Clause 8.2.1 Customer communication:
ISO 9001:2015 requires an organisations communications with customers to include information relating to products and services, the handling of enquiries, contracts or orders (including changes,) the obtaining of customer feedback relating to products and services (including complaints,) the handling or controlling of customer property and the establishing (when relevant,) of specific requirements for contingency actions.
Clause 8.2.2 Determining the requirements for products and services:
Organisations are also required to ensure that when determining the requirements for the products and services to be offered to customers, that the requirements are adequately defined, including any applicable statutory and regulatory requirements in addition to any deemed necessary by the organisation itself. The organisation must also ensure it can meet the claims for any products and services it offers.
Clause 8.2.3 Review of the requirements for products and services:
Before committing to supply products and services to a customer, the organisation must ensure that it has the ability to meet the requirements to be offered. IE to review prior:
If customers do not provide a documented statement of their requirements, organisations must confirm them to the customer prior to acceptance. (The standard goes on to note that in some situations, such as internet sales, a formal review is not practical for each order received and so in these instances, the review can cover relevant product information, such as in online catalogues.)
Documented Information must be retained on the results of reviews and on any new requirements received for the products and services.
Clause 8.2.4 Changes
If requirements for products and services change, the organisation is required to ensure that affected documented information is amended, and that relevant persons are made aware of the changes.
The first part of Requirements for products and services is essentially about planning. Note also that the requirements for customer communication appears before the determination and reviewing of requirements, which emphasises the importance of early communications with the customer.
It is not necessarily assumed that all businesses seeks out customer requirements before reviewing and then producing products or services accordingly. The 2015 release of the standard reflects more closely the operating practice for many organisations which have products or services already in place based on market needs, which they then go on to deliver to customers and clients.
Auditors will often focus on customer communication, especially customer complaints and how they are handled as these can be traced as an audit trail through the management system to verify other vital elements are in place and effectively operating. IE Nonconformity and corrective action, Improvements, Management Review and Planning inputs, Customer Focus, Customer Satisfaction, Analysis and Evaluation etc. It is also not unknown for customer orders to be looked at when reviewing production planning for example, and any FOC replacements back tracked to determine if these were a result of an error which may have required some form of corrective action!
As post-delivery activities are expressly mentioned, (e.g. any servicing / warranty requirements), auditors may wish to seek evidence that they have been considered before committing to supply products or services.
Auditors may wish where applicable, to verify that appropriate and timely communication has taken place with the customer regarding the use and care of such property. (May include contractual arrangements for maintenance of tooling / calibration of gauges or the care and return arrangements of re-usable packaging for example.)
Organisations may also be requested to provide objective evidence that any claims made regarding products and services offered to prospective customers via any medium (web sites, catalogues, brochures or email etc.) can be substantiated. This may not be a problem for mature products and services but special car should be exercised for new product or service introductions. (See also articles 8.3.1,2,3,4,5 & 6 Design and development of products and services.)
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David Barker CQP MCQI