How To Handle ISO Audits During The Pandemic

 

How To Handle ISO Audits During The Pandemic

Why It’s The Perfect Time For An Internal Review Have you got an ISO audit coming up? There’s never been a better time to take a close look at your internal operations. ISO certification requires internal audits to be carried out at planned intervals in order to prevent your accreditation from lapsing. Auditing may have been the last thing on your ‘to do’ list during the pandemic, but if you want to retain ISO status, then it’s important to prioritise your internal checks.

Pandemic Auditing Is Beneficial

The Covid-19 global pandemic has impacted our work and personal lives like never before. Major changes have been made to the way we conduct business, with many switching to at least a partial remote working model. The impact of Covid on internal processes has been incredible. We may no longer have the same resources or personnel available to carry out the daily operations which are integral to the smooth running of our business. Supply chains have been altered, and even our ability to be compliant with industry regulations may be at risk. So, with this in mind, there’s a strong argument to suggest that there’s never been a better time for an internal audit – as inconvenient as it may seem.

Challenges In Conducting Audit Which Adds Value

Of course, as important as auditing during the pandemic may be, the very actions and resources needed to carry out a thorough internal review may not be available at this time. If your team have scattered to a remote working environment, it may be harder to keep track of what your current quality control processes are. However, this is exactly the type of barrier you need to identify and overcome as part of your audit. An ISO 9001 consultant specialising in quality management control also suggests that you get in touch with your external assessor for precise guidance on how and when to book your audit in during the pandemic.

Potential Risks

Each business or industry will have their own potential risks and threats, but there are some common challenges which have been posed by the pandemic. Switching to remote working is in itself a significant threat to security. You’ll need to ensure that your company has the ability to meet information security and data protection regulations. This may mean investing in more advanced technology and providing enhanced training for your remote team members. Of course, if you have welcomed employees back to a physical workplace, then your audit should account for health and safety adaptations to create a Covid-secure zone.

Staff Management

Internal audits shouldn’t just be about processes and policies, you should also pay attention to the people you rely on for quality control. Are they adhering to your guidelines and remaining productive in challenging circumstances? The mental health and wellbeing of your team members cannot be underestimated either – people have had extreme variations in their experience of lockdown and their ability to handle the changes thrown at them. All of this should form part of your audit as you have a duty of care to your personnel, but this will ultimately impact on your quality output too. If you know that you have an ISO audit coming up, then don’t try to put it off as you could risk losing this valuable accreditation at a time when your business may need it the most. Instead, embrace the opportunity to take an honest look at how you’ve coped during the pandemic and the changes you may need to improve your quality management systems.