Remember it is all about Preparation.
The following 7 steps apply to all BRC Standards.
1. Get a Copy of the Standard
You can order this from the BRC’s website but let us know if you have problems. If you are going for the Food Standard you might want to invest in a copy of their Interpretation Guideline and if you want some lighter reading my book on the subject (see Books) should help.
2. Self Assessment
Once you are have some familiarity with the Standard. Whether you go for a formal pre-audit or not (see Step 3) you must go through a process of self assessment. If you need consultancy help with this we can put you in touch with experienced consultants.
This is your optional step. You can go for a pre-audit which will probably take the form of a gap analysis against the Standard you are using. These can be done by consultants but most Certification Bodies (CBs) will also offer this service (including us). These will usually be slightly briefer than the full audit but will identify issues ranging from physical defficiencies in the factory to documentation issues.
4. Choose a CB
As you are reading this we hope that you are already on the way to chosing us, but you should be aware that you do have a wide choice of CBs in most countries (and of course we will travel to most.) You can check out the CBs available for you at the BRC Directory.
Once you have made a choice, no doubt featuring cost in your discussions, you will be asked to complete an application form and sign a contract for the work to proceed. At this stage you need to be clear about the scope of your audit and this should be discussed with your CB.
6. The Audit
Next comes the audit. Note that the CB is likely to need to see at least 3 months of records and history at your process before they will be able to audit, so bear this in mind when agreeing a date.
As for the audit itself? Should be a breeze if you are well prepared! Remember to have all your documentation easily available.
At the end of the audit, you are likely to have some non conformities. You will be asked to correct these with evidence and (for the Food safety Standard) to carry out a root cause analysis of those issues so that you can plan preventive action. You will have 28 days to do this and you will need to supply documentary evidence of corrective action unless the auditor is returning to site.
Once you have satisfied the CB that all is well, that is it: you will have achieved your certificate.
Every BRC certificate is an achievement, regardless of the grade and demonstrates your commitment to a Standard that is recognised globally.