Many of us were hoping that 2020 will conclude the COVID-19 story especially as several pharma companies came up with what was believed to be a working vaccine for the virus, but unfortunately the recent news about the new Covid variants reminds us that viruses are here to stay and kind of like software, have a new release with new features at least once a year; hence we need to get used to the new norm that we have been trying to get accustomed to for over a year now. Remote work, travel bans, restrictions, and lock downs are still intact. Organizations need to equip employees with all needed tools to be able to perform tasks from wherever they are, and one of those tasks is remote audits.
Audits whether internal or external, for certification bodies or regulatory, for suppliers, vendors, customers, and others, will still be needed as an effective way to catch weaknesses, identify strengths, fix problems, assess or examine products & processes, and inject improvements. An auditing system that allows conducting things remotely, collecting objective evidence, and communicating feedback in a collaborative way is a must to ensure that audits will remain effective despite the virus situation.
While the focus of this article is not to promote remote audits over on-site audits, since each has its advantages and advocates, but to promote ways and tools in dealing with a new situation that has imposed itself on everyone. People are discovering that doing things remotely is not as bad as we had thought before we actually had to live it. Many are discovering that they can do things efficiently, in less time, and at a lower cost.
Audits can now be scheduled with anyone regardless of where they are located. No travel so the time can be used to add more value. No accommodations, so many more required people can participate. Less expenses and the benefits go on, but all these benefits are subject to conducting a successful audit.
A successful audit where auditors can collect objective evidence to determine the extent to which the audit criteria has been met and fulfilled, interviews with process owners and operators across the globe, flexibility and practicality of the system followed, security at proximity and from 30,000 feet, and effectiveness of the system in place among several other criteria and objectives.
A digital system is not a nice to have in these situations, the auditor needs a collaborative audit module tool that allows planning and executing audits, document results, define checklist templates with common questions, then inherit these checklists in the audit record to start the auditing journey; assign CAPAs and Recommendations and once done with the audit, generate a summary immediately to communicate it in a seamless manner during the audit closing meeting.
The auditee on the other hand, needs a system that allows retrieving documents from all over within seconds and minutes, integrated real time analytics to present data and other information using visual charts and dashboards, a single source of truth that has all needed information instead of scatter printed, copied, or scanned records that are hard to read, follow, and probably with no revision controls. Cloudtheapp compliance solutions ensure that your team has the right tools for both the auditors and auditee.