Specific ISO requirement to fill in all spaces on a move tag?

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Talking about "what procedures require" is keeping Quality Management in the 20th century. Today's auditors should be asking about what's effective - of management.
Indeed. That’s exactly the type of growing mismatch I talk about between management system standards and the associated conformity assessment practices. Standards are moving away from prescriptive, cast in stone requirements, while auditors are still being taught and promote the notion that auditing is a pure exercise in verifying compliance with requirements.

In the case of the issue being discussed in this thread, the overwhelming majority of organizations have no procedures, documented or otherwise, related to “filling all fields on shop tags”. What they do is perpetuating tribal knowledge. As a XXI century auditor, one should think context, risk and as Andy said, effectiveness.

Context for example, should this shop be in the nuclear industry supply chain, the practice of missing data in fields on the tag would be a MAJOR issue. Apparently they are in the automotive supply chain, where the risks are not as high.

Risks. What are the risks for missing data on the tag? Ask the downstream internal customer at the plant. Is there a potential for the parts to be mishandled if the empty fields in the tag are not filled? Is there any evidence of quality escapes, product returns, low quality yields, etc due to blank fields on the tags? If not, move along to (hopefully) more relevant issues.

Until the conformity assessment practices are synchronized with “new generation” management system standards, Auditorsaurus Rex will create havoc in the swamp.


Involved In Discussions
Thank you everyone. I am confident that I can defend my company's use of the tag in the event such a n/c is brought up. The purpose of the tag as defined in our procedure is 1) "when multiple containers are required, one container is identified with the traveler, and each subsequent container is identified with the work order number at a minimum", and 2) "when mixed quantities of finished goods are stored in the same storage location". In both cases we only need the work order number for identification & traceability, and that is all the tag is meant to accomplish. The procedure does not even specify the use of a tag. If we had no tags we could take a scrap of paper, write the w/o # on it, and be good. The tag just makes it easier. The tag is not meant to provide evidence of conformance to acceptance criteria, that information is on the traveler. The fact that some operators put more information on the tag doesn't bother me either as long as the w/o # "at a minimum" is there. I may not be bulletproof on this, but I don't see how a n/c to the standard can be justified.


Quality Manager
With that approach you should be able to safely make your point to any auditor pushing back. If not I'd make sure we got a different auditor or registrar.


Involved In Discussions
Speaking of not being bulletproof, this just occurred to me. Neither the traveler (work order) or the tag are controlled documents in our system. The work order is discarded at shipping, as are the tags unless they are left with parts going into a storage location. All the information on the work order is retained in our ERP system. Can the auditor argue that either should be a controlled document because their use shows that they are necessary to the effectiveness of the quality system? Their purpose is identification and traceability of product, so that may be a valid argument. On the other hand, all the information on either is generated by, and saved to an electronic system that retains the information as a record. The paper copies are not really necessary to the effectiveness of the quality system, they are just a reference while the parts are being made. Am I on solid ground there?

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