11 months ago, the business was abuzz with everyone in some way working toward getting everything just right for the food safety / HACCP / Quality System etc audit.
The day dawned a month later and there were nerves and anxiety by many, whilst others simply just came to work as normal. Those in charge or directly involved in the audit were asking themselves and others “is there anything we have missed?”
The good news was that the business either achieved Certification there on the day or with only minor bits and pieces to be done. Some sort of celebration happened and everyone is happy.
Sound familiar doesn’t it? Many of us have been through this process not only once but several times. It is a feeling of great relief.
But what happens a year later, when the auditor comes back to check that everything is going smoothly?
The problem is that many business sweat blood to get ready for the first audit and then drop the intensity after the Certificate has arrived.
Something that most businesses do not realise or budget in, is that getting the Certificate is only the first step in a process which will now continue forever. The initial cost of getting the Certificate, which may include a consultant, is nothing compared to maintaining that Certification.
The way to look at it is that it’s all very well to create a beautiful garden, but it will fall to ruins if it is not maintained – a food safety / HACCP program / Quality System / Environmental System / WH& S Program etc is exactly the same.
Unfortunately it happens many times, the auditor comes back and there are problems everywhere. The main reason is simple, the focus has moved elsewhere in the business. The Certificate is now at risk.
When a business decides to become Certified, it is a commitment which goes for as long as the business functions. The focus can never be lost from that and clever businesses make it a part of everyday operations as they build it into it’s fabric.
The usual reason for the loss of focus is simple – people leave. When the driver of the system / program moves from the business or their usual position, so the focus changes.
The solution is simple but most busineses don’t do it and then they have to go through the rescue of the system / program. When the system / program is created and implemented, a system must be included to ensure that it does not matter who is in what role, the system / program will be maintained and, in fact, grow and improve.
No food safety etc program will survive for long if it revolves around a person rather than managed by a system.
For those businesses with a system, you can hear them say “Audit – anytime, bring it on”. For those who have lost focus, you can hear something like “****”.