I would be extremely cautious of using the Federal Express example for doing virtual offices. Their certificate is a joke. I have called twelve of their regional offices to find they have no procedures. They do not know what their quality policy is and they do not do customer requested corrective action because they do not know what it is. In addition a call to the corporate office in Memphis resulted in pretty much the same results except when the customer service person who answered was asked about ISO they said that I would have to talk to their sales person if I wanted to get their on line tracking software. When asked a second time the person said they didn't know what I was talking about. When finally directed to the head of the corporate customer service department the lady indicated she knew they were certified and would get a hold of the person who had implemented it to have him call me and send a copy of their certificate. That never occurred.
I sent a request to their registrar for verification that all offices really had been audited and was sent a nice letter indicating they did all of the offices from Memphis and they included a copy of the page out of Federal Expresses book showing they had been registered.
I have asked for corrective action no less than 5 times from Federal Express and still can not get one from anyone in the company. In addition they fail contract review but not notifying the customer when they fail to make a delivery as scheduled.
I continue to be amazed by the fact they continue to pass their audits but then again if the auditors never get out of Memphis I guess they see only what Federal Express wants them to see.
Subject: RE: ISO 9001 Certified Virtual Office
Just as a point of clarification, the Fed-Ex audit approach was an exception to the rule. You are correct in stating that registrars need to follow rules for multi-site sampling. In this unique case, the RAB did approve the unusual approach used by the registrar. The exception was approved due to the unique design of Fed-Ex's systems. It is unlikely that another organization will duplicate these systems. Therefore, we should not expect to see this unique audit approach used for other organizations.
Indeed it was a virtual audit because hundreds of field offices were audited without the auditor physically being there. My agreement of confidentiality does not allow me to share more with you. Unless you fully understand how the Fed-Ex systems is set up, it is difficult to see that conducting a virtual audit is possible. It remains a controversial certification because of the approach used and the fact that it has not yet been used at another organization.