A digital future for auditing

What could we achieve if we truly embraced digitisation in our community? Technology has always been a great enabler for our community. Not just helping us connect and collaborate, but also driving innovation and modernisation in our sector.

Roland van der Post

While sometimes we adopt new ways of working at our own pace, I remember being impressed by how quickly our community embraced the tech at our fingertips during the pandemic. And I think of how much more disruptive it might have been if we had not – in auditing alone, not only would physical audits have put our community at risk, but the delays and practical limitations could have compromised feed safety.

Digital and hybrid audits proved their value, and emphasised again that there is a world of possibilities for how tech can improve our work.

We are exploring this further.

The benefit of digital audits

Many companies now are looking at how the next step in technology – developments like blockchain, machine-learning, or artificial intelligence – can be applied to their daily work. The potential applications in regulation and auditing are intriguing, because they may greatly enhance both how companies operate, and how audits are conducted.

Audits today are still often manual and time-consuming. It means that auditors only get to review a sample of a company’s paperwork and records once a year. Certification Bodies intimately understand the limitations of this approach, and are among the companies searching for ways to automate these processes to add more value.

If the paperwork part of the audit is digitised, then with the support of AI you could review not just a sample, but everything. And not just once a year, but in an ongoing way. That would give companies valuable operations data, provide greater reassurance to customers, and make audits more efficient and effective – both in terms of audit quality, and cost.

Applying innovation

So what could this look like?

One possible future is where a digital supplier creates a system for Certification Bodies to use, that meets GMP+ requirenent and provides a platform for companies and CBs to seamlessly and continuously upload and audit the necessary paperwork. It could even be, through updates to the GMP+ Feed Certification scheme, that using the system means that you meet our requirements, and can therefore sell into the chain.

That kind of future may not be too distant. There are many companies and CBs actively looking at tools and solutions to improve their efficiencies, but in isolation. We are interested in exploring their application further, and together.

Embracing the challenge

We are coming to this topic from a particular perspective. We want to encourage our community to embrace new technologies that enable safe and sustainable feed, and be challenged by new ways of working.

And we will need to experiment. We know that any real world application would need to be tested and improved before being implemented more widely. We are very keen to establish trials with CBs and technology partners to see what can be achieved.

We have seen our community make the most of digital innovations when the moment required it. I think we have the opportunity here instead to take a proactive leap, and make a step change in how we facilitate safety and sustainability in our industry. If you are interested, I hope you will get in touch.