Review of product requirements in an ISO9001:2000 Quality Management System

The ISO9001:2000 quality standard says that you must review product requirements prior to your organization commiting to supply the product to your customer. Different companies handle this in wildly different ways, it all depends on what kind of company you are, and what your product is.

For some companies this is easy. You get a request for quote (RFQ) from your customer, which specifies their requirements. You prepare a bid or tender that states what you will supply. Your bid can simply reiterate your customer’s requirements, or you can state you own product specifications and how they might be different from your customer’s RFQ. Either way, you’ve got to let them know what you intend to supply.

Or it might be a lot more simple. If your organization sells consumer products such as, let’s say motorcycle brake levers, then life is a little easier. You make your product specifications known to your customers by way of advertising, catalogs, web sites, etc. Its a standard, well known product that is the same for every customer. The customer merely lets you know the part number they want to order.

Even in a case like the above mentioned brake lever company, you want to have procedures in place to make sure your sales people get the customer requirements right. Since many orders are placed verbally over the phone, you’ve got a couple of options to consider.

You could require all your customers to fax or email a copy of their PO to you. Of course, you would not be able to ship their order until they do so, as you’d need a confirming copy of their order on file. This is not practical for many companies.

Another thing you might consider is having your sales people follow a procedure to confirm the customer’s verbal order. You could require your people to repeat the complete order to the customer as confirmation. And as a record of this this confirmation you can have the salesperson sign the sales order. Maybe you could include some verbage on the sales order form that states “confirmed entire order with customer”, with the salesperson’s signature next to it. This way you are holding the salesperson responsible for making sure the order is correct. If problems arise due to alleged “communication errors”, you should be able to narrow down the problem to one person in your organization, and take appropriate corrective actions.

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One Response to “Review of product requirements in an ISO9001:2000 Quality Management System”

  1. Craig says:

    This post has been included in the 5th edition of the Carnival of Business Analysts which has been published at Better Projects.

    The Carnival is a series of blog posts that collect other qualityblog posts on topics themed around the BABOK knowledge areas. Edition 5 is on Requirements Analysis.

    Read the Carnival of Business Analysts at Better Projects.

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