If you’re growing accustomed to hearing or saying, “I think you’re on mute,” these days, then you, like many other professionals around the world, are adapting to what is popularly being described as the “new normal.” If anything, COVID-19 has empowered our resilience, our ability to learn, and our willingness to rebuild broken systems.
It’s not just food safety qualifications and training programs that have migrated to online platforms; auditing tools are quickly making the transition as well. Food businesses and certification bodies (CBs) are exploring new ways to gather, analyze, and report data based on their virtual audit findings.
Here are two main ways to carry out this audit:
Remote Video Auditing through Installed Cameras
This approach uses analyzing segments of live and/or recorded video feeds that are selected at random by a remote auditor via the web or a prescribed digital platform. Cameras deployed at various locations within the operational area are continuously running, or at least transmitting a video feed during the operational hours. The unintentional benefit of this approach is a behavioral one; employees who are aware of being monitored are more likely to remain compliant with the standard operating procedures, if not improve performance.
Remote Auditing via Walk-Through Video
An employee may facilitate an audit by recording the walk-through of the operations from receiving goods until dispatch or service of the final products. A hand-held device, helmet-mounted camera, or glasses equipped with a camera can be used to carry out this type of audit. While this approach may be more cost effective, it relies heavily on what the employee chooses to capture on camera and can certainly come with its blind spots.
Whichever option your organization chooses to make, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of executing a remote video audit. Remote video auditing will only be successful if the technological infrastructure and know-how is in place.
Here are a few other pointers to consider:
- Ensure that your remote auditing tool undergoes a quality and safety assessment. With security breaches becoming more common in the world of remote working, sensitive operational and employee data may be most vulnerable to online hackers. White-labelled auditing tools would have to remain compliant with the organization’s and local regulatory requirements as well (for example, HIPAA compliance).
- Train your workforce on conducting successful remote audits. Conducting self-audits is a great way to experiment with remote auditing, before proceeding with a certification or recertification audit by a CB.
- Be mindful of which entity recognizes remote video audits. Currently, GFSI has decided not “to replace standard audits with non-standard audits.”
Remote auditing is a promising tool that comes with many opportunities for improvements. Not only can the selected video feeds be used for the purpose of auditing, but it can also highlight which areas within your operation are excelling, and how. Technology alone does not cause a transformation within a business; how the technology is used is what transforms the business.
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