Customer Notification of Change Procedure

A

ACIQualityGuy

#1
Recently a perspective customer of ours has requested that we notify them of specific types of changes that we may potentially make. Rather than simply say yes to all of their requests (they are in the pharmaceutical industry, they use the same form for all suppliers, some of which have much more strict requirements than we do) we've decided to create an internal procedure to identify when we will notify our customers (those who request it) of changes. Although we may make special arrangements for big customers, I think having a standard procedure will help reduce the number of special requests we receive(and this will be the best chance we have at doing what we say we do :bonk:).

My goal is to create a system that doesn't rely on anyone to "remember" to tell the customer. I'm planning on working with IT to create a facility where we identify which customers want to be notified of a change and then, based on changes made in our ERP system or ECR/ECO system, an automatic email will be sent to the sales person that describes the change and asks them to contact their customer.

Requirements? What requirements? :lol:
The company I work for is not ISO Certified (though in the next five years we may head that direction). We are a class 2 manufacturer for some OEM's that surprisingly have relatively few requirements. I'm not aware of any requirements that will drive how and when we notify our customers.


Here are my questions (so far):
  • What types of changes do you notify your customers about?
  • How do you manage your change notifications to customers?
  • What means do you use to notify customers?
  • Who is the owner of this process within your company?
  • Does anyone have a procedure that they would allow me to SWIP (steal with intent and purpose! :lol:)
Thanks in advance for your help!
 
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D

DrM2u

#2
What types of changes do you notify your customers about?
What you notify to your customers can be established by a standard you subscribe to (i.e. ISO 9001 or TS 16949), can be specified by your customers (cusomer specific requirements or contractual agreements), and/or can be set by your organization. Usually it is good practice to notify your customer of:
- any organizational changes that could impact how your organization deals with the customer (relocation, restructuring, downsizing, etc)
- any process changes that could impact product's conformance to the established requirements (cost, quality, delivery)
- any other changes that conflict with customer's requirements (i.e. decision to unsubscribe from compliance to a standard like ISO 9001 or TS 16949)
I would not bother the customer with other changes that could/would not impact the customer or the product
How do you manage your change notifications to customers?
You will meet customers that are very diligent about responding to change requests or notifications, and others that will never respond. I suggest that you add in your request/notification a clause that sets a time frame for a response (i.e. 30 days), and that the change is considered approved as submitted if there is no response. However, have documented follow up with your customers to prove that you have made the efforts necessary to obtain a response from them. The person or team responsible to manage the change should complete the whole cycle.
What means do you use to notify customers?!
I suggest any means that can be documented and are efficient for your company: letters, faxes, e-mail, web pages, etc. Make sure that you get documented confirmation from your customer's representative that they have received the notification and, where applicable, that they approve the change.
Who is the owner of this process within your company?
This depends from organization to organization. Some companies have a specific person responsible to so this, usually the customer service or contact person. Other organizations delegate the responsability to a 'change team' or to the person who requested/initiated the change. See what works best for your company.
Does anyone have a procedure that they would allow me to SWIP (steal with intent and purpose!
I suggest searching to the Cove's archives, if no one can provide a procedure here. There are a lot of examples to look at and select from, however taylor the procedure to your organization's specific needs.

I hope that I am not too far off the topic here and that my answers are of some help.
 
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