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Posted 17 September 2021 - 12:11 AM


The company I am the Quality Manager is certified to FSSC 22000.  We also supply our products to some major manufactures around the global.  They all have their own standards and carry out audits against their standard.  I feel like I am juggling internal audits and compliance to meet expectations.  However, some days I feel like I am drowning and not waving.  Anyone else in this situation?  If so, any tricks or tips to share.


Thanking you


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Posted 17 September 2021 - 06:49 AM

Hi, I used to be in that boat.  We supplied people around the world.  Firstly I always tried to push back where I could and was sensible to do so.  It didn't always work but one customer did accept going to once a year audits rather than 6 monthly.


Secondly I trained up my team.  So it wasn't always me leading the audit.  By the end I had four people including me who could competently lead an audit.  Good job as well as once three turned up at once(!)  We could have turned two away but honestly it was actually easier just to get them all done.  Funny though when they all asked for the same training record at once and I ended up ferrying it from room to room lol!


It's worth mapping out your workload as well.  You may genuinely need a person whose main job will be compliance with customer standards.  In that I'd say ideally you need to pick 2 or 3 of your customers who perhaps have the most stringent standards (or most stringent auditors) and audit against them in key areas internally alongside whatever GFSI you do.  That will make audit time a piece of cake but it is time consuming.  That's why I put in an additional layer of management in that old role so I had someone whose whole job was pretty much managing that internal audit and external audit process.


But lastly, I actually think you're lucky.  I now work in a business where each site only has two audits a year and they're not from customers (it's branded) and I can tell you now, standards are worse.  When your customer uses food safety as a tool for negotiation, it does focus the minds!


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Posted 17 September 2021 - 01:12 PM

There are a few of us that have to dance this dance. One thing I've found that helps is finding the overlap.

I'm not doing several monthly internal inspections, I'm doing one. There are instances where one standard is more stringent, that's the one I go with to set my threshold. It's easier said than done and you will always find 'conflicts,' especially if you deal with customer expectations.


Another thing that will help in this instance is familiarity with the various auditors, and knowing when to pull a trump card if there are 'conflicts.' For example, I was familiar enough with my customer and SQF auditors to KNOW that they REQUIRED a certain door to be locked (between final product warehouse and inner warehouse). When during a self requested OSHA audit an OSHA inspector told me that was a big no-no (was considered usable as an emergency exit) I asked them to please document that and I would be more than happy to bring it into compliance by removing the deadbolt/lock. Four food auditors over the next year told me that was a NC and I would have to immediately rectify it... right up until I showed them the OSHA report. I won't lie, I kind of enjoyed witnessing that minor balance of power.

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