Are you ready? An unsatisfactory or failed third-party audit or FDA inspection can make life miserable for QA managers and the brands they represent.
What are the keys to successfully preparing for your next audit? According to Ole Dosland of DOZ Consulting, an independent consulting firm offering sustainable food protection, pest management, quality systems and training solutions for the food processing industry, it boils down to five steps.
“The most common misstep a QA or facility manager makes on an audit is lack of preparation,” says Dosland. “Not investing the time to properly prepare their facility and their staff on what an auditor will likely be looking for and what standards they are expected to meet often leads to an unsatisfactory audit.”
Dosland says QA and plant managers can’t control what an auditor will do or ask for during an inspection. What they can control, however, are the conditions that an auditor observes during their visit and how those conditions came to be.
- Be On the Same Page As the Auditing Agency – QA and facility managers should be up to speed on the standards of the auditing agency (i.e. AIB, BRC, etc.) they are working with. It is important to “speak the same language” and management should aim to hold their facility to the most stringent standards available.
- Do A Rehearsal – Staging a rehearsal before a scheduled audit – two months prior is recommended – allows time to take needed corrective actions. It is also a good idea to engage your internal and external partners – pest management provider, cleaning service, maintenance staff, etc. in the rehearsal.
- Scouts, Shadows and Cabooses – Follow the scouts, shadows and cabooses method for your audit prep. The “scouts” - your pest service provider - will work ahead of an auditor to mitigate pest-related issues. The “shadows” – a fellow QA staff member or representative from your pest services provider - will accompany the QA manager and auditor, and take detailed notes on what was said during the audit. The “cabooses” are your maintenance and cleaning staff that are the “fixers” and take any necessary corrective actions.
- Don’t Assume the Audit Is Over When the Auditor Leaves. Have a post-audit meeting with your staff and key vendors to review what went well, what didn’t go so well and what can be improved upon. Schedule corrective actions that need to be taken within 30 days of the audit.
- Staff Training and Improvement. Use this opportunity to conduct additional staff training to improve pest management, sanitation, production, etc. protocols. Share the details of the audit with staff members so they know what was said and what needs to be done to improve.
If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business and can help you prepare for your next audit, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.