Remote audits: Accreditation and certification in quality management


Prohibition of contact and access restrictions pose challenges for many companies. Currently, on-site assessments are being cancelled due to the pandemic. How can accreditations and certifications be carried out during the crisis?

The Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS) plans to replace accreditations and certifications by remote audits - for example via webcam or telephone conference. But what are the consequences and how to do such an audit? VDMA quality management expert Dr. Frank Bünting reported on this in an online webinar on 11 May 2020.

It became clear that remote audits are changing the way we work. They open up the possibility of remotely auditing sites and people, reducing travel time and costs, reducing the environmental impact associated with audit travel, and adapting audits to different organizational models. As a result, the scope or quality of random samples in the audit process can be increased if they are properly prepared, validated and used. The basis for remote application is the "ISO 19011:2018" and the "Mandatory Document MD 4" of the IAF (International Accrediation Forum), Bünting reported.

On the other hand, it became clear that remote audits increase the demands on the planning of the audit and the qualification of the auditors. Although interactive web-based communication is perfectly normal in this world - so is web-based access to documents. However, they are not always applicable either, so a risk analysis must be carried out in advance to clarify the extent to which an audit can be carried out as a remote audit. Security, confidentiality and privacy must be ensured in any case! That is why companies must examine this possibility very carefully in advance.

The central working group Quality and Management has summarised its experience with remote audits in a field report and has drawn up a risk checklist and tips for carrying out remote audits.

The DAkkS is planning to carry out on-site assessments for initial accreditations and extensions again from 1 July 2020. However, remote assessments will continue to be carried out as a matter of priority.

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The event was offered by VDMA NRW in cooperation with ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is organised by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among each other and along the value chain. Essential parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE).