How do you as an auditor prepare for an audit? What do you put the main focus on?
AP: Working on an audit starts already before I arrive on site: I contact customers to schedule the audit, book accommodation and take care of the logistics. This is very challenging, especially if I travel abroad to conduct a series of audits which requires cooperation from each customer to ensure timeliness, cost-effectiveness and win-win for all parties.
Let's talk about logistics – how do you normally get to your audit destination, how long is your average travel time and how long was your longest trip?
AP: To get to my onsite audits, the most common means that I use is plane. If there are no flights on that route, alternative means are chosen, like train or coaches. I also drive if the distance is less than 300 km and I did that during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid using public transportation. The average travelling time when visiting domestic customers is around three to five hours. My longest trip was one in which I had a series of back-to-back audits for 10 customers in three countries: the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It took me 32 days to complete it. I always search and compare reviews and choose the best accommodation based on my criteria. Sometimes I have to stay with the producers if an area is too far from the city to be able to return to the hotel before the end of the day.
What do you think are the most important characteristics of an auditor?
AP: For me, the most important characteristic of an auditor is to always be open and willing to learn. This mindset will eventually lead auditors to success. I am committed to submitting as informative audit reports as I can. Although it will take more time, hopefully it will be helpful to the analyst and the next auditors.
If you’d like to read more about Anurat’s audit experiences read the Customer Newsletter September 2022.
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Anurat Patanawiboon is Thai and has been auditing for FLOCERT since 2011. When he's not traveling, he's growing and caring for his plants. Trees and greenery make him feel relaxed. His house is turning into a small forest.