THE coronavirus pandemic and the necessity of social distancing have forced many companies to think creatively about how they conduct business.
With Bunting due for audits for a 3-year re-accredited certification for Quality (ISO9001), Environment (ISO14001) and Health & Safety (ISO45001) at their Berkhamsted plant and recertification for Quality and new certification for Environment and Health & Safety at Redditch, Denis Elkins, Bunting’s Quality and Health & Safety Manager, adopted a digital approach.
“The present state of uncertainty meant we had no idea when we would be able to conduct an audit onsite at either facility,” explained Denis. “Thankfully, we continuously work hard on improving our working methodology and this means we are ready for auditing at any time, even remotely.”
Global certification body NQA conducted the remote audits of the Berkhamsted facility over four days, with another two days taken for Redditch.
The audits at Berkhamsted and Redditch facilities took place on two separate occasions between April and May 2020, with Denis co-ordinating both audits from his home near Macclesfield. Most people involved were operating remotely from home, with only limited personnel on site working within strict social distancing guidelines.
Supporting evidence of process performance was supplied using photographs and emailed documents. This included photographs taken on-site during the audit (e.g. of onsite fire extinguishers), copies of purchases orders, and updated production performance data.
NQA also referred to recent press releases and blogs that commented on the company’s performance and the ongoing extension work at Bunting’s Redditch plant. A recently produced video provided a virtual tour of the Redditch facility.
This was the strangest audit I have ever been part of,” said Denis, “but we simply adapted to the situation. We hope that this positive business news, in these difficult times, will inspire others to adopt creative and novel methods to continue functioning in whatever way they can.”
After the two separate audits, Bunting achieved certification for all three standards on both the Redditch and Berkhamsted manufacturing sites – Quality (ISO9001), Environment (ISO14001), and Health and Safety (ISO45001). Both sites are now certified under a multi-site registration. At Berkhamsted, the four-day audit concluded with Bunting receiving zero non-conformities.
“Our external auditors, NQA, have been fantastic,” said Simon Ayling, Bunting’s European Managing Director. “They adapted the audit to our present [lockdown] situation, without any compromise. I also want to thank and congratulate everyone at both the Berkhamsted and Redditch plants. This was very much a team effort.”
The latest approvals at Redditch mean that all of Bunting’s UK manufacturing plants are now held under a multi-site registration.