Inspections and Audits: Ensuring Compliance
Audits are performed by various assurance functions across the Group covering quality, environment, safety, health, risk, technology, application, legal and compliance, branding, IT security, suppliers, and products. The results and subsequent corrective actions of these audits are regularly presented to Group Management. Besides those assurance functions, an independent Corporate Internal Audit function, reporting to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors, validates the effectiveness of internal controls in both legal entity audits and reviews of Group processes and functions.
In total, Sika conducted 135 audits in 2020 which included 44 supplier audits. 2020 was dominated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global restrictions on travel required Sika to introduce a revised audit concept which included desktop and online assessments, virtual site visits, and the on-site use of local experts where possible. This approach will continue until global travel restrictions start to normalize. It allows us to continue to cover business-critical areas and to mitigate immediate business risks. Overall, travel and on-site visit restrictions led to a reduction of on-site audits in all areas (2019: 181 audits). Associated improvements were implemented wherever necessary. To ensure that suppliers also meet the official requirements and labor standards, they are asked to perform self-assessments. In the year under review, all new suppliers were assessed according to the vendor evaluation process. Most of these audits are reviewed by safety, quality, or technology experts. This enhances continuous improvement in collaboration with suppliers, including sustainability aspects.
Being a key supplier in the automotive and industrial sectors, Sika is regularly subjected to external audits. These audits are designed to ensure compliance with international labor standards, and quality, environment, safety, and health requirements.