Suppose you’re wondering how to ensure you are working with trustworthy, competent, and reliable suppliers before merging them into your supply chain.
The answer is to conduct factory audits and achieve factory audit certification.
Examples of such audits include a general factory audit, an apparel factory audit report, and an ISO factory audit.
These provide a detailed picture of your suppliers’ sourcing and operational policies. They also ensure they line up with your company’s brand image and follow any laws applicable to ethical manufacturing.
A straightforward way to ensure your company is compliant is using a factory internal audit checklist.
We’ll give you details of six types of factory audits and why large Australian factories need them to get certified.
Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Audit (C-TPAT)
The purpose of this audit is to improve the security of private companies that have supply chains. This audit also evaluates and enhances your virtual and physical security measures.
If you move goods from Australia and across the US border, you can benefit from acquiring a C-TPAT certification. Some of the benefits include:
- Shorter wait time at the US border
- Enhanced supply chain security
- Increase the integrity of your business partners that you have in your supply chain
- Verification of your business partners’ adherence to compliance issues
When businesses join C-TPAT, they’re considered low risk. As such, they’re less likely to be examined at US borders.
Environmental factory audits help determine if your supplier complies with Australian regulations, preventing any unexpected and preventable negative press or local infringement. Plus, your audit should help you see where improvements and protections are needed.
The benefits include the maintenance of your compliance regulations and international regulations. That way, you have the complete picture of your suppliers’ environmental performance.
An accredited auditor can carry out a highly detailed environmental report. This provides info on your suppliers’ environmental policy and includes analysis of:
- Factory licences
- Safety certificates
- Environmental management systems and documentation
- Handling waste disposal
- Storing chemicals
An ethical audit conducted by an accredited auditor assesses your suppliers’ social accountability. For example, many retailers have statements about their ethical code on their websites. It is also a valuable validation of a company’s Modern Slavery Statement.
Moreover, 81% of Australian consumers wouldn’t buy from a business if they were accused of using unethical suppliers, while 90% of consumers feel strongly about buying from ethical and sustainable companies.
Such an audit checks your suppliers have:
- Reasonable labour practices
- Pays a fair salary
- Safe working conditions
- Child labour
- Enforced labour
- Health and safety
- Working hours
- Discrimination and disciplinary practices
The benefits include:
- Evidence your manufacturer has good working conditions
- Evidence there are no human rights violations.
- Ensures your suppliers are compliant with legal requirements
- Preventing unauthorised subcontracting to unethical factories
- You can present ethical credentials to increase your brand’s image and customer loyalty
An ethical audit may also look at your supplier’s approach to recruitment. For example, you can use a Factory Act audit checklist to ensure employees get structured training and orientation.
Food Supplier Audit
Consumers increasingly want to know where their food comes from, with 84% checking all or most of the time. As a result, food supplier audits measure your suppliers’:
- Food hygiene ratings
- Whether they follow good manufacturing practices
Such an audit will zone in on your suppliers’ food quality and their approach to safety. You can be reassured that your suppliers meet appropriate food hygiene standards. These include your suppliers’ approach to:
- Pest control
- Employee hygiene practices
- Food handling practices
- Sanitation facilities
- Approach to chemical and physical hazards
The benefits include:
- Giving you the info you need to show your customers you’re committed to food safety and quality
- Reassurance to your customers
- Improving efficiency
Lastly, ensure all government regulations and requirements of your destination market are met.
A factory capability and capacity audit (FCCA) determines if suppliers produce products that meet your specifications. It also looks at possible disruptions to the manufacturing process. These can be expensive to prevent once manufacturing begins.
The benefits include:
- Verifying your suppliers’ facilities are up to the job
- Ensuring you and your suppliers’ sourcing policies are in tandem
- Identifying and reducing any risks to ethical, operational and quality standards
- Ensuring suppliers meet agreed worldwide quality management standards via an ISO factory audit.
Last but not least is the structural factory audit. This is designed to ensure that your suppliers’ buildings are safe. Such an audit will include:
- Fire safety checks
- Structural surveys
- Electrical checks
These checks evaluate against structural defects and protect against building collapses and explosions.
The benefits include:
- Safe working conditions so that employees are not in danger or at risk of danger
- Buildings and premises are legally compliant with regulations
- There are no supply chain interruptions
- Reassures consumers your approach to safety is credible
While some of these checks are optional, they’re worth it. A fully accredited and reliable factory audit auditor can help mitigate any risks.
Why do Large Australian Companies Need a General Factory Audit?
Aside from the safety aspects of the factory audits for certifying your products and factories, there are other benefits.
Such factory housekeeping audit checklists are an excellent way of protecting Australian businesses in the long and short term.
They also prove transparency because you’re employing a reliable external third-party auditor to check your suppliers’ adherence to security.
The same goes for:
- Ethical standards
- Legal standards
- Their alignment with your brand standards
Increase Discoverability with Azolla Certified Certifications and Badges
Your business can increase its visibility and discoverability by achieving factory audit certifications.
For example, you can display your certification badge(s) on all your branded materials. This reassures consumers that you take safety and ethical standards seriously.
The certifications and badges prove that your business conducts its due diligence and is committed to the general factory audit process.
Achieve certification status for your products today. For more info, contact us today.