Audits are an essential part of any business that takes quality control seriously, and your manufacturing process is no exception.
However, many small businesses fail to understand how important it is to do regular audits on their suppliers and manufacturers, which could result in big problems in the long run for both them and their customers.
Here’s why you should institute regular factory and supplier audits as soon as possible.
Save Time and Money
Third-party certifications, such as ISO 13485 or SA8000, are a great way to validate that your manufacturer is providing you with safe products.
If you’re about to start production with a new supplier, visit them in person before you agree to any long-term deal.
Conducting a factory audit may cost several thousand dollars but can save tens of thousands in potential liability down the road.
While factory audits may cost you more in terms of time and money, they can help improve quality.
Investing in an independent third-party audit from groups like SA8000 or ISO 13485 can greatly increase your products’ quality, speed up production and even drive down costs.
Know Who You Are Dealing With
The right partner can streamline a lot of pain-points in manufacturing or supply chain. The wrong one can do major damage to your reputation.
It’s critical to conduct SA8000 or ISO 13485 audits—and know how your suppliers, agents, and factories operate—before committing to any long-term business relationships.
The SA8000 certification, which was developed by Social Accountability International (SAI), is a code of conduct that makes sure workers aren’t treated unfairly.
It’s also a great standard to look for when buying products—companies that want to sell their goods through mainstream retail channels will often buy from manufacturers who have been certified under SA8000 or another international standard like ISO 13485.
Understand Local Trade Laws
Your SA8000 audit will examine your factory’s adherence to standards like ILO 169, a UN protocol addressing workers’ rights in several areas.
The ISO 13485 audit is designed to ensure medical devices conform to ISO quality assurance systems.
Both these laws apply only to factories located within their region of application, so you needn’t worry about your far-flung suppliers or even manufacturers; they have their own inspection and certification requirements.
Get Better Prices
Good manufacturing practices (GMP) audits and ISO 9001 certifications cost money. However, being audited is cheaper than paying penalties for non-compliance down the road.
By seeking out reputable auditors now, you’ll be able to avoid huge headaches later on—and get better prices with future suppliers.
Eliminate Inefficiencies in the Supply Chain
One of the main reasons for conducting a factory audit is to ensure you’re paying an acceptable price to your supplier. Prices can vary widely depending on quality and efficiency, so keeping tabs on that is crucial to running your business well.
A SA8000 or ISO 13485 audit will allow you to evaluate suppliers’ compliance with industry-wide standards, bringing all production into line with global norms, which ultimately reduces inefficiencies in your supply chain while helping you manage costs effectively.
Final wrap up
At first glance, factory audits may seem like a frivolous cost that could be avoided. However, these audits allow you to get an impartial outside opinion about your supplier’s compliance to ethical manufacturing standards.
A quality SA8000 audit can help guarantee that your product is being made in safe conditions. Also, knowing who you are purchasing from and where your materials come from goes a long way in helping build positive relationships with local communities and business partners.
Finally, if someone else buys from your suppliers before you do—you might not be getting what you expect! Even large corporations deal with cases of counterfeit products being sold as genuine goods by unscrupulous producers abroad.
To learn more about how a factory audit can work to help your business, contact us today.