Let us set the stage: Your processing equipment finished up at midnight and the CIP (clean-in-place) system turns on. There's a power outage, and somehow CIP solution gets into a vat without your sanitation crew's knowledge. The Quality Assurance (QA) team takes a sample from the vat 3 hours later and realizes that the pH is too high. Documenting that something is off about it, they go to the shift supervisor and stop the production line from running the product before it starts. It was a tough choice, but they had to do it to keep product from being sold out of specification.
Your QA team is your life blood. They are the team that helps you sleep at night and they are your eyes and ears and first line of defense. They are a police and an army all wrapped into one entity. The QA team is the reason that your customers know they can trust you. And through audits, a client can see right to the core if you support them.
How can a client see through those audits? Here are several ways a consultant or client can read the reports and determine how well your team is supported:
- Basic Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are not followed by leadership. An audit will write this up as they see it, but the example comes from top down.
- The auditor finds that mock recall exercises are always done, but it's noticed that it was complete a week prior to the scheduled audit.
- There are multiple mentions throughout the audit report regarding the condition of the facility and that the same findings were mentioned on internal audits.
- The HACCP plan was written by one person and there are no other people involved in the hazard analysis.
- High turnover rate with QA employees and a new QA manager.
Note - this list isn't always indicative of a problem with a company, but it might indicate that there are underlying issues when the combination is written in an audit report.
A good audit report and a satisfied customer are not the only reasons to support your QA team either. If you treat your QA team well, they will protect you from many things. Empower them to make decisions and they will confidentally support you on all of your growth goals.