SCS Certification Process: Audits
SCS certification is an achievement that is important to us and to the industry as a whole. This series takes a look at the steps involved in David H. Fell & Co. gaining SCS certification and breaks them down in layman’s terms.
The RMS Framework outlines a number of policies we must follow to retain SCS Certification for recycled metals. One of those policies outlines that participants, like David H. Fell & Co., must be audited and certified in order to carry RMS claims. This is something that is new to our business; we never had to keep records for an outside agency like this before. We detail some of what goes into managing that side of things here. By managing the standard through keeping good records, adopting new item codes, and keeping everything organized, we’ve been prepared when an audit occurs.
An audit simply involves giving the certifying body all of the information they ask for. The RMS Framework stipulates that “processing or production equipment, sales transactions, shipping records, processes or procedures, or material testing results” are all eligible for review by audit, which is why it is so important for us to keep good records. The whole process takes up to two weeks, depending on how much we go back and forth answering questions about our documentation. It seems like it could be a nerve-racking process, making sure we are both collecting and submitting documents properly, but the more we do this, the more we get used to our new systems and codes.
One of the new systems not mentioned in the previous article is the issuing of affidavits to our vendors. An affidavit is a written affirmation of the truth of some claim. In this case, the affidavit verifies the chain of custody of the material we are buying. Getting a vendor to sign such a document is not as straightforward as it might seem. A vendor might be hesitant to sign off on a new type of document without fully understanding what it is, and both parties want to be absolutely sure that they are not breaking any rules or supplying any incorrect information.
So far, all of these audits have taken place electronically. On-site audits remain a possibility for the future, but so far there has been no need for one as the process only involves documentation review.
Acclimating to these changes was a challenge at first, as we were all learning this new system together. But between our segregation system, item codes, and vendor affidavits, it has become easier over time. There is a process in place for collecting and submitting documents, and after some time it becomes second nature.