Technology’s Place in AuditsBlog
By Tracie Sheehan, PhD
Why do companies voluntarily pay for a third party like Mérieux NutriSciences Certification, LLC to conduct audits of their facilities, farms, or suppliers? Historically they have chosen Mérieux NutriSciences Certification based on trust that the auditors are highly qualified experts in their discipline who can assess the food safety risks of their site based on sound science and a thorough knowledge of the regulations and audit requirements. Some standards mandate annual training and require that auditors can only audit a site three times which can automatically control auditor bias.
In today’s world, we are leveraging information technology to improve our auditing services for our customers. We have automated online and live training which has been standardized for all auditors around the globe. Our training includes technical requirements about the specific audit, or about industry best practices, and also soft skills in communication delivered by trained experts. Similar training is available to our customers in a digital, self-paced format or in virtual and live instructor-led courses.
Another technology best practice is leveraging our auditing software to schedule audits in a more efficient manner often allowing travel expenses to a remote location to be shared between customers. Our scheduling also tracks who is qualified to conduct an audit by food type and allows for large customers to have a designated pool of auditors. In addition, by automating our technical review and certification process, we are reducing turnaround time for the audit reports.
Customers can now have a unique digital customer portal in our auditing software where they can access and pay their invoice, access their audit report, view audit schedules (except unannounced audits), and view Mérieux NutriSciences Certification contacts by roles. We are working on automated analytics to provide customers with trend analysis, most missed questions, and other statistical assessments of their audits to better understand their risk profile so they can make informed decisions for continuous improvement. At Mérieux NutriSciences Certification we are continuously evaluating and implementing technology to improve our processes and improve the customer experience.