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Old 23rd October 2007, 03:06 PM
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Please Help! Objective Evidence & Verbal Purchase Orders (PO's)

I understand what OE is. I need to understand how it applies to verbal requests for service and PO's. Historically, customers would call on the phone, request service, verbally issue a PO number and we would schedule it, based on the phone call.

Because of ISO, we're documenting more with "Request for Service" forms, compiling all the required info prior to scheduling. Our situation is PO's (if issued) aren't always followed up by hard copy, fax or email from the customer, only the verbal number we record. We also have implemented a new policy that payment must be secured before service can be scheduled.

Question...do we need hard/digital document from customer stating PO # with service info as OE that they did agree to service and payment? This also reflects on "contract review".

Can a maintenance form we complete at the end of service, that is signed off by the customer and containing the PO reference suffice as OE?

Will email response from customer stating PO number suffice as OE?

Can previous customers be "grandfathered" in not having to conform to new process & procedures?

We have specific requirements from customers on how they issue PO's, Ref #'s, etc. that we must follow for them to pay invoices. Some have none as long as the number appears on our support documents we issue them. Some may not issue hard copy PO's at all.

Trying to establish processes that can umbrella all this and still conform to OE is my issue which is "how do I prove that a customer requested service if I don't have documented commitment from them for payment"

Thanks for reading this! There doesn't seem to be an easy answer that I can apply across the board without documenting all the caveats for each customer requirement pre ISO.

Comments welcomed!

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Old 23rd October 2007, 04:22 PM
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Re: Objective Evidence & Verbal PO's

Not knowing how complex your product is...it is hard to tell just how much leeway you can give to a customer with verbal POs. Your biggest concern should be "do I know all the requirements that this customer wants met". If you cannot get the requirements verbally, then by all means you need something in writing. Like I said, it all depends on the complexity of your product, and your documented policies, and also whatever legal requirements you need to follow. A division I used to work for used to accept verbal orders with no follow up confirmation. Then they got caught sending something that wasn't what the customer thought they'd asked for. Big bucks, lots of unhappy people. After that our motto was "verbal orders don't go."

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Old 23rd October 2007, 04:55 PM
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Re: Objective Evidence & Verbal Purchase Orders (PO's)

We do everything we can not to take verbal (phone) orders. We push very hard for fax or email.
But sometimes we have to, in which case we have a form that the customer service people fill out.
They then turn that data into a sales order and fax a copy of the sales order back to the customer.
If they don't acknowledge the fax and send it back signed then the order gets canceled. The acknowledgement is the OE and is filed as a quality record.

This is mapped out as part of contract review.

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Old 24th October 2007, 10:44 AM
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Re: Objective Evidence & Verbal Purchase Orders (PO's)

Our divisions "product" is the maintaince service we provide to the product we and others manufacture. We also sell parts.

I have been trying to discourage "verbal requests" since we began the path to ISO. A lot of our customers have been doing business like this with us, especially if their accounts payable has no specific requirements for our invoicing, for a long time.

Your responses have given me some great support for what I had planned to document in our procedures. As much as I would like a ridgid "all or nothing" approach for simplicity, we will need to evolve our customers into how we would like them to respond to our requirements.

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