As a certification body, Brand Compliance conducts audits at numerous organizations. These audits must be planned by our Planning Department accurately and correctly. For example, set deadlines must be met within a certification cycle.

To conduct a specific audit, an auditor with the necessary competences must be scheduled. Sometimes, even a team of auditors needs to be assembled.

20230413 Brandcompliance 207 web 1Our team of Customer and Project Coordinators (CPC) ensures that the multi-faceted planning process runs like clockwork. How do they keep everything running smoothly?

Read the interview below for an insight into the work of our Planning Department!

What does the work start with in the morning?

The first thing we do is to check what written requests and questions were received the night before. We rank these according to urgency. If necessary, we deal with them immediately. Afterwards, we often discuss ongoing issues as a team and exchange information.

Then it is time to update the task list and follow up on ongoing projects. The rest of the day often depends on both internal and external questions and requirements. This involves regular internal consultations.

During office hours, we also speak to clients on the phone or have online appointments to discuss project matters. We are our clients’ point of contact and are also the link between colleagues, auditors, clients, consultants, etc.

How much contact with clients is there on a daily basis?

This varies from day to day. Sometimes the phone is red hot. We manage the first-line telephony within Brand Compliance. We also process incoming e-mails on a daily basis. By far most client contact is by e-mail. The number of e-mails per day can reach 50.

What kind of questions do clients ask?

Clients contact our department with the following examples, among others:

  • When the audit can be planned;
  • Moving the scheduled audit. From this, often questions arise related to the contract;
  • Questions about invoicing;
  • Scope change and its impact;
  • Change of the address and its impact.

How is the match made between the audit team and the client?

When we schedule our auditors with a client, we look at their competences. Which standard(s) need to be audited and which auditors are competent and available for this purpose. We also try to take the auditor’s travel time to the client into account as much as possible.

Is there anything else to be arranged around planning audits?

If the auditor’s travel time exceeds a certain number of kilometres, an overnight stay can be booked. For audits abroad, consideration can be given to booking a flight, think of audits in Sweden or Switzerland. This is mainly done by the auditor.

What challenges does the Planning Department face?

Fundamentally, getting everything right every day is a challenge. The biggest challenges often arise during the biggest audits. When many people are involved, it can be a challenge to find a suitable time for the audit in all schedules. This also applies to certification processes where a client wants to be tested for multiple standards. Not all colleagues are competent to test every standard. This keeps the planning interesting.

accreditationIt also happens that a client would like to be certified quickly. Then the trick is to find or make room in the schedules to be able to plan the client in the desired period. Another challenge is scheduling days off and holidays for our auditors. We try to take the wishes of both client and colleague into account as much as possible.

In short, to achieve good planning, clear communication between our department, the client and the auditor is crucial. If we know what the client likes and expects, we try to anticipate it.

What is important for optimal planning?

The client often wants a specific period for the start and completion of the audit, we try to meet this. We also take into account wishes for a specific day or specific weeks. In optimal planning, the same auditor performs all audits within a certification cycle.

In addition, an optimally planned audit consists of consecutive days, the auditor has sufficient reporting and preparation time and little travel time. Sometimes we can even plan in such a way that the personality of our auditor fits well with the corporate culture of your organization.

What tasks are performed?

In the project administration, we schedule all audits. We also keep track of auditor agendas.

An overview of other tasks:

  • Answering telephone and e-mail;
  • Informing auditors;
  • Record communication with the client in the system;
  • Booking induction trajectories of new auditors (they first attend audits with fellow auditors, are then assessed and declared competent and then go out on their own);
  • Improve processes;
  • Schedule periodic assessments of auditors (auditors who have been declared competent are reassessed every year);
  • Retrieving data from clients (changes in the past year);
  • Processing client data (e.g. moves, scope changes, etc.).

What are the positive and negative aspects of this work?

The nicest aspects are the interaction with colleagues, the variety this work brings and the contact with clients. Every job does have less fun aspects. Sometimes a challenge can arise with the client, due to different views, and the requirements we have to meet. We then try to inform the client as best we can about the requirements we have to comply with, as we work under accreditation. Fortunately, we can always work it out together.

In conclusion

As you read, the Planning Department has numerous different activities. The CPC staff deal with all sorts of things. They are the hub for everyone.