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Is purchasing the ISO standard required for certification?

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by DaQu8, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. DaQu8

    DaQu8 New Member

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    My company is currently working with an external consultant to get ISO 9001:2015 certification. The consultant has been working with us for about 5 months. A couple of us employees have "unofficial" copies of the standard, which were given to us by the consultant. I would say we are well-acquainted with the standard and how it applies to us.

    Anyway, the consultant asked me to buy the ISO standard and to add it to our master list of externally-provided documents. I, however, don't think buying it is necessary. Where in the standard does it say that the organization has to buy it? As long as you follow the standard, I don't see why buying it should be necessary. I guess the obvious objection is "How can you know that you're following the standard if you don't have it?" But my answer to that would be "We hired an external consultant who told us how to apply the standard to our organization, hence we did not have to purchase the standard."
     
  2. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Good day @DaQu8 and welcome to the forum.

    The short answer is, no, there is no specific requirement to "buy" the standard.

    However, your post raises numerous concerns...
    1- "Unofficial" copies of the standard violate copy-write laws.
    2- Copies are less than $200 US. Is that really a prohibitive cost for your organization?
    3- It surprises me that "do we need to buy the standard" would even be a question that is raised. Is the top management in your organization really interested in ensuring they and their teams are familiar with the standard? Is top management in your organization really interested in seeing the benefits of a properly implemented QMS manifested?

    Council:
    Be committed. Procure legitimate copy(ies) of the standard necessary for the appropriate individuals to have frequent access to/be aware of the requirements. If not committed to making the necessary investment(s) with the simplest thing such as purchasing legitimate copy(ies) of the standard, how is the organization going to prepare for the larger commitments that come with proper implementation of an effective QMS?

    Hope this helps.
    Be well.
     
  3. DaQu8

    DaQu8 New Member

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    Thanks for your response!

    The copies were given to us by the consultant; they are given for training purposes. I guess if someone violated copy-write laws it was the consulting firm and not us.
    It's not the amount ($200) that bothers me so much as the idea of unnecessary spending. The consulting period will be 6 months, which has given us enough time to be well-acquainted with the stardard. I don't see why we have to have the official version NOW.
     
  4. yodon

    yodon Active Member

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    I've had ISO auditors demand that the company purchase ALL referenced standards (which would have run into the thousands... and would have been a complete waste of money for a variety of reasons). It was a lively debate and, ultimately, no NC was written. There are some that, as @John C. Abnet points out would seem better to have than not (i.e., 9001).
     
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  5. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Whether or not your consultant told you how to apply the standard, you'll need it for internal audits and as reference for future changes to your system when the consultant is gone. Unless, of course, your going to pay that consultant to come back and do all that. I would suggest the standard would be cheaper than the consultant. Good luck.
     
  6. Qualmx

    Qualmx Well-Known Member

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    Even If it was a consultantĀ“s fault, you are using a prohibited material.
    On the other hand, first off, You decided , I guess for important reasons, to implement a Management system,and want to have all what is related in the correct manner, and if you are spending hundreds or thousands of Dollars, why not
    to spend 200?.
    Remember that in the control of external documents, this standard has to be controlled and it is better to have the purchased document.
    Suppose you are audited by your most important customer and the auditor asks you to show the ISO
    standard, and you show him/her the illegal copy, what is he/she going to say about it?
    Will this negative point could affect your business relationship with this customer?
    Take care of the bills not for the cents.
     
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  7. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome. I hope this isn't funded from your pocket! What's "unnecessary" about it? You'll get several times more back if you do it correctly. It's an asset. The consultant shouldn't have given you copies "for training purposes" - whatever THAT is! You're reading it, aren't you? What you do with it doesn't matter. It's a copyright infringement, whatever way you try to rationalize it. Or, look at it this way... The auditor writes you up for not having a copy. Will it take time to respond to the nc? Yes? How much is that time worth?
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  8. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    The consultant has given you good advice to buy your organization's own copy. Since the ISO 9001 standard has requirements to implement your QMS in accordance/conformity with it (see 4.4.1 and 9.2.1a.2), you will need to demonstrate that to an auditor. An auditor might ask the basis for implementing a particular approach and that basis could be a statement in the standard. You wouldn't want to hand over an "unofficial" copy of the standard to an auditor, if the copy infringes copyright laws. Not to mention that your organization has a "commitment to satisfy applicable requirements" as stated in your quality policy (see 5.2.1c).

    You also mentioned: "As long as you follow the standard, I don't see why buying it should be necessary." Don't forget that the initial page of the standard has a Copyright Protected Document statement.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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