ISO 9001 Clause 7.4.1, Supplier Control

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Q: My interpretation of  ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems–Requirements regarding supplier control as addressed in clause 7.4.1 Purchasing process is that suppliers who would require evaluation, selection and registry, would be those who supply products (or services) which affect subsequent product realization, or the final product.

Excellent examples for our organization would be vendors providing raw material, tool/dies, surface preparation or calibration services.

I also believe that the “extent of control” exercised by the organization, could, in fact, mean that certain suppliers are not controlled (evaluated, selected and registered), due to their lack of impact on product realization.

Good examples here would be stationery or sanitation supplies.

After conferring with several colleagues, we are all puzzled to see freight companies (UPS, FedEx) included as controlled suppliers and nonconformance reports written for failure to comply with the standard if they are not included on our approved suppliers list.

I understand the standard is written to provide a framework, and not examples, however I find this interpretation to be too broad for the intended purpose.

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ’s Ask the Experts program.  The intent of ISO 9001:2008, clause 7.4.1 is to ensure suppliers are selected based upon their ability to meet the organization’s requirements, which generally include quality and delivery of product or service intended for the customer.

As you mentioned, suppliers of office supplies such as paper, printer toner and etc. are not usually included on an approved suppliers list since they have zero impact on the organization’s ability to meet customer requirements.

However, some registrars may consider trucking firms or delivery services such as UPS and FedEx as suppliers of services that could impact an organization’s  ability to meet requirements, such as on time delivery and the delivery of product in an acceptable condition to the customer.

Most registrars welcome rebuttals from their clients regarding audit findings.  This could be an excellent opportunity for your company state its position to the registrar and to understand their rationale as to why they believe UPS and FedEx must be on the approved suppliers list.

The bottom line is that your registrar determines how its auditors interpret audit criteria such as clause 7.4.1.

If it is decided to add these companies to the approved supplier list, it should be a painless process since your company probably already has an established performance history for them.

I hope this helps!

Bill Aston
ASQ Senior Member
Managing Director of Aston Technical Consulting Services
Kingwood, TX

2 thoughts on “ISO 9001 Clause 7.4.1, Supplier Control”

  1. Hi Juvenal – You still are ‘receiving’ the raw material – so you are likely doing some type of confirmation you have received what the customer supplied you. Remember, just because a customer provides you something does not absolve your responsibility to make a good product / service. You would still fall under purchasing requirements; however parts of that clause would be n/a, not excluded. You still would have to monitor your supplier (in this case it’s your customer) to ensure it does not impact your output.

  2. Hello, Regarding this clause.. we are in process to get ISO certificate, but we have following questions.. our customer provide us the raw material, they provide us all Raw material we just are are doing a manual assembly.. so we are not doing supplier evaluations, selection even we dont have a supplier list.. so, how can i meet the the iso requirement?..

    The iso is requesting for a criteria for selection, evaluation and re-evaluation .. and keep records for the results for that evaluations.. however as i mentioned before our customer is our supplier… how meet this requirement?

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