Qualifying commercial off the shelf (COTS) external suppliers

#1
We are a wood manufacturing organization that is implementing ISO9001:2015.

Most of our products are low risk. Our customers tells us they want a shipment pallet but do not describe the type of material or any details in how to create the pallet. Of course there are no requirements for material traceability or measurement traceability.

We buy standard products from commercial external providers.

Our question is what evidence would the ISO9001:2015 standard expect for the qualification of our commercial external providers?

Our plan is to give purchasing the authority to select external providers and we will not retain and documented evidence of the selection process.

The reason we are implementing ISO9001:2015 is to attract more sophisticated customers and we fully expect to use a formal external provider qualification process and will retain the documented evidence as needed. Currently we do not have any of these customers.

Thank you in advance for your help.
 
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Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#2
Our question is what evidence would the ISO9001:2015 standard expect for the qualification of our commercial external providers?
The standard is intentionally mute on specifics, because each industry & company will have their own requirements for providers.

So, think about what criteria your company uses now to decide who to use as a provider of materials for your manufacturing. E..g., you may want to only deal with top-tier providers, or those within a certain radius, or those that comply with certain requirements of yours, those that are financially healthy, etc. Don't make up new requirements - just formalize the requirements you've been using all along. Then, the evidence you need is whatever is needed to show that the selected providers meet those reqmts.

Likewise, on the re-evaluations of providers, implement criteria that is relevant to you. E.g., they deliver on time, product is good quality, they respond to order change requests in a timely manner, they bill you properly, etc. Whatever it is, use those criteria.

You can refine these criteria over time, so don't feel too restricted by your initial criteria, as long as it makes reasonable sense with respect to the providers you actually use.

Our plan is to give purchasing the authority to select external providers and we will not retain and documented evidence of the selection process.
But...you have to: 8.4.1:"The organization shall retain documented information of these activities and any necessary actions arising from the evaluations."
 

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
As Tagin says, the standard allow for the flexibility to meet the organizations needs.... so i you want to give purchasing the authority of certain items you can do that. Just document that justification in the top level procedure or the supplier selection work instruction or whatever document you have for that process.

I would phrase it something like "for low risk, commercial, off-the-shelf or catalog components purchasing agents have the authority to select the best supplier on a case by case basis. This will generally be based on lead time, price, and/or availability."

You may want to have a matrix that gives examples of components of various risk.
 

tony s

Information Seeker
Trusted Information Resource
#4
Our plan is to give purchasing the authority to select external providers
That's your organization's prerogative, if it wants purchasing to have the full authority to select. In selecting suppliers, I don't think purchasing will just pick any supplier randomly. There must be criteria e.g. cost, type of material, etc. Comparing supplier quotations (thru canvassing) is a good answer to your question "... what evidence would the ISO9001:2015 standard expect for the qualification of our commercial external providers?"
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#5
How about "COTS suppliers must be able to provide material per our specification and to our schedule at an appropriate price" ?

If we can make it any simpler please let me know.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#6
"for low risk, commercial, off-the-shelf or catalog components purchasing agents have the authority to select the best supplier on a case by case basis. This will generally be based on lead time, price, and/or availability."
I would add on the end of this, "...or other criteria" to keep the doors open...
"generally" covers it already..."or other criteria" slams the door on the auditor with a chip on his/her shoulder.
 

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
I would add on the end of this, "...or other criteria" to keep the doors open...
"generally" covers it already..."or other criteria" slams the door on the auditor with a chip on his/her shoulder.
ahh -but you should write for your organization, not for an auditor.
but your point is certainly taken. I've butted heads with many auditors over the years because of phrasing.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#9
but you should write for your organization, not for an auditor
Agreed. I write loopholes where I want loopholes...it benefits my company because I don't have to waste time in audits for silly stuff.
The point is to give freedom to do business, and the phrasing is easy enough.
 

Candi1024

Quite Involved in Discussions
#10
How about "COTS suppliers must be able to provide material per our specification and to our schedule at an appropriate price" ?

If we can make it any simpler please let me know.
I would state that suppliers that provide material or services that are a low risk to the product quality are not required to go through the supplier qualification process. Then ensure there is a process where the risk to product quality is examined prior to adding that supplier. You may also want to add a matrix to help the person responsible for such determination to decide.
 
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