Cannon Quality Group sat down this week with Grace Li, Head of Quality at Verily, to talk about Verily’s recent experience in undergoing a surveillance audit by their notified body. While the on-site audit was originally scheduled for April, the developing COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Verily team to ask their Notified Body if an April on-site audit was still feasible, or whether there were backup plans to conduct the audit remotely.
Once the shelter in place order came into effect, the audit was pushed out to May as both the Notified Body and Verily needed time to prepare for the shift to remote.
It was Verily’s first remote audit by their Notified Body, but the Verily team was able to leverage its recent experience with an internal audit performed remotely by Cannon Quality Group just a few weeks prior.
“That was very helpful”, Grace said. “It was like a dry run and allowed us to get organized with our virtual back room activities and audit dynamics. It also shortened our prep time for the Notified Body audit.”
Being an Alphabet company, Verily leveraged Google Meet for video conferencing, while the Notified Body had their own secure, document vault application for document sharing.
Different Notified Bodies and auditors may choose various ways to use conferencing; some choose to stay live a large part of the time, replicating the on-site experience, while others may video conference only periodically throughout the audit days to ask questions or kick off the audit.
“The audit was well-run and, given that we had zero findings, I wouldn’t change much,” Grace said when asked what Verily would do differently next time. “We’re anticipating we might do remote manufacturing audits going forward, with people walking around with cellphone cameras. It would be a new thing for the industry, and we’re talking about it internally.” She added that it’s something their Notified Body is also looking into.
Did the experience change any attitudes about remote auditing? “As a software-based company, we’re used to operating remotely with distributed teams,” Grace said. “But other entities are not as familiar with this approach, so it’s the rest of the industry catching up with technology a bit in that regard.”
Grace sees a lot of remote auditing in the future, driven by the cost savings and technological advancements. “The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to figure out how to do it more effectively and routinely.”
About Us: Cannon Quality Group provides outsourced Quality Management System solutions that are efficient and compliant. Cannon’s number one priority is delivering QMS solutions that make sense for the stage and goals of its clients’ business. Cannon Quality Group’s mission is to be the Change in Quality. www.cannonqualitygroup.com