When you think of the weeks leading up to a food safety audit, what comes to mind? Late nights, frantic searches for missing reports, other work falling to the wayside, and stress that affects the whole team? Food Safety Managers are responsible for reports, documents, and binders being current, accessible, and correct during an audit. If your job relates to food safety, you probably know these concerns well.
There are proactive steps food safety teams can take throughout the year to stay on top of audit preparation. Every operation is unique and will use different strategies, but one common method is conducting self-audits in advance.
What Is a Self-Audit and Why Does It Matter? Know Your Score Before You Take the Test
One way to hold your organization accountable is to conduct your own audits at regular intervals. By actually running through the same questions an inspector would, you can see where you might lose points and give yourself a chance to be proactive in solving problems. As a manager, this lets you know if your operation is ready for a real audit.
The only problem is that when done with pen and paper, a self-audit can just add to the already-existing stress of compliance paperwork. Someone needs to print and complete a long audit checklist and tally up their points manually at the end. When a question asks for correlating documentation to be attached, the inspector might check that their food safety binder contains the right forms, but there’s no way to attach those to the self-audit. Once it’s completed, there’s not an easy way to send the audit to someone or compare it to previous audits.
How Do HeavyConnect Digital Self-Audits Work?
We know that many of our customers make it a practice of doing self-audits throughout the year and that they find the paper process burdensome. We decided that as an all-in-one compliance platform, self-auditing was an important tool to offer our customers.
We are happy to announce that with a new add-on product feature, you can now conduct digital food safety self-audits seamlessly from your HeavyConnect administrative dashboard. Like our other compliance tools, self-audits are simple to use, data is stored securely in the cloud, and PDF reports of your answers can be shared via email.
Our goal is that by using our self-audit tool, you won’t have to worry about any surprises during a real audit. By using HeavyConnect to assist with audit preparation, many of our customers find that their audits can be completed in half the time.
Here’s what you can expect when completing self-audits with HeavyConnect:
Access The Most Up-To-Date Audit Schema:
Right now, HeavyConnect offers self audits with GLOBALG.A.P. and PrimusGFS, the two most common audit schemas. When new updates are released, our team will apply those changes right away. As schemas change, you can be sure you’re filling out the most recent version without needing to update the questions yourself.
Right now, we offer:
GLOBALG.A.P. 5.4 Crops Base
Stay Organized & Move At Your Own Pace:
The questions are organized into sections and modules and you’ll only see the portion you are currently filling out. Alongside each question you’ll be able to click a “Guidelines” button which gives direction on how to interpret each specific question, as provided by the schema. For GLOBALG.A.P. audits, each question will indicate whether it is a “Major Must” or “Minor Must.” As you answer the questions, your score for that module will update in real-time. If you need to take breaks between filling out sections, your progress is saved so you can return to it later.
Know Where You Stand With Score History and Evolution:
Once you’ve completed a self-audit, you’ll be able to see your overall percentage and whether the audit was passed or failed. When you click “Finish” the new record will be added to your audit history where you can view every question, attachment, and comment. Your scores are tracked over time in a digestible chart so you can see trends and progress.
Keep Everything Centralized With Attached Documents:
Many questions on food safety audits require the inspector to attach a certain document, for example: a standard operating procedure. For each answer on your self-audit, you will be able to attach a file either uploaded from your computer or stored in your HeavyConnect digital binders. Once a document is attached, it will always appear next to the question it’s associated with. There is also a text box where you can add comments to each question.
Make Your Formal Food Safety Audit Easier:
When your actual food safety audit happens, you will already know how it’s going to go. You can proactively address any issues, missing reports, or incomplete documents. You can even use “View Mode” to show a completed self-audit to your auditor. Our customers are already using HeavyConnect during audits by creating a digital folder with just the necessary documents and giving their auditor a temporary, restricted login to view that folder. That way, much of the audit can be completed before the onsite audit time, potentially reducing your in-person time by over half. Once the audit is complete, the temporary access can be revoked and the auditor will no longer have access to your digital folder.
"My last food safety audit using HeavyConnect was totally amazing. Perfectly performed! The document review portion only took 3 hours compared to the 6 hours it would have taken before."
Conducting frequent self-audits ensures your operation is on track with its Food Safety Plan. Using a digital self-auditing system means you don’t have to worry about keeping track of paper self-auditing forms or being caught by surprise by any missing documents at audit time. Plus, the process is so much smoother that your team won’t dread self-audits and can complete them more quickly.
To see how HeavyConnect Self-Audits can help streamline your operation’s food safety process, book a demo today.