Identifying and Controlling External Documents


Involved In Discussions
Hello All,
I'm struggling w/"external document issuance."
As it stands, our sales people have tendancy to send via email out customer drawing to machine shops who do machining for our customers we build parts for.

I am not even aware of this until after the fact and many times, the machine shop deviates fr. the dwg. and no where is this documented. Or, they send out "redline" dwgs.
The sales ppl. think "external document control" refers to documents/technical coming in opposed to us sending dwgs out.

Do I need to control the drawings going out to these machine shops or is sales right in what they're doing?

Thank you in advance!


Super Moderator
The sales folks are right in the fact that controlled external docs are docs that you receive in that need to be controlled.

What you describe, though, is a clear loss of document control. What you're describing is distribution of uncontrolled drawings. ISO 9001 (and all quality standards) clearly state that document control entails suitability for use where and when needed, distribution and use is controlled, changes are controlled, etc. The practice you describe is clearly missing the mark on these.


Trusted Information Resource
You don't want to control the prints you send out to suppliers. It would be impossible. You send it to them as part of the purchase order and they control it from there.


Trusted Information Resource
You need to meet the customer requirements. As such:
1) You want to maintain control over customer-provided documents that contain those requirements (e.g., drawings).
2) You want to convey the customer requirements properly to your outsourced processes/suppliers (machine shops). So you'd want to control which drawings you send to them. (As Golfman said, you could consider the drawings as part of the PO sent, and that package becomes a record in your system.) If a drawing gets revised, then a revised PO package should be sent over.
3) You want to ensure the product received from those external sources meets the conveyed requirements, e.g., with incoming inspection comparing against the drawings in the current PO package.

It sounds like you definitely need to enforce some document control; hopefully by creating a system that the salespeople don't find onerous. In fact, a good documentation system should help them, by reducing their efforts to constantly try and find things they can't remember where they stored it...or if they stored it! And it helps them to hold the machine shops accountable by having clear records of what they were supposed to be fabricating.
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