Auditing for a safe and sustainable ASSA ABLOY /Global/Press-and-News/News/2012/China-Audit-Feb-2012-524px.jpg As ASSA ABLOY acquires more companies and therefore expands its supplier base, the need for supplier audits increases. The Group insists that suppliers measure up in the key areas of environment, health, safety, business ethics and human rights. It is essential that all existing and new suppliers meet the Group’s high standard. Peak Chang, senior supplier management engineer at division Asia Pacific’s Asia Sourcing office, emphasizes the importance of audits, especially when moving production from high-cost countries to low-cost countries – a growing trend at the moment. “Moving production to low-cost countries means there is increased pressure on performing audits and securing the quality level of our suppliers,” Peak Chang says. “We have a unique opportunity to strengthen our brand, products and market position if we handle our risks properly on the road to becoming a mature world player in terms of sustainability management.” Audits are designed to assess risks within five main areas: environment, health, safety, business ethics and human rights. The process is always the same, regardless of which type of supplier is being audited or which auditor is doing the inspection. “Safety, health and human rights are parts of the operation that we mark most often,” Peak Chang says. “Some companies only focus on business ethics. In their eyes, health and safety don’t affect the customer. But that is not good enough for ASSA ABLOY. All five parts of the audit are equally important.” In 2010 the responsibility for audits was laid on the Group’s five divisions. They are now responsible for their own targets, follow-ups and budgets. “We needed an organization that reflected the requirements and that could bring us closer to the operations,” says Anders Wirsenius, group supplier quality and sustainability manager at ASSA ABLOY. “All five divisions have their own auditors, educated by ASSA ABLOY in our standardized audit process.” Peak Chang notes that audits are not only about controlling suppliers, but a tool to help ASSA ABLOY develop as a company. “Through our audits we can create new business opportunities, learn from our suppliers’ experiences and pick up new knowledge concerning product trends, technology and the external environment,” he says.