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7.5.4 Customer Property
The company shall exercise care with customer property.....
NOTE: 7.5.4 is the equivalent of 4.7 Control of Customer Supplied Product from the 1994 standard.
Who is best to handle this requirement?
This requirement will normally follow the same route as 7.4 (Purchasing Control). The focus is mainly on "Operations Management" in that the responsibility to deal with this issue will fall into the core of the processes that the company uses to manage materials from all sources.
There are 4 Key Components for this requirement...
* Methods of incoming examination and identification.(similar to the old 4.10, 4.8, and 4.12)
* Periodic examination while awaiting use. (4.15)
* Compliance with any contractual requirements (e.g. re-inspection) (4.13)
* Methods of handling and safeguarding materials / supplies. (4.15)
Treat it like it is your own.
This Element of your Quality System will include product (or services) provided to you by your Customer to be incorporated into the products or services that you are providing for that Customer. In fact, you should consider the products or services in the same way you would if your company was purchasing them.
The main difference is that (in the case of product or materials):
1. You will have to take extra care to mark or identify and store them in a way that will prevent them from being used in error.
2. Tell your Customer if / when there is a problem; or, if services are being provided by your Customer that are substandard (e.g. the customer is improperly servicing equipment supplied to you), then a procedure to inform the Customer must be in place.
Note that the standard recognizes that although your company must inspect Customer supplied product, your Customer is still ultimately expected to supply acceptable product to you in the first place.
This element covers situations where your company receives materials (or services) from your customer for incorporation into the product or service. This often includes ‘free issue materials’. The object is to ensure that these items not belonging to the "supplier" are verified and then identified. And that they are protected from damage through effective maintenance, storage and handling.
This Element can be developed and implemented when practical. The timing will depend upon the degree of importance of this type of "supply or material" to the suppliers company.
Upgrading your 1994 System to be 2000 compatible
One requirement is that your company must exercise care with customer property while it is under the company's supervision or being used by the company. This is an enhancement to the ISO 9001:1994 standard. According to ISO 9001:2000, your company must care for all customer supplied product in its possession, not just that which is incorporated into supplies. You may have to expand your procedure for 4.7, Customer Supplied Product to cover all products on hand, such as samples, equipment and even intellectual property such as confidential information.
Another requirement is that the company must ensure identification, verification, storage and maintenance of customer property provided for use or incorporation. The difference from ISO 9001:1994 is that the ISO 9001: 2000 now requires that companies specifically identify customer property. The procedure you had for 4.7, Customer Supplied Product of the old standard will now have to specify or reference the method of identifying customer property.
Another requirement is that any customer property that is lost, damaged or otherwise found to be unsuitable for use must be recorded and reported to the customer. This requirement is identical to the old standard and no changes need to be made for this requirement from your procedure for the old standard.
Recommended Documentation Format
In some companies this practice may not exist; if so, the documentation should note this, and identify that, "...if required documentation and procedures will be developed to ensure that… " so that it can be seen that any situation that does arise will be dealt with in line with the ISO requirements.
Where the practice does exist, the procedure should be developed using a flow chart model. What happens today and how is it controlled. From this gaps can be identified and dealt with, and the required procedures documented.
Key to this procedure, will be the coverage of the four points (A, B, C, D) identified above as well as the actions to be taken if problems are found. Communications with the "owner" is very important.
Potential Auditor Questions
1) Does your company exercise care with customer property while it is under your company's control or being used by the company? How does your company define "care" (what is the level of "care" given to the property)? How does your company ensure this "care" is performed?
2) Does your company identify, verify, protect and maintain customer property provided for use or incorporation into the product? How is this done? Please provide examples for the group.
3) Is occurrence of any customer property that is lost, damaged or otherwise found to be unsuitable for use recorded and reported to the customer? How is this done? Who is responsible for recording and reporting unsuitable customer supplied product in YOUR company?
7.5.5 Preservation of Product
NOTE: There are no new requirements in Preservation of Product from the 1994 version.
This is very similar to the requirements of clause 4.15 - Handling, Storage, Packaging, Preservation and Delivery of the 1994 standard.
Who is best to handle this requirement?
This Clause is usually covered by those closest to materials handling in production facilities, or customer service / administration in service companies.
Within each of the following components consideration should be given to all phases of the movement - such as raw materials or incoming supplies, in process materials or activities, and completed products and services.
* Methods of identification, handling, packaging, and protection of products and partial products and services during internal processing.(4.15.1 through 4.15.6 of old standard)
* Method of storage for product or partial product to ensure conformity. (4.15.3)
* Method to ensure safe delivery of product where needed (4.15.6)
Taking care of the product
This Clause covers the requirements for protection of incoming, in process and finished products and services (which can include up to the time that they are received by the customer).
One effective way to start developing this Clause is to draw a flow chart of how the product or service flows through the company and identify "transit" or "resting" locations during the process. Each of these points will probably have an impact on this Clause - either the way items are moved, stored, protected or otherwise handled.
A physical "walk through" the operation, tracking the flow of the service or the product is also an effective way to map out the items that must be covered.
The type of issues that are addressed here cover items such as:
1. Methods used to move materials (pallets, hand trucks, etc.);
2. Methods used to "group" materials (as above);
3. Methods used to identify transactions in a service business e.g. a client record or transaction file;
4. Methods used to store items (cold storage, controlled environment etc.) also items such as racking used, methods of stacking etc;
5. Methods of protecting items (e.g. packing materials, protective film etc.);
6. Methods related to preservation (e.g. shelf life issues, stock rotation);
7. Shipping methods of materials / products to customers;
8. Incoming shipping and packaging requirements.
The key question to ask is what methods are used (or should be used) to ensure that causes of damage and spoilage are eliminated through effective controls. (And you can be sure it will be asked!)
Timing during implementation
This Clause can be worked on at any point; however physical protection can be dealt with early in the process, and can often bring fast results by avoiding damage.
Upgrading your 1994 System to be 2000 compatible
Point 1 (includes sentence 1 and sentence 2) of the ISO 9001:2000 standard states the company shall ensure that during internal processing and final delivery of product and/or service to the intended destination that the identification, packaging, storage, preservation, and handling do not affect conformity with product and/or service requirements. ISO 9001:2000 has simplified its requirements for handling, storage, packaging, preservation, and delivery from the old standard. The repetition of requirements from the 1994 standard has been removed. For those of you with a service oriented company, service is now specifically covered in the new standard. Service companies will likely have to add process to their procedure for their old 4.15, Handling, Storage, Packaging, Preservation and Delivery.
Point 2 (which is the third sentence) states that the above identification, packaging, storage, preservation, and handling must also apply to parts or components of a product and elements of a service. You will have to handle, store, package, preserve and deliver partial products and services to ensure they do not affect quality. The procedure for 4.15, Handling, Storage, Packaging, Preservation and Delivery will have to be expanded to cover partial products and services to be ISO 9001:2000 compatible.
Potential Audit Questions
1) What methods are used (or should be used) to ensure that causes of damage and spoilage are eliminated through effective controls?
2) How does your product or service flow through your company? Identify "transit" or "resting" locations during the process. Let us know the way items are moved, stored, protected or otherwise handled.
3) How does your company preserve conformity of "partial products" or "constituent parts"? Service companies, how does this apply to you?