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Exclusion of a branch from the QMS

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by Mehrdad Soltanifar, Jul 16, 2021.

  1. Mehrdad Soltanifar

    Mehrdad Soltanifar Member

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    Hi Guys,

    If you want to exclude a branch (it's just a sales branch and this exclusion doesn't have any significant impact on the organisation's processes) from the QMS scope for this year only, how do you phrase this exclusion and your justification?

    The reason behind it is that due to the Covid situation, this branch didn't have adequate resources to implement the QMS properly, but will implement it next year.

    And where else should this be addressed? Risks? NCs? Annual objectives?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello! How is your QMS and certificates structured. Is the sales office listed by address?
     
  3. Mehrdad Soltanifar

    Mehrdad Soltanifar Member

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    Hi Andy. This branch is not included in the certification audit scope. Now we need to exclude it from the QMS.
     
  4. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Shouldn't present any real issues, in my experience.
     
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  5. Mehrdad Soltanifar

    Mehrdad Soltanifar Member

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    I do agree. But the auditor's AOC for stage 1 was that the organisation has not effectively determined the scope of their management system.
    And since he's a friend of mine, I don't want to argue. How would you phrase this exclusion?
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't argue with him. You appeal the issue to the CB. It's not his choice. Plus, if he's a friend, then you should advise the CB of a potential conflict of interest.
     
  7. Mehrdad Soltanifar

    Mehrdad Soltanifar Member

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    Well, not that kind of friend. "Professional friend" as we have been audited by him on many occasions. And in regards to updating the scope, although, I think it's not necessary, one might consider it necessary as clause 4.3 is open to interpretation on this matter.
    Anyway, I'd like to change the scope and address this issue. Do you have any recommendations on how to write it?
     
  8. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    If this branch is just one of the Sales branches of your organization, I don't think you have to reflect that in the scope of the QMS as per the requirements of clause 4.3. If your organization was certified before without mentioning the branches of Sales in the scope of the QMS, then there's no need to mention the exclusion of this particular branch. However, if the branches of Sales are indicated in the scope of certification in the certificate document, then you will need to inform your CB. This will also affect the audit scope in the planning documents of your CB.

    You may find this link useful in understanding about these different types of scopes.
     
  9. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Only by the organization. It's not the auditor's job to "interpret".

    What is your scope statement? Tony has made some excellent points as to whether it is currently included by address or other reference. It may not be needed to do anything. Share your scope, please.
     
  10. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    Reading your scope, @Mehrdad Soltanifar could be helpful in providing on-point suggestions.

    That said, I can share what we did for a steel manufacturing facility with a two remote sales locations. Unsure if this approach will still work these days, but sharing experiences is part of what we do here, right? :)

    I do disagree with this perspective of yours:

    We wanted to exclude Sales (both locations) from the scope of our certificate. However, we recognized that Sales played a part in our ability to meet customer requirements - they collected the order specs which were needed by us to ensure we had sufficient (and correct) raw materials, knew where to slot the order into the production schedule, warehousing space (where applicable), and arranging for transportation (as we did not have our own delivery service). To ensure that they provided us with the correct information and in a timely fashion, we designated our Sales' teams as key suppliers and put them on our Approved Vendor List. This subjected them to meeting critical criteria, regular evaluations, and even the occasional internal...ummm, supplier ;)...audit.
     
  11. Mehrdad Soltanifar

    Mehrdad Soltanifar Member

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    Scope statement: Engineering, fabrication, manufacturing, sales of parts ... our QMS covers all workplaces of the company at its manufacturing facilities and offices.

    @tony s This organisation didn't have ISO 9001 certificate before and the above-mentioned sales branch is not included in the scope of certification, but it is included in the QMS scope.

    @RoxaneB It is true and I totally agree. Excluding any part of the organisation will have some impacts. That's why I mentioned it doesn't have a significant impact.

    Sorry fellows, but I still haven't got the answer I was looking for. For several reasons, we want to action auditor's AOC to exclude this branch from our QMS scope. Just want to know how you would phrase this exclusion and justify it (due to the covid situation and the branch will be included in next years certification audit).
     
  12. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Why do you need to have a statement in the QMS scope that justify the exclusion of a Sales office that was not included in the certification scope?
     
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  13. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    To be honest, I've never understood why "sales" is ever included in the scope of a QMS. Everyone sells what they make. Why single it out? No-one includes "maintenance", but everyone does it (more or less). Maybe BECAUSE the sales function is included in the scope it's causing the issue. Lots of organizations have simple scopes about what they do. Design, Manufacture etc. Sales is a given. IMHO I'd delete it.

    Also, I don't understand why the auditor is even commenting. Not their job.
     
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  14. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm curious how COVID-19 has impacted the sales process to the point your organization wishes to exclude it from the scope, whereas the other aspects of the organization still apply. Removing for COVID-19 reasons doesn't strike me as a solid enough "why."
     
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  15. Mehrdad Soltanifar

    Mehrdad Soltanifar Member

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    Due to the Covid situation, this branch has gone into redundancy and didn't have adequate resources (staff and budget) to effectively implement our QMS requirements.
    Would this exclusion also be considered a potential risk to the organisation?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  16. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    By whom?
     
  17. Mehrdad Soltanifar

    Mehrdad Soltanifar Member

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    By us. Exclusion of part of a business may have impacts on effective implementation of the QMS and identification of critical processes, opportunities for improvement, etc.
    But since this branch is only excluded for this year, we are not sure if it should be added to our risks register.
     
  18. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Any Sales organization (if they are truly doing sales activities) is critical to a) customer service and hence, winning business and b) understanding needs and expectations of customers. If, due to circumstances these activities are performed elsewhere and the sales office is really just an address (it's not on the certificate as such?), then I see little/no (risk-based) reason to include it in scope (which it shouldn't be anyways). Don't over-analyze the situation. Delete sales from your scope and ensure the processes for sales are being performed at the appropriate location.
     
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  19. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Reading carefully the requirement of the standard concerning the scope of the QMS, it says: "The scope shall state the types of products and services covered, and provide justification for any requirement of this International Standard that the organization determines is not applicable to the scope of its quality management system". It is very clear that statement of non-applicability and any justification only pertains to requirements of the standard that are not applicable. The standard does not require organizations to mention the offices covered.

    Offices are only mentioned in the scope of certification in the certificate document. CBs need to be clear on this because it will affect their audit scope and the fees they have to charge to their clients. CBs and organizations should not trouble themselves to expect offices to be audited are mentioned in the scope of the QMS as intended by clause 4.3 of the standard.
     

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