Do you need a formal purchase order to satisfy ISO9001:2000?

A lot of people think they need a formal purchase order from their customers in order to satisfy the requirements of ISO9001:2000 section 7.2.2.

I do believe its a really good idea to have such a purchase order, but if you’ve had a long lasting relationship with your customers, and have done business for years verbally or by e-mail, there are ways to continue such business while still satisfying the requirements if ISO9001:2000.

Please realize that this, like most every part of ISO9001:2000, is subject to interpretation by your auditor. Most (but not all) auditors I’ve met are reasonable people, and chances are you’ll be able to make your system work to the satisfaction of your auditor, as long as you’ve made a good effort to satisfy ISO’s requirements.

For example, if you’ve always done business with a particular customer verbally, and your customer does not wish to start sending you formal PO’s, I have a couple of recommendations for you. First of all, your customer might be OK with sending you an e-mail PO. As long as the e-mail is identifiable as to who sends it, and contains the pertinent information such as part number, condition, quantity, price, etc, this should suffice. Be sure to write in your quality procedures that e-mail customer purchase orders are acceptable as long as they include the specific information you need.

Let’s say your customer orders only one thing from you, but orders regularly and includes only quantity and price, for example. To work around this, you might draw up a letter that your customer acknowledges with a signature. The letter, a one-time document, could spell out the customer’s requirements for quality, delivery, condition, description, etc. Having such a letter would go a long way toward satisfying an ISO audit when it comes time to look at 7.2.2.

If the customer only wishes to purchase verbally (yes, there are still a few of these people around) you could have your salespeople fill out a sales order form, with a checklist format. The form would include all the pertinent information, and maybe your procedure could state that the salesperson complete the form, read it back to the customer for their confirmation, check all the requirements on the form and sign it. Maybe you could even fax a copy to your customer for good measure.

There are usually ways to make any legitimate and reasonable style of business work with ISO9001:2000. If in doubt, ask your consultant or registrar, they’re usually very helpful in matters where you may be in doubt.

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply