Progressive globalization, complex legal requirements and increased consumer demands - all these factors have an impact on the production of consumer goods. The logical consequence: products, raw materials and risks in the supply chain must be thoroughly checked, because this is the only way to combat product fraud. The newly developed IFS PIA Benchmark Assessment, which we present below, is ideal for this review.
Product integrity audits are nothing new: private label manufacturers are increasingly subject to these audits, which retail customers use to gain insight into production to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the product. However, the checklists used for these audits are always different. This is now set to change with IFS PIA.
With the IFS Product Integrity Assessment (PIA), IFS has launched a uniform approach. The benchmark assessment aligns product fraud and integrity criteria and can be applied to any manufacturer's product group. The assessment does not only look at the production processes in the factory itself, but also at administrative processes, the supply chain and how the company manages risks related to raw materials. Note: IFS PIA is not a certification standard.
The scope of an IFS PIA audit is always the same: managing product integrity at site x of a company. This includes all processes and data related to the integrity of products produced at the site, even if some processes are performed at other sites of the company or are outsourced. The audit follows a unique approach: the specific fraud and integrity risks are identified by trained auditors even before the on-site audit takes place. In addition, retailers are asked which specific aspects should be included in the IFS PIA audit. In this way, each audit is goal-oriented and customer-specific.
The path to evaluation
- Read IFS PIA program and guideline
- Implement requirements on your own to gain experience
- Self-assessment (recommended to identify gaps)
- Register for audit (email to PIA@ifs-certification.com)
- Sign IFS contract
- Complete questionnaire
- Select certification body with IFS PIA trained auditor, e.g. DQS CFS
- Information is obtained from retail partners
- Assessment date is arranged
- IFS and the assessor prepare the assessment
- Conduct assessment
- Auditor prepares a preliminary report
- Audited company prepares an action plan
- Action plan is submitted to the auditor, who adds the conclusion
- Auditor sends report to IFS
- IFS sends IFS PIA report to audited company and participating retailers
- IFS uploads the confirmation letter on the IFS Database.
The frequency of an IFS PIA audit depends on the product sector. For example, the meat sector is more susceptible to fraud and therefore needs to be audited more frequently than other sectors. The audit cycle varies from 6 months to 3 years.