TL9000 Clause 7.1.C.3 - Interpreting the Disaster Recovery clause

X

xmonteon

#1
Need help. I'm a consultant who specializes in Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery. However, the consultant that my client is using to assist them in TL9000 certification is interpretting the Disaster Recovery section quite oddly. It almost feels like this section is being treated like a smoke and mirrors section. My concern is that I recently spoke to a company that was audited and the questions looked very closely at:

-Suppliers (what backup plans were in place)
-Materials
-ERP System (IT Disaster Recovery)
-Manufacturing ability (in other words if site A disappeared, could site B continue operations and deliver to customers)

Any input from anyone having gone through this type of audit or received auditor training. I'm not comfortable with a broad states such as:

7.1.C.3 Disaster Recovery – The organization shall establish and maintain methods for disaster recovery to ensure the organization’s ability to recreate and service the product throughout its life cycle.

Without having the actual "methods" in place, it seems to expose the company to quite a bit of liability.

Thanks
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
I'm not a TL specialist, and it's obvious there aren't any who visit here regularly because it's really a niche 'market'. However, QS-9000 is very keen on Disaster Recovery so I'll give this a shot.

First one must remember that most companies can only go so far in disaster recovery - plans for or not. If I have a shop that makes wire harnesses and I employ 150 people I may (for example) have a contingency plan for one of my suppliers folding. But how far can and should I go? I may have alturnate suppliers in mind but if I'm not going to place an order with 'alturnate' suppliers I can't ensure they will even take on extra business. Heck - they may be wiped out in the disaster which wiped me out.

The first thing I do is list possible disasters and 'suppose' what I can do in each case with respect to reality. For example, if my plant is destroyed completely in an earthquake or tornado I cannot have a plant set up somewhere else ready and waiting to take over production (remember I'm a small supplier).

So - take the list and address each issue with your intention or actual plan. Some can be real - for example I can have a data backup in San Diego while my plant is in Toledo. I did some work for an insurance company which had 3 geologically distant locations and data redundancy at each. They could sustain a loss of one entire facility (and theoretically 2) and still maintain their business without interruption. They didn't have manufacturing equipment, however so it was really a no brainer.

I can understand your comment about smoke and mirrors but the reality is there is no company which can really have in place a contingency plan for every possible disaster. You listed:

-Suppliers (what backup plans were in place)
-Materials
-ERP System (IT Disaster Recovery)
-Manufacturing ability (in other words if site A disappeared, could site B continue operations and deliver to customers)

I don't see a problem with the first 3 but the 4th would be (to many companies) impossibly expensive unless you're a quite big company. For many companies there simply is no 'Site B'.

I think what I'm saying is 7.1.C.3 gives some leeway to a company to address reality with respect to them. One could go so far as to say by ensuring a print exists and is protected against loss they can "...recreate and service the product throughout its life cycle...".

So - in my example company I make my list and lay out contigency plans for what I can 'control'. I suggest you take a read through http://Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=238 which is a consolidation of several threads from the 'old' forums on contingency plans with respect to QS-9000 for some thoughts.

You end up stating: "...Without having the actual 'methods' in place, it seems to expose the company to quite a bit of liability..." For what a company can realistically control I agree and 7.1.C.3 does not give a company an out as I read it. What 7.1.C.3 does not do is define how or what. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, I'll be happy to 'chat' here.

From what I can tell is you are saying that the company you are dealing with does not want to have defined plans. Is that correct?
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#3
I received this from xmonteon -- I think the 'wrong' link was pressed on the notification e-mail and he sent it to me instead of replying to the thread:
*********************

Thanks for the input. The Company I'm working with is the process, and has been in the process for the last 3 months, of evaluating their current status and developing recovery strategies for a worst case scenario. We figure if we plan for the worst case we'll address other scenarios with no problem. The concern is having it done in time for the TL9000 registration. I agree that a lot of it is left to interpretation. So, we'll do what we can and implement some short-term plans with documented long-term plans, in particular for IT and manufacturing.

thanks again,

XM
 
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