Useful Tips

How to deal with supplier audit questionnaires intuitively

Supplier audit ssaq easy way

Dealing with supplier audit questionnaires (SSAQ’s) is a time consuming and tedious task but due to its importance in improving traceability and food safety, it cannot be avoided.

I am sure many of us are aware of the process involved in the sending out of supplier self audit questionnaires, you send them all out but only a few are received back in a reasonable time.

Then starts your seemingly never-ending journey of getting each SSAQ returned and even then you have to ensure each is completed with valid information!

As a result, the technical teams at food manufacturers are put under unnecessary but unavoidable strain whilst constantly chasing for missing information from suppliers trying to assess the risk of each.

Here are 5 questions we feel you should consider and ask yourself when working through troublesome outstanding supplier audit questionnaires:

  • Do they not have the information?
  • Have they got something to hide?
  • Are they under-resourced in their technical department?
  • Do they not have a technical department?
  • Do they not know the source of the ingredient supplied?

Based on the above you can now start to classify outstanding SSAQ’s into different levels of risk, allowing you to work through them more intuitively.

For suppliers that are under-resourced or do not have a dedicated technical department, you could provide a shorter SSAQ aimed at getting the most crucial information instead of larger questionnaires that an under-resourced staff member will not even attempt due to the length.

For suppliers that appear to “have something to hide” or are not sure on the source of their ingredients which are leaving blanks in your product traceability should raise a red flag and you should then be reviewing and risk assessing the business you do with them.

There are software solutions available online which can help you simplify and streamline the supplier self audit questionnaire procedure allowing for quicker collection and chasing of information.

Supplier audit right or wrong