Case study on remote audits

A case study on remote audits in collaboration with Transco Logistik Berlin in Covid times.

The complex situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies in all sectors to adapt their processes and operations, and onsite audits at suppliers of the pharmaceutical industry are not the exception. Looking at the scope of possibilities that especially modern, digital technologies allow, the discussion of remote / video audits has gained a new momentum. Not only do these remote audits offer the possibility to improve audit efficiency and reduce costs, they can also contribute to more carbon-efficient operations, thus helping the planet.

The challenge

Transco Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (TBB), a carrier, freight forwarder and logistics provider based in Germany, required an audit during COVID times, when presencial audits were not a possibility. They were looking for a trusted audit provider, with experience in delivering high-quality remote audits.

Travel restrictions and social distancing

Travel restrictions and social distancing due to COVID-19 have forced pharmaceutical companies to look for alternatives to keep supply chains safe and compliant, without the possibility to conduct onsite supplier audits.

Execute a compliant, safe and adequate audit, remotely.

The facilities tour was not applicable for this auditee (reinforcing the applicability of the remote audit approach); however, recordings of the facilities, bespoke videos of how the operations work, photographs, facilities layouts, and so on, would need to be used to evaluate the compliance of the facilities in other cases. Proof of accuracy would also need to be done.

Ensure data security and that the technology used is reliable for remote audits.

Doubts around keeping company and audit related information secure and confidential, alongside fears around insufficient or unreliable tech, are common when it comes to conducting remote audits. Especially in the pharmaceutical industry.

How we help

How can we help companies that need compliant, well-executed remote audits, and how can remote audits benefit our customers?
01

Experience in executing high-quality remote audits.

Based on the experience gained by doing onsite audits and the expertise and skills of our qualified auditors, Qualifyze developed an open and efficient method for the execution of remote audits where efforts are always commensurate to the level of risk associated to the supplier or service provider. Periodic breaks were agreed in advance to allow the auditor and the auditee moments of refreshment which are recommended to prevent the stress from a tightened posture and focus on the screens.

02

Confident with testing and selecting appropriate technology for a successful remote audit

Qualifyze and TBB also discussed which was the most suitable and secure video conferencing platform and file sharing tool and a dry run of the technology was performed to confirm the audit objective was feasible and it was comfortable for everybody. From the many platforms available, it is important to select the simplest video conferencing platform which guarantees the audit objective and security, as more complexity can lead to more problems. It is also highly recommended to think of having a backup or “Plan B” options. The availability of video connection between the audit participants helped in keeping the human connection during the audit, which progressed very smoothly.

03

Able to successfully manage all audit processes during unprecedented, uncertain times.

Despite the uncertainty, the collaborative efforts of all interested parties ended up in a detailed and comprehensive agenda and TBB provided relevant documentation in advance to facilitate the execution of the remote audit.

Conclusion

The complex situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies in all sectors to adapt their processes and operations, and onsite audits at suppliers of the pharmaceutical industry are not the exception. Qualifyze’s approach and strategy for remote audits allows keeping supply chains safe and compliant, even in times when mobility is restricted.

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