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  What is a uncontrolled copy

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Author Topic:   What is a uncontrolled copy
Andy Bassett
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Posts: 274
From:Donegal Ireland
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 23 November 2000 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy Bassett   Click Here to Email Andy Bassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see in many companies documents with 'uncontrolled copy' stamped on it.

Which part of the ISO Standard is driving this? Is it not possible to circulate copies of documents as and when required, and simply state in your Documentation Guidelines that all documents have to be presumed to be uncontrolled and that if they want an original they have to go to the either the EDP server if it is a EDP file, or to the Drawing Cupboard if it is for example a hardcopy.

The alternative seems to be to stamp on the offending document 'Uncontrolled Copy', and the result is that theoretically nobody could or should work from such documents.


Andy Bassett

Andy B

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Marc Smith
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Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA

posted 23 November 2000 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The stamp idea is a real 'oldie'. Basically you should identify what is controlled and everything else is 'for reference only'. You don't need to stamp it or such perISO 9001.

So - document control drives it in some companies with old ideas - my opinion. It is important that everyone know what is controlled and why.

This all comes down to people making decisions. For example, most engineering functions have documents of external origin as an issue because significant decisions are based on things like customer prints. Companies which use stamps (or labels, etc.) use them to identify documents upon which 'significant' decisions must not be made. In my implementations I encourage companies to ensure the theory / reasoning is understood (at all levels!) so they don't need stamps or labels. The last client I had which used stamps in this way was back in 1996.

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posted 17 December 2000 08:37 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Depending on the size of the organisation will depend on the best method of controlling documents. For smaller organisations I have seen the controlled copy only stamped and or signed. The uncontrolled copy is not stamped. In larger organisations I have used a barcode system where the controlled copy has a barcode label stuck on the front. The controlled documents are registered and the formal distributions also recorded. Therefore the uncontrolled copies either do not have abarcode label or a photocopy of the label. All staff are aware of whats a feral document and may not be the latest & greatest.

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Posts: 244
Registered: Sep 1999

posted 18 December 2000 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sam   Click Here to Email Sam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"What is a uncontrolled document?"

Level I and II documents submiited to a customer for review.

All documents/drawings/literature that effect the quality of the product during the decision making/verification/validation process are required to be controlled copies.

I see no need for any document/drawing/literature to be stamped,or otherwise identified,as uncontrolled/for reference only. Dispensing of such items causes confusion and endless dicussion about their use.

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Posts: 228
From:New Britain, CT
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 26 December 2000 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
4.5.2 (c) " any obsolete documents retained for legal and or KNOWLEDGE-PRESERVATION purposes are suitably identified" What easier way to identify those documents other than a de-controlled stamp, regardless of what century? This stamp is available at all copiers and is to be used sparingly. As long as you state this practice in your procedure, not to worry. Opinions don't matter.

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Greg Mack
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Posts: 37
From:Sydney, NSW, Australia
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 13 February 2001 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greg Mack   Click Here to Email Greg Mack     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Andy,

A simple definition of an "Uncontrolled Document":

A document that is not maintained or updated. Uncontrolled documents do not have a traceable distribution. Uncontrolled documents should be current at the time of issue and marked appropriately, at least with the words ãuncontrolledä.

I think that should clarify your thoughts on this subject in addition to what the others have mentioned.

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Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 2
From:Godfrey, Illinois
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 26 March 2001 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill@Owens   Click Here to Email Bill@Owens     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently reviewed one of my companies suppliers and their approach to controlled/ uncontrolled documents. His system masters were based electronically using Word documents. Anytime a person printed out anything from the system, there would be a disclaimer at the bottom of the page reading "This document will be considered uncontrolled after 24 hours from (time & date stamp)". The document would print out with a time and date stamp based on the time of print out. Therefore, no need to physically stamp anything. Even if a worker has one of these documents which have been buried in his/her toolbox for 6 months, the auditor would see the time & date stamp and disclaimer and see that it is an uncontrolled document. This supplier was registered with no pre assessment audit and passed with no major non-conformances.


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Alf Gulford
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Posts: 60
From:Portland, OR
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 26 March 2001 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alf Gulford   Click Here to Email Alf Gulford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to add a bit to what Bill says: We use the '24 hour' footer with great success, but we also have occasion to use documents with "Controlled" stamped on them for various reasons. Everyone has been trained that it's only controlled if the stamp is Red. If it's black, as in a photo-copy, it's not controlled, regardless of the stamp.


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barb butrym
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From:South Central Massachusetts

posted 28 March 2001 09:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
what is an uncontrolled doccument?

what ever you say it is in your procedure!!!
Typically/traditionally its one that will not be replaced with a new copy when the rev changes.

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Al Dyer
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Posts: 622
From:Lapeer, MI USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 29 March 2001 06:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I would just like to add that there are different requirements in the various standards/specifications.

As an example, if you are automotive and QS or TS, it is required that the business plan shall be a controlled document which is not a requirement of ISO-9k:1994. I'm not sure about ISO-9k:2000.


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Posts: 28
From:NC, USA
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 30 March 2001 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SteelMaiden     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I so much enjoy hearing how everyone else handles their document control issues. So now I guess I will share one with you. I've never had it fail yet, so maybe it is a keeper?

Any "living" document, business plans, FMEAs PPAP's, Control Plans and the like. Basically any document we could generate and update in a spreadsheet, database or word processor, I have defined in systems as Living Documents. In our quality systems we have stated that these computer files are the only controlled copy, I note in the master lists who or where files are maintained. i.e. the business plans were on the secure drive belonging to the Operations Manager, APQP stuff was saved on a secure network drive accessible only to the core team.

A statement showed that hard copies were not controlled but might be used as reference material as needed. Each person knows how to check the latest revision date to tell if the copy is the most current. This worked for my first ISO 9002:94 system, it worked for my next system which was QS third edition, and now in my current plant, I expect that it will work for ISO 9000-2000.

I have also helped several of our other divisions set up their own quality systems, and those that had computer literate persons on board have used this or variations of it for themselves. The only thing you need to make sure of is that if you go electronic, you need people who are not afraid of computers and some extra time spent in training and setting up secure drive folders for ALL the committees and task groups.

The cool thing about computers is that you can schedule meetings, you can send agendas and minutes, you can document approvals and very seldom print anything out plus, it doesn't take very long before that one person who ALWAYS uses the excuse that they did not know about it figures out he'll/she'll get nailed by the other members of the committee when they all say "Your name was on the e-mail just like the rest of ours." Peer pressure is a very good motivator.

Keep up the good work!

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