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Customer advocacy should be contained in the company business plan


Captain Nice
Staff member
This is from Bill Casti's listserve. I thought it was interesting.


Suzi Maresh wrote:

> I am curious as to how other folks are interpreting and addressing one of
> the new requirements in QS9000, 4.1.2 f), which is,
> Responsibility... shall be defined...for personnnel who..."Represent the
> needs of the customer in internal functions in addressing QS-9000
> requirements ..."
> Any thoughts on how this may be formalized for the policy manual?
> S. Maresh
> smaresh -

Subject: Re: 3rd edition QS clause 4.1.2 f
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 07:01:14 -0400
From: "Dan Indish" -
To: QS9000 Disc List

The documentation of this requirement (Customer advocacy) should be contained in the company business plan, clause 4.1.4.

The QS9000 requires the business plan to be present, controlled, revised and communicated to the organization (all auditable requirements).

Clause 4.1.5 requires documented trend performance. The business plan documentation, clause 4.1.4 second paragraph, should document the communication process of clause 4.1.2 f. This can be further validated by the Customer Satisfaction clause, 4.1.6.

Note the efforts of the Big-3 to enforce Customer advocacy at clause What better reason to make it part of the business plan than to avoid financial loss?

Although it's nice to put in job descriptions, if it's not in the business plan (that is a management priority), it's not going to get attention. Note the employee empowerment NOTE at that clause, also possibly auditable.


Captain Nice
Staff member
This was an interesting response:

Subject: RE: 3rd edition QS clause 4.1.2 f
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 12:13:26 -0400
From: Kevin Yamada
To: QS9000 Disc List

Although, I don't entirely disagree with Dan's approach, i.e.. documenting this in the Business Plan, I do have somewhat of a different take on meeting this requirement. I believe that this should be taken in context of sub element 4.1.2, and that is to assure and/or assign responsibility and authority to personnel so that the examples which are referenced in subclause 4.1.2 f)., don't fall through the cracks. Therefore, any QS-related "internal functions" which may have a direct or indirect impact on the customer should be formally defined and established. This can be accomplished via policies/procedures, responsibility matrices and/or job descriptions. Job descriptions, if used, generally end up being an integral part of the procedure(s) (and therefore auditable) applicable to element 4.18.

The Business Plan (a.k.a., Strategic Plan) is used to document the current and future direction of the company with respect to big picture issues, like the ones listed in 4.1.4, but is not necessarily or typically used to define responsibility or authority as noted above. That being said, I disagree that the Business Plan should be used to "document the communication process" for 4.1.2 f). This should be documented within the applicable procedures. The reference to "communication" in the second paragraph of 4.1.4 relates to letting those personnel who need to know (generally, management types) what the direction of the company is.

IMHO, anything contained in NOTE's are not auditable requirements but are used for guidance only.

Kevin Yamada
Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
2901 Hubbard Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1485
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