AUDITING SERVICES

ASC Consultants provides a variety of value-adding auditing services to our clients. Our consultants are trained lead auditors with the same level of training and expertise as external auditors.

Our auditing packages..

Are you preparing for certification or any other external audit? 

Are you prepared for unannounced external audits?

Regular random internal audits and internal audits before any major external audits are highly recommended. This ensures that your company’s systems are always compliant, effective and adequate.

Internal audits allow the organisation to do a self-check and self-correct before external auditors identify any system deficiencies.

External audits are very costly, and unnecessary repeat external audits should be avoided. The downsides of not passing your external audit are:

  • You will need to pay additional fees for a repeat audit.
  • Loss in revenue due to customers not trusting your product.
  • It can damage the company’s credibility and reputation.

The Benefits of Using an Independent Internal Auditor

It is prudent that the person conducting an internal audit is entirely independent of the process and adequately trained. Independent auditors ensure that the internal audit process is objective and thorough.

Using ASC Consultants to conduct your internal audits will save costs and ensure achieving certification or passing any external audits. This can only be accomplished if the organisation takes the internal auditor’s findings seriously and address all non-conformities.

Another excellent auditing service we also provide is being by your side during external audits and the capability to answer questions from external auditors. We have you back all the way!

We provide cost-effective internal auditing services to both big and small organisations. Small companies typically do not have the in-house capacity and staff to prepare for external audits. They can count on us.

We also assist big organisations that may need an independent opinion before an actual third-party audit.

As a fundamental principle, all businesses everywhere, regardless of size or sector, are responsible for respecting human rights, as recognised by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

Importantly, the UNGPs and ETI’s guidance for companies for human rights due diligence framework go beyond simple compliance. They demand that businesses finds out about the risk to human rights by “investing in a more inclusive due diligence approach, i.e., through understanding, prioritising, mitigating and reporting on risk.” 

Ethical audits such as SMETA, SIZA, GRASP, etc., are meant to ensure businesses can determine their level of risk and mitigate the risk of abusing their workers’ rights and by extension, the environment in which the workers live and work.

Ethical audits are designed to dig deep into company records and systems to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the information provided. In most cases, companies do not deliberately infringe on workers‘ rights. However, it is because they do not have enough information and expertise on-site to advise on issues of compliance.

It is also not lost that audits can become a box-ticking exercise if they are driven by the desire to certify a site for sourcing rather than genuinely trying to assess workers’ situation. Time and again, we have heard of audits having little real involvement with workers and the companies that commission them not investing in high-quality follow-ups.

Generally, in the food and beverage industry, they would be Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) audits and ethical audits. FSMS audits generally deal with quantitative, easily measurable data supported by procedures and policies. 

Ethical issues, on the other hand, are more often qualitative or subjective in nature. Several qualitative research techniques make an ethical audit possible. Considering multiple perspectives to gain a big-picture understanding of a company’s commitment to ethics is the key to an ethical audit.

Detecting unethical business practices can be difficult in your own business. It’s especially challenging when your suppliers are trying to hide unethical activity from you.

Standard audits can also miss critical issues such as discrimination against minority groups or management resistance to allowing workers their right to freedom of association. 

If companies manage risk, they need to have confidence in the working conditions of the people who produce the goods they sell. Audits can help with this, but their scope is limited. To meaningfully improve labour standards, audits must be used alongside human rights due diligence.

The benefits of Using an Independent Internal Ethical Auditor

ASC Consultants help with the monitoring of ethical practises in business by conducting ethical audits on suppliers and offering pre-readiness certification audits for standards such as SIZA, SMETA, etc.

  • Work with highly experienced and motivated consultants.
  • Strengthen and protect your brand image and reputation.
  • Manage liability within your global supply chain.
  • Secure long-term relations with customers and suppliers and continued development in the area of social accountability.
  • Secure stakeholders including, investors, customers, regulators, activists, labour unions and the news media.

Do you want to transition from one standard or food safety certification to another? 

ASC Consultants can help. We conduct GAP audits to determine the gaps that need filling before such a transition. We compile a comprehensive report with recommendations.

A GAP audit has tremendous value. It makes the integration and transition from one system to another a lot easier, saves time and is more cost-effective.

International standards require that an organisation sources a product from a reputable supplier.  This means the supplier must have certification recognised by the Standard in place OR via a Supplier audit.

This ensures that the raw material your organisation receives, complies with its own standards and does not compromise the safety, quality and legality of the end product.

ASC Consultants can assist you with compiling the supplier audit checklist and conducting the audit on behalf of your organisation.  This ensures objectivity and certainty.

Our consultants have the necessary experience and skills to audit a wide range of different products.

Our Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audits focus on the implementation of GOOD Manufacturing Practices in a food handling facility. The audit criteria used are the requirements of GFSI recognised schemes, as well as South African legislation, particularly Regulation R638: 2018 (Regulations pertaining to food handling premises). The focus is on two areas:

  • Premises
  • Processes

What We Do During a GMP Audit

The auditor does a facility walkabout looking at the exterior and interior of the food handling facility.

This includes:

  • Building layout.
  • Building location.
  • Material used for the building.
  • Equipment used during normal food handling processes.
  • Environmental factors (around the facility) that could affect the food being processed.

Once non-conformances have been identified, a report proposing recommendations will be compiled in the order of importance.

Benefits of a GMP Audit

  • Compliance with the pre-requisite requirements before certification.
  • Meet regulatory and statutory requirements, for example, Municipal by-laws.
  • Save costs by having experienced auditors offering advise, in the most cost-effective manner, on any modifications required to comply with regulations and standards.
  • Ensure that the facility produces food in a safe environment.
  • Minimise the chance of food contamination and food safety incidents.

A Hygiene audit (inspection) is a mini audit that focuses specifically on the facility’s cleanliness, especially the food processing and food storage areas, as well as the hygiene practices of staff. Cross-contamination risks are identified and recommendations made.

ASC Consultants’ hygiene audits are interactive and informative. We encourage staff to participate where possible and they will receive valuable advice in return.

We look behind, underneath, inside, on top and anywhere we think dirt might accumulate. Hard to reach places are difficult to clean and become a breeding ground for pests and micro-organisms.

Our Hygiene audits include the following:

  • Cleanliness of the facility, especially the food handling and storage areas.
  • Personal hygiene practices of the staff.
  • Possible presence of pests identified.
  • Cleaning agents and cleaning equipment used.
  • Food contact equipment swabs, hand swabs and drain swaps are regularly taken to determine the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.
  • The required supporting documentation and evidence of the daily monitoring records are in place and completed correctly.