Control of Price Lists and Marketing Brochures

S

S.Frieda

#1
Price Lists and Marketing Brochures

I would appreciate comments and suggestions regarding the controlling of price lists used by the sales dept to quote customers and the marketing brochures that are sent out to our customers. We currently have a document control procedure where there is one person responsible for controlling documents such as procedures, work instructions, and forms used in our management system. However, I am not sure of the best way to handle price lists used by the sales dept and marketing brochures sent to the customer. I assume these need to be controlled since they are part of the contract review process. It seems that one person controlling all this documentation could get very cumbersome and complicated. Would it be best to have an exclusion for these sales related documents in our procedure and say that these are controlled by the sales dept?
I welcome any suggestions and comments!
 
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D

D.Scott

#2
Hi and welcome to the Cove. I have to disagree on your point about these documents being part of contract review. The actual quote might be but the price list is a dynamic document subject to change with each negotiated contract.

Remember, every document does not have to be controlled. You determine which documents you want controlled, then control them per your procedure.

I don't control the sales department price lists but I do control the quotes as data. I would never even consider controlling their marketing brochures - they are all lies anyway. Advertising, marketing releases and promotional items would seem to me to be in the same boat as a business card.

This is all from a non-expert and is just IMHO. Others may disagree - and we will soon find out.

Dave
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#3
S. and Dave,

What if those "marketing brochures" also contain product specifications? Perhaps they don't in this case, but if they did this would change things a bit, no?
 
S

S.Frieda

#4
Price Lists and Marketing Brochures

Thanks for your quick responses. I don't understand why these would not be considered as part of the contract review process. Please explain. A customer uses price and product information in making his purchasing decision. It seems to me that if this information is not controlled the possibility of problems increases. For example, a customer may be incorrectly quoted from an outdated price list, or changes may have been made to the product which are not reflected in the marketing information the customer has been given.

Our marketing brochures contain product specifications such as dimensions, required air and electrical connections, production capacities etc. Also, we are always constantly improving our products which may involve changes in the specs.

Looking forward to your comments!
 

JodiB

Still plugging along
#5
S.,

We have a high level doc control procedure that covers our procedures and forms. It allows for the existance of other doc control systems employed by departments, and sets out the minimum requirements for these additional doc control systems to ensure that they meet the ISO requirements. Then I asked each department to identify those items that they need to control within their department and ensure that it is documented somewhere how they handle the doc control.

Our commercial and marketing departments utilize the same materials so they came up with a matrix that gives the name of the document (such a vehicle spec for XL19), where it is stored on the network, who is responsible for approving updates, when last updated, the frequency of review/updates (every month, or 3 months,etc.), who is responsible for updating the item, and the uses of the document. There may be another column or two also. This matrix is in essence a procedure. We may have to add some text to make it meet ISO snuff, but it's a clear way to communicate the meat of it.

Our engineering department also has its own deal with doc control of designs, and client communication and industry specifications. They have to define their "what and how and who" and they're working on some very detailed work instructions outlining every bit. To each his own.

I don't see where it is required for us to employ only one system of doc control so this is what works for us.

Hope this helps. I don't carry the credentials the rest of these folks do and my ideas may not be the typical way that things are done. I'm just making it up as I go along and crossing my fingers that we'll pass audit.
 

JodiB

Still plugging along
#6
S.,

I see two factors here; one requires internal doc control, the other requires your customer to ensure currency of the document.

Your sales staff need current price charts to be able to quote the current prices and also to verify specs. Those should have doc control.

Your customer may be placing an order based on the specs and prices he sees in a brochure, and while the current one would be a nice thing for him to have, I would place the burden on that customer's purchasing department to verify prices, specs, and part numbers. We consider the parts catalogs that we get from vendors as a "reference only" - we always verify info at time of order placement.

At time of order placement, the contract review is when your salesperson (with current price list in hand) verifies this information to ensure that there is complete understanding with the customer over what is required and what is being ordered.
 

gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
Communications to customers will be auditable. Many are re-titling Contract Review to Contract Review and Customer Communications.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#8
Lucinda,

Let's say you have catalogs or brochures that contain the specifications for your products, and let's assume hypothetically that your QA inspector (or whomever does your final test) uses these catalogs or brochures to determine what the products' specifications are and compares these spec's. to actual readings for approve/reject decisions. In addition, perhaps your salesperson quotes spec's. to customers using this brochure as the source if his info.

In this case, I would think document control is required to make sure that the inspector and salesperson both have the latest revision of the brochure. There could be 10,000 uncontrolled copies out in the field in customers' hands, but those 2 at least would need formal doc control. Correct?
 
M

M Greenaway

#9
Hi all

I believe such data must be controlled for exactly the reasons stated by the original poster. Regardless of ISO9001 you have clearly identified a potential risk that requires control - and quite rightly.

In a former company we did control all catalogues and price lists, however this 'control' could only feasably be undertaken within the company. So at least we could have confidence that our sales people were working from the latest information. This control was undertaken by the Marketing Department.

In the above situation the catalogues did form part of the contract between the company and the customer, as the customer used these documents to order from. As such (if you want to pin it on an ISO clause) clause 7.2.2 of ISO9001:2000 tells us "Where product requirements are changed, the organisation shall ensure that relevant documents are amended and that relevant personnel are made aware of the changed requirements" - looks to me like a catalogue change falls into this requirement of the standard.

It should be noted however that these catalogues were very 'technical' in nature, describing product dimensions, performance characteristics, etc. Other marketing literature that were merely flyers for new products were not controlled in such a manner.

Thats what we did, it sounds justified and it worked.
 
D

D.Scott

#10
If your brochures are really the spec sheets then you would probably want to control them - when I think of marketing brochures, specs don't necessarily come to mind. Pictures of our new plant and smiling employees promising the best or quickest or most inovative - the kind of stuff you find at any trade show - is what comes to my mind.

The point is still, you have to decide what to control and how you will control it. If you feel these are part of contract review then control them. In our business customers have product info and price lists in many forms. Every one of them states information subject to change. If a customer wants a job done, we quote it based on an agreed price determined by the circumstances of the quote request. If the customer accepts the quote, he sends us the parts. Old brochures, and price lists don't enter the picture.

If in your industry you do things differently, you have to decide the degree to which you need control of these documents. I am only illustrating that even though the documents may relate to a product or service, it may not always be necessary to control them.

Dave
 
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