summarises data results. Some (Table) terminologies are ambiguous from a FS POV, eg accuracy, thoroughness. (i) I was unable to determine how the quoted overall beneficial value of 50% was calculated (seems high). (ii) The data ( table segments 2,9) appears to not support the use of UAs from a FS POV.  (eg 85% responses said UA had no effect on their approach to Food safety). (iii) For unspecified reasons, 58% respondents said they would prefer not to continue with unannounced audits.

Section (3) lists a range of 18 Participant Comments following the Unannounced Survey. 89% (16/18) were IMO "complimentary" . This latter value seems "strangely"  high when compared to the datum in (2[iii]) above..

 

Overall comments regarding UAs under discussion -  (a) the sample may not be fully representative, (b) a significant benefit from a FS POV is IMO not yet proven.

 


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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