A Registrar’s Perspective on the Effectiveness of Remote QMS Auditing

We’ve written extensively about remote auditing in the wake of nearly two years of the pandemic, but primarily from the perspective of an auditor or a client organization. Watch the video from Quality Digest as they interview Paul Butcher, CEO of LRQA, to get some insight on remote auditing from a registrar’s perspective.

Paul notes the struggles that client organizations have faced regarding the impacts to manpower and supply chains, and how this has decimated ideas of business continuity and hampered efforts for sustainability and larger improvement initiatives that the world expects from business today, and he’s related these things to the flexibility that he’s observed as being necessary in his own business, having previously provided services on-site and now having to think more broadly and expand horizons to be able to effectively offer registrar services in a world that doesn’t allow for him to be onsite.

He continues that registrars were fairly comfortable with the way business was being handled and services delivered in the pre-pandemic world and, as the pandemic challenges did not exist, there was no need to really optimize the technologies and methods needed to make remote auditing as effective as possible. He laments that even know lots of progress is being made now in the wake of these pandemic conditions to effectively audit in sectors such as automotive with IATF 16949, the possibility of other types of remote audits, such as food safety audits, in regulated industries continue to be an impossibility, even if clients and registrars wanted to be able to conduct the audits in this way.

His perspective seems very similar to the observations that we’ve seen from internal auditors and clients in that he feels that auditing in the digital environment is much more complex than simply using webcams and harnessing enterprise collaboration tools like Zoom, Teams, Skype, etc., but there are security risks to consider and that technologies need to be harnassed and optimized to not only give clients the confidence in the security of the digital landscape but also make the experience easy and perhaps even more effective than traditional audits, but he mentions that there are great opportunities in that there is far more access to larger amounts of data in a safe environment for analysis, which provides opportunities for much more effective sampling and observation that might not have been traditionally possible.

On sustainability, Paul also speaks briefly about how registrars obviously get to save lots of money and limit the environmental impacts caused by the extensive amount of travel that used to be necessary for registrars to get to client locations to assess their quality management systems, so there are certainly some other opportunities that present themselves as risk avoidance measures are being employed to maintain auditing activities in a post-Covid world.

As always, we’d love your feedback on your experiences with remote QMS auditing in the wake of the pandemic. If you’ve had some experiences that you’d like to share, please leave us a comment on this article. If you’d like to have us help you to conduct internal QMS audits, whether they are onsite or remote, you can contact us HERE or check out all of the other quality management services that we offer on our SERVICES page.