What is a Factory Audit?
A factory audit is a standardized process used by quality managers to determine if a supplier or vendor conforms with the required business standards in delivering high quality products and services. Performing regular factory audits involves the evaluation of a supplier’s Quality Management System (QMS), organization, production processes and compliance with safety measures.
This article covers the 3 key elements to assess when conducting a factory audit and helpful resources to complete a comprehensive factory audit.
3 Key Elements to Assess When Conducting a Factory Audit
Factory audits can be used to evaluate your existing providers as well as help you select the best supplier for your business. Here are the three key elements you should focus on when evaluating your suppliers:
A good supplier should deliver your products on time. Evaluating the supplier’s production processes will give you confidence whether they can meet order quantities on time. Examine all workflows during production. Track how much time was spent to finish all products within a given time frame. Assess the efficiency of machines and manufacturing equipment used.
#2 Quality Control
Measuring your supplier’s existing QMS ensures that work quality is on par with set standards. A good QMS should also have effective monitoring procedures to support continuous improvement. Learn how to conduct different forms of quality audits.
#3 Regulatory Compliance
Business requirements and certifications often extend to your suppliers. Supplier non-compliance can put your own business and certifications at risk. There are several certifications you can check to ensure that your supplier not only strive to deliver your products efficiently but also meets regulatory standards (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001).
Choosing the Right Technology When Auditing Factory Suppliers
Paper-based factory audits are time-consuming to complete on site and upon completion require more tedious work back in the office. Quality managers can use mobile technology such as iAuditor to streamline their factory audits. Complete your factory audit on a hand-held device, capture unlimited photos and generate your report while on-site without needing to go back to the office.
Featured Factory Audit Checklist
Comprehensive Factory Audit Checklist
This comprehensive factory audit checklist is used to screen existing or potential factory suppliers. This template can be used by quality and compliance teams to evaluate whether the suppliers meet the required business standards in producing quality products. The template can serve as a guide for the inspector to do the following:
- Provide general information on the factory supplier;
- Evaluate all key areas such as production, quality and compliance;
- Take photo evidence of any risks which need immediate resolution;
- Assign actions to responsible teams and authorized people;
- Determine whether the evaluated supplier can assist your business;
- Complete the audit by signing off.