Before the Certification Audit
- Follow documented procedures and work instructions
Everyone in your organization should be performing processes following your documented procedures and work instructions, complying with the documented requirements.
- Make improvements to the processes
Many of these procedures may be new to your organization, or have changed significantly during your SQF project. Now that they are actually in use, you will most likely find areas that can be improved. Make improvements using the Corrective Action process and the document revision process.
- Conduct Internal Audits
Schedule internal audits to cover all areas of the organization before your Registration Audit. Train your Internal Auditors. Make sure you schedule at least one internal audit before your registration audit (we recommend 2 or more). Allow time to take corrective action on any findings. A robust and effective internal audit program is one of the best tools to finding and correcting shortcomings in the SQF System before your Certification Audit.
- Hold frequent Management Review meetings
Management Review is another key factor in getting the new FSMS ready for a Certification Audit. Review information from Internal Audits, Corrective Action and results of verification activities. Initiate corrective actions to fix problems and make improvements to the SQF System.
- Keep records
During the Certification Audit, the auditor will be looking for evidence that you are complying with the requirements of SQF Code and of your own SQF Procedures and work instructions. This evidence is in the form of records that you generate as you run your SQF System. Be sure that you are following all of the records requirements that you set up in the system. Run your system for several months before your Certification Audit so there are sufficient records for the auditor to evaluate.
When you choose a Registrar you are starting a relationship that will last at least 3 years, most likely longer. You will want to make a careful decision to lay the groundwork for a smooth and lasting relationship.