ISO9001 and the Post Delivery Activities
ISO9001:2015 clause 8.5.5 – Post Delivery Activities is as the name suggests, all about how you support your customers after they get their hands on your products or services. Before going too much further just pause for a second and think about the time when you have bought say a car or a new cell phone and you wanted to follow up support for it, how did it make you feel, was it easy to get, did it meet your expectations?While this is an ISO9001 clause it's also a great chance for your business to really consider the whole customer experience and how you will support them, how you want that to reflect on your brand and future relationships with your customers.
The standard has a requirement for the organisation to make a conscious decision about what the post-delivery activities required will be and gives a number of areas to think about:
Statutory & Regulatory Requirements
So this is about what, under the industry practices, legal requirements or contractual requirements what post delivery requirements must you meet. How long will your warranty last, what will it cover, how will people get in touch with you and how will return your product if needed for service or repair or replacement. What are ways you will help them? Are there legal requirements for recycling your product or the packaging, are there requirements to minimise your packaging?
Potential Undesirable Consequences
What are the things that could go wrong with your product or service that would be undesirable or (worse!) for your customers or users of your product. If you found one could you recall things if you need too, how would you rectify the issues?
The Nature, Use and Intended Lifetime Of Its Products
This may be something you cover in a warranty statement, but you should obviously cover it as part of your design review processes that we have discussed in previous posts about the ISO9001:2015 requirements around design. How long do you reasonably expect the product to last, is it 1 year 5 years, 15 years? How long do you need to be able to supply spares and knowledge to repair the product? I'm reminded of a clause I saw on a plastic protective case where it was claimed the warranty covered all uses except by grizzly bears and children under 5!
It's not unusual for a customer of a product to expect or stipulate a contractual requirement for the product to last x amount of time, be serviceable for X number of years, that or you to carry spares. Before you sign on the line to supply the product you need to ensure that you will be able to deliver to these requirements. Do they have recycling requires out with any statutory requirements?
Getting customer feedback is a key part of your continuous improvement program so you should do it anyway if you really want to understand what the customer thinks of you and what their needs are. However, this is a requirement to at least consider doing it under this clause, it says you should consider it, it doesn't say you must do it but lets face it, your going to do it aren't you? it doesn't have to be a 74 page survey, a few questions or scores or even a smilie or sad face may be enough for what you want but you need to think careful about the feedback you want and how you intend to use it to ensure that you ask the right questions.
Even if you aren't trying to obtain ISO9001:2015, following through on Clause 8.5.5 – Post Delivery Activities is just good business sense. Why wouldn't you want to know how your customers feel about you? Why wouldn't you want to be clear about how your product meets the requirements of regulations or industry guidelines? Surely you want to know what stock you must keep in spares to understand the financial liability or know what it will take to provide warranty or on-going maintenance and so know what skills you'll need in the organisation? Working through this clause gives you the answers you need to do this and it's not going to take long to do it if you really want to figure it out.
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