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Service and Support Service Distinction

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by Rob K, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Rob K

    Rob K Member

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    Would anyone have a view on whether a "Support Service" (ie those services that support the sales effort or post sales provision of a product like "product training" or "implementation assistance") should be considered any differently than a standalone Service? Under ISO 9001, is there any distinction made?
     
  2. Parag Kumar

    Parag Kumar New Member

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    In my opinion,


    There can be various support services at different stages of your processes.


    In general, ISO9001:2016 clause 7 - Support, describes the support required to implement a quality management system.


    However, there can be more to it as asked in your query.


    It will be good if you go through your process flow diagram and identify different type of support services required at different stages.


    Such as:


    Support for sales effort may be found from market research, feedback (8.2.1 c), complaints (8.2.1 c), other marketing activities and may be more. The analysis of data (9.1.3) and trends observed from such activities may provide valuable inputs to sales efforts.


    Post sales provisions may include product training (as mentioned in your post), product assistance, maintenance services, repairs etc. These all can be different processes and relate to clause 8.5.5 - post delivery activities. You may provide them as support to your customer. Also you may want to have some support to provide such services e.g. you may outsource repair and maintenance services and then clause 8.4 - Control of externally provided processes, product and services,, will also become relevant.


    Some of my immediate thoughts. I am sure others can add more.
     
  3. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Good day @Rob K ;
    Welcome to the site.
    Good question...

    Let's first consider the requirements of the standard:
    As you read the standard, you will notice that the term "service" is used in concert with "product" (i.e. "...products and services...")
    This is consistent with the term "output" to generically define what an organization contractually provides to a customer.

    Let's now take a look at the ISO definition (as provided by ISO 9000:2015 -- 3.77)...:
    "Output of an organization with at least one activity necessarily performed between the organization and the customer "


    Observation: As you read the notes that accompany the definition stated above, it is easy to infer that the authors were using "service" to describe outputs not associated with a physical product (i.e. a bank, hotel, call center, etc..etc..), however, the actual definition does not make this delineation.

    Summary: Don't get too caught up on whether you are providing a "service" or a "product". They are both part of the "output" that your organization provides to your customer. If you manufacture and deliver a product, then "service" is simply any non physical output that is required by your customer (i.e. on site support if/when there is a non-conformance, warranty actions and support, etc..etc...

    Hope this helps.

    Be well.
     
  4. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Rob:

    The ISO requirements are stated in a manner which provides for a wide scope of implementation. For example, a product may be designed, manufactured, installed and serviced by an organization. All of those activities/processes are covered by statements in the ISO standard. Basically it says carry them out under controlled conditions. Any answer we give is going to be contingent on your QMS scope and what the business wants to offer the market. What is the scope?
     
  5. Rob K

    Rob K Member

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    Thank you very much for the responses. What I take from these is: if a customer is having to pay for an activity, it's a service, and really should be included in the scope of the QMS and subject to the requirements of ISO 9001.

    ISO 9001 Clause 5.1.2c refers to "enhancing customer satisfaction" which can be achieved by offering some services gratuitously. Would the scope of the QMS then need to include the caveat that "it is considered out-of-scope if it is offered to the customer gratuitously"?
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Rob: The scope is a product of understanding the needs and expectations of "interested parties" and so on. It might seem appropriate to provide a service FoC, from the customers' point of view. On the other hand, the stakeholders may not see it that way. Typically, the scope is derived from an understanding of not only what leads to customer satisfaction, but provides a return for the organization. The scope is usually worded to describe the basics, not the "extras". Have you researched any ISO 9001 certification scopes on line?
     
  7. Rob K

    Rob K Member

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    Andy, I didn't know there were ISO 9001 certification scopes available on line to research. I have come across discussions on "Determining the scope of the QMS" but not examples. I'll give that a try.
     
  8. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah if you Google ISO 9001 certificates, there are quite a few examples posted in the "images" results. Typically, a scope states things like:

    Design and manufacture of Widgets

    Distribution of Gold plated widgets

    The manufacture and servicing of widgets

    The Design, Manufacture, Installation, Commissioning and Servicing of really high spec widgets for the aerospace industry.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020 at 12:52 AM
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  9. Rob K

    Rob K Member

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    Andy,
    I have looked at quite a few Certificates and the vast majority do not appear to be adhering to the advice offered by most consultancies when "determining the scope of the QMS", they seem light on information. Does the Certificate only show a precis of a company's "documented scope"?
     
  10. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    The above examples, and many of those which can be viewed on the web are a common way to describe the scope. Are those consultancies making a "mountain of a molehill"? I've encountered those who would make this part of ISO 9001:2015 (section 4) into a far more complex/complicated deal than it really is.
     
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