To begin the audit process, scope is determined, objectives are set, and the process design is provided by management. Audit tests are then designed to test compliance with the policies that management has implemented. Ideally, these tests are designed statistically so that results can be summarized with a confidence level and precision. In addition, other process testing is conducted as an additional way to determine the processes in place are yielding the results intended. This may include individual temperature samples and product temperature tracking over several days, conditions throughout distribution areas, and so on. As in the assessment, if the results of the compliance testing are not consistent with the process testing results, then further analysis must be done. In some cases, it may be determined the process is operating as intended, but the process is ineffective at controlling product quality.
Assessments and audits are valuable elements of the cold chain management toolkit. The assessment is most effective in gauging the effectiveness of cold chain design, while the audit is the essential component in evaluating how well the management oversight process works.
A great way to learn more about the design and application of cold chain assessments and audits is to attend the Cold Chain Management Assessment and Audit Course, scheduled for April 11-13 at Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain and Logistics Institute. For more information, visit http://ifc.scl.gatech.edu, or contact Carole Bennett at (404) 894-9138 or via e-mail at email@example.com.