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Should Registrars "police" registrants websites?

Sidney Vianna

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#1
A couple of times in the last month, I was faced with an "ethical" concern. Two separate "small" organizations approached the CB I work for, enquiring for a proposal for AS9100 certification. In their application, both were claiming exclusion of the Design process. They indicated that they assemble product against customer's designs.

As I normally do, I went to check for additional information in their website. To my "surprise", both organizations list vast Engineering and Design capabilities on the web.

When asked about the mismatch, both organizations responded that, we really don't have design capabilities, but the owner thought we would look better in the eye of prospects, if we said we did, in our website. In both cases, I told them that I could not offer a commercial proposal for certification with the design exclusion, as long as they boast to the World they do design, via their website. My competition does not seem to care about that. They got quotes from other CB's.

ISO 17021 paragraph 8.4.3 talks about the "policing" activities a CB must do to prevent misleading information about an organization's scope of certification. But, it can not really be applied here, since the organization is not even certified yet.

Do Covers think that CB's should "police" claims such as this? Not only of their clients, but applicants too?

Opinions welcomed.
 
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Wes Bucey

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#2
A couple of times in the last month, I was faced with an "ethical" concern. Two separate "small" organizations approached the CB I work for, enquiring for a proposal for AS9100 certification. In their application, both were claiming exclusion of the Design process. They indicated that they assemble product against customer's designs.

As I normally do, I went to check for additional information in their website. To my "surprise", both organizations list vast Engineering and Design capabilities on the web.

When asked about the mismatch, both organizations responded that, we really don't have design capabilities, but the owner thought we would look better in the eye of prospects, if we said we did, in our website. In both cases, I told them that I could not offer a commercial proposal for certification with the design exclusion, as long as they boast to the World they do design, via their website. My competition does not seem to care about that. They got quotes from other CB's.

ISO 17021 paragraph 8.4.3 talks about the "policing" activities a CB must do to prevent misleading information about an organization's scope of certification. But, it can not really be applied here, since the organization is not even certified yet.

Do Covers think that CB's should "police" claims such as this? Not only of their clients, but applicants too?

Opinions welcomed.
Without commenting on my own opinion, I wonder what your own bosses had to say on the topic. Did you raise it with them or did you make a unilateral decision to excuse your company from quoting under the conditions proposed by the client?

Was there a compromise available? That is, since the prospective client merely "said" it offered design services, but didn't really do so, could they have had a process documented, but never implemented? It seems to me I recall some steel mills in my past that offered several exotic alloys in their catalog of special services, but upon inquiry, I discovered their position was: "We have the capability and the formulas; we've just never had any customer actually ORDER it, so we haven't made it yet."
 

Sidney Vianna

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#3
Without commenting on my own opinion, I wonder what your own bosses had to say on the topic. Did you raise it with them or did you make a unilateral decision to excuse your company from quoting under the conditions proposed by the client?
That is an internal discussion which must remain "internal".
Was there a compromise available?
This was not an issue of someone claiming "potential" capability, but the fact that they state in no uncertain terms that they provide engineering and design services. So, they are either misleading people via their website or lying to CB's in order to receive a slightly more favorable proposal.​
 
Last edited:

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
Pretty controversial there Sid, and it does present some problems.

I perform a similar activity prior to doing EMS or OHS related visits when I look at company websites and then check out on-line regulatory reports....contrary to popular belief inspections and violations from the EPA and OSHA are not private, they are public information though one has to know how to use the information properly.

The bottom line to this problem is the "Bottom Line" and where to draw the line. Do we turn a blind eye or what?

In the scenario you are providing I guess it would boil down to the certification "Scope" and what goes on the certificate itself. If the "Scope" excludes E-D&D, they are certified excluding E-D&D and they advertise after certification that the process is within the cert there is greater leverage because of the contractural aspect of the relationship. I'm pretty sure yours are fairly similar to ours and everyone else's.

Good subject for a Thread.:yes:
 
#5
I see it as a 'Catch 22' situation. Any CB could have quoted for their business and if the work was won, denied the exclusion, at the stage 1 (with all the attendant wailing and gnashing of teeth). However, it's not going to be a 'pleasant' situation and, from experience, I (for one) wouldn't knowingly want to walk into it.

The issue here, seems (to me) to be the claims folks make about what their businesses do. Even as CB representatives, I think we have to accept that companies will continue make wild claims (hey, this is America!). After they have been registered, then there's a different set of rules to play by, isn't there?

It's just a case of whether you want to walk into a fire storm, or stand back and let a competitor reap what they sow.......
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
A couple of times in the last month, I was faced with an "ethical" concern. Two separate "small" organizations approached the CB I work for, enquiring for a proposal for AS9100 certification. In their application, both were claiming exclusion of the Design process. They indicated that they assemble product against customer's designs.

As I normally do, I went to check for additional information in their website. To my "surprise", both organizations list vast Engineering and Design capabilities on the web.

When asked about the mismatch, both organizations responded that, we really don't have design capabilities, but the owner thought we would look better in the eye of prospects, if we said we did, in our website. In both cases, I told them that I could not offer a commercial proposal for certification with the design exclusion, as long as they boast to the World they do design, via their website. My competition does not seem to care about that. They got quotes from other CB's.

ISO 17021 paragraph 8.4.3 talks about the "policing" activities a CB must do to prevent misleading information about an organization's scope of certification. But, it can not really be applied here, since the organization is not even certified yet.

Do Covers think that CB's should "police" claims such as this? Not only of their clients, but applicants too?

Opinions welcomed.
Sidney,

Is there a law concerning misrepresentation?

Stijloor.
 

Sidney Vianna

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#7
After they have been registered, then there's a different set of rules to play by, isn't there
Yes, but shouldn't we be doing preventive action, instead of waiting until time comes for correction and corrective action?

By using the "don't ask, don't tell" approach, CB's might win the business, but is that ethical? Or "integrity-aggregator"? Shouldn't a CB make sure the relationship is "clean" from the beginning?
 
2

20110108 Request

#9
Two things: One, I would say that a website is customer communication and, as such, should be audited. Second, I recently encountered a web page of a client of mine. It showed the client as providing Lean Management consulting and had their CB's mark on the page. I do their internal audits and I have never encountered this as a product, nor is it part of their registration scope. So, should this be reported to the CB? There is a legal issue here with the misuse of the Mark. When ISO 9001:2000 was drafted, the inclusion of the scope in the Quality Manual was partially intended to enable the monitoring of "scope creep."
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#10
Sidney,

You absolutely did the right thing. If the client's integrity is lacking I'm not surprised that they are shopping for a CB that either didn't check or doesn't care. Either way, they deserve each other. Don't loose any sleep over it.
 
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