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Friday, June 22, 2012

Auditing Purchasing in ISO 9001:2008 QMS

Purchasing is a general process that every organization carries out and it is that activity of an organization that has an effect on the product the organization produces. Purchasing is a formal process of buying goods and services. The purchasing process can vary from one organization to another, but there are some common key elements. The process usually starts with a demand and ends with the fulfillment of that demand. ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard specifies its requirements for purchasing under clause 7.4, which is sub-divided as under:

7.4.1 – Purchasing process
7.4.2 – Purchasing information
7.4.3 – Verification of purchased product

Auditing purchasing in an organization requires certain objective evidences to look for and in this regard the auditor involved should be well prepared and vigilant in auditing purchasing activities in the organization.

According to the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard, the organization needs to ensure that purchased product conforms to specified purchase requirements. To ascertain whether the organization ensures that purchased product conforms to specified purchase requirements, an auditor should look for relevant evidences. In the beginning, the auditor should ask people involved in the purchasing process:

- How the purchasing process is being carried out in the organization? What is the established process? Whether the organization follows centralized purchasing or individual departments carry out purchases?
- How the purchasing order is given to supplier?
- How the conformity of the purchased product is checked? What are the types and extent of controls applied to the supplier and the purchased product?

It is also required as per ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard to evaluate and select suppliers for which the organization needs to establish criteria for selection, evaluation and re-evaluation of suppliers. It means that the organization should purchase product from its selected suppliers. Selection and ongoing evaluation of suppliers are important activities in an organization. So inquire from people involved in purchasing the established criteria for selection, evaluation and re-evaluation of suppliers and ask for the records showing results of evaluation, and any necessary action arising from such evaluation. The suitability of suppliers plays an integral role in organization’s success. So, obtain evidences that only approved suppliers are used for purchasing.

ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard requires an organization to communicate purchasing information describing appropriate details of the product to be purchased and other requirements including approval of product, procedures, processes, equipment, qualification of the personnel to the supplier. The organization is also required to ensure the adequacy of specified purchased requirements prior to their communication to the supplier. Therefore, ascertain from people involved in purchasing activities:

- How the organization ensures adequacy of specified purchase requirements prior to their communication to the supplier?
- How the organization communicates purchasing information to the supplier?
The auditor should look for the supporting evidences for the above.

As per ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard, it is necessary that the organization must establish and implement the inspection and other activities necessary to ensure that purchased product meets specified purchase requirements. So it for the auditor to ascertain the following:

- What methods have been established to check the product?
- How the established methods used in the organization to check the product?

In case the auditor observes that verification activities are performed at the supplier’s premises, then he should inquire whether such arrangement is mentioned in the purchasing information.

Any observations or nonconformance to the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard should be reported as ‘corrective action request’ (CAR) that will provide an opportunity to the organization to improve its process and implementation.

 Keshav Ram Singhal

How you like the article? Please make your comments. Thanks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is obvious that purchasing demand depends upon the organization's requirement. It is really good to visit this site and found the required information searching for.

PMG India