Branch Sales Office Not Certified - Qualified for Review of 7.2?



We manufacture product at our location and are currently ISO 9002:1994 registered. We are aiming to be ISO 9001:2000 registered by March 2003.

Besides our main sales department, located here on site, we have two branch sales offices in two other cities serving their own areas. Each sales office (main and branch) reviews and accepts its own orders.

Our system allows access to all necessary information for 7.2 requirements. The branch offices operate exactly as the main office does. They are just physically located elsewhere. All communication with the customer is done through their respective sales office.

However, the branch offices are not part of our certification and top management does not want to include them.

Does anyone foresee a problem with this arrangement from the auditor's point of view and if so, I would appreciate some advice on how it can be handled other than having the branch offices certified.

Manoj Mathur

Quite Involved in Discussions
If branch offices are performing as the same way and as per system laid by Main office certifying to 7.2. I don't think so there would be any problem for objective evidences.

Paul Simpson

Trusted Information Resource
Two things to think about

Let me start by saying that I don't undestand why your top management are reluctant to have the branch offices certified.

First thing. Are the branch offices part of the system? If they're not then what are they doing? If they are part of the business processes then they need to be included.

Secondly. If they're part of the process then they need to be part of the monitoring and measuring, hence reporting back to base against the process measures as they apply to them. Also they should be part of the internal audit programme - more air miles!

Now to the certification. I presume the issue with 3rd party audit is cost of another day on site, if it is simply you don't have confidence in the work they are doing then forget what follows and go back to 1 and 2 above. If the 3rd party audit can cover the scope of what they do at branch at the audit of the main site then there may be no need for the auditor to go to the branch. If all the records come through to the head office and there are training records on site then maybe they don't need to host an audit. I have known of many assessments where the audit trail can be covered remotely. Don't let them push you into another couple of days unless there are valid reasons. Good luck.
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