I have a question regarding exclusions from the ISO/TS standards.
The majority of our business is the design and manufacture of enclosure hardware. Recently though, a small portion of our business has become the sole North American Distributor for an Italian company. Their product lines are similar to ours. However, we procure their products and simply resell/distribute to their customers stateside, to Canada and Mexico. We do not have Design or Process Control for these items; they are pass-through product.
Therefore, my question is related to permissible exclusions from the ISO standard. Should we seek exclusions regarding certain clauses of Clause 7 of the standard, for this certain “supplier”, and/or for certain product groups that are sold on their behalf?
Any assistance you could provide would be helpful.
At first, your question seemed relatively uncomplicated and I am inclined to say that you can simply sell or provide the products in question with a disclaimer or something identifying the fact that your company is not the designer/manufacturer of the product. My company occasionally has purchased parts inserted into or added to the products made (like bushings or threaded inserts, etc). We don’t have to add anything to our QMS for those as long as those items meet regulatory and statutory requirements.
However, I should mention, the standards make it clear that exclusions are permissible if “such exclusions do not affect the organization’s ability or responsibility to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”
Therefore, stepping away from the initial ‘simple’ answer, I would say that such exclusions would not be permissible. This is due to the fact that your organization is ultimately responsible for meeting customer requirements. Although you do not design or manufacture that specific product, you provide, and are responsible for what the customer requests.
You are also responsible for seeing to it that the OEM is meeting customer as well as any statutory or regulatory requirements. This would be of particular importance if these are electrical enclosures or intended for hazardous services, such as NEMA 7 (explosion proof enclosures).
Since you already design and manufacture your own products and have the Clause 7 included in your QMS, it would be counterproductive to add more documentation to exclude what you have mentioned. It would be wise to notify customers up-front, in the sales/purchase order process, that the product you are distributing is from a separate company.
Thanks much for this good question.
ASQ Senior Member, CQT, CQI