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Preparation for audits/inspections/visits: local, regional, national and international

The best preparation is to always be ready

Audits, inspections and customer visits have long been part of the scene. Receiving visitors should be part of the daily routine. If you have implemented a PCP , standards , customer requirements ; it's that you've put the time and effort into it; then it is more than important to behave as if there were visitors every day .

It doesn't matter whether someone comes to see what you're doing or not; you must at all times comply with regulatory compliance requirements, norms and standards and customer requirements that apply to your establishment.

Take the time to ask yourself the following question: Is it more complicated and expensive to be compliant all the time or to respond to CARs, non-compliances following audits , inspections or visits.

To ask the question is to answer it because if you are not ready:

  • You will have non-compliances or CARs to manage which will require time and resources

  • You risk interruptions

  • You risk losing contracts

  • You risk coming into conflict with the regulatory authority, audit firms and/or clients

How to prepare and always be ready?

  • Monitoring your production activities and your level of regulatory compliance is important for this purpose as it allows you to take the pulse of the situation and avoid losing control.

  • Regular internal audits allow you to adjust as you go and avoid major fixes

  • Management reviews make it possible to validate that there is an adequacy between the vision of the company and what is happening in your establishment in order to avoid the mismatch and qui pro quo.

  • The regular presence of sales representatives on the production floor is an essential part of ensuring that everyone has the same understanding of what is being done and how it is done.

  • Constant exchanges and occasional meetings between teams/departments are important so that everyone is aware of what is happening in your establishment and that everyone speaks the same language.

  • If it is a foreign delegation, minimal preparation is required to learn more about regulatory requirements , customs and other useful tips to know. The CFIA may, in some cases, assist you.

  • To have written procedures and documentation for audits, inspections and surveys with specific rules related to compliance requirements, norms and standards or customer requirements

  • Do not hesitate to organize in-house simulations of surprise visits that focus on specific themes and make sure you document everything

  • Do not hide anything , clearly identify what is not working and document why you have products on hold

  • Make sure to intervene as soon as something goes wrong and ideally before the person auditing, inspecting or visiting

What else needs to be done

What you do best : your day- to- day work ensuring you meet compliance requirements , norms and standards and customer requirements.

Remember that nothing is perfect and that it is quite normal to have a register/logbook of noncompliances that contains noncompliances. The opposite would be fishy , very fishy, like never having customer complaints or breakdowns on your production lines.

We are able to help you develop, implement or improve your preparation for audits, inspections and visits so that you are able to continue to meet regulatory and normative compliance requirements and those of your customers (including those stipulated in GFSI standards). You will get fewer non-compliances, it will help you approach these meetings with less stress and be more sure of yourself in order to show yourself at your best.  You will also end up having more minor non-compliances or observation instead of majors which will in turn save you time and money.

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