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Filling documents for customers of our customers?

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#1 EssentialFA


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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:09 PM

Good morning everyone,


This is a question and hopefully starts a bit of a discussion because I am not sure what the "norm" is, and I am very curious to see how other QA managers and companies handle this!


Basically, 2 issues here:

- what do you do when customers of your customers send you documents to fill out for their QA department. in the case at hand, a small company who chooses not to purchase directly from us is having us fill out QA questionnaires, send them our certificates, etc. They also have an 11 page document listing everything we, as the "supplier", commit to in terms of quality management. I don't feel comfortable signing it for a few reasons:



#2 EssentialFA


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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:19 PM

curses I wish I could edit this, I hit publish before I was done... and now it won't show in the "unreplied topic" :'(

anyway, I don't feel comfortable signing it because some of their "clauses" we would not be compliant with: there is mention of environmental monitoring of micros by the way of swabs (we don't do that), or the fact that visitors have to wear gowns when coming (we don't do that), or some conditions for shipping to their facility, which we plainly do not handle at all because once again, they are not "our" customer, they are a customer of our customer.

I don't feel like I should have to sign these documents, I think that company made a choice in not dealing directly with us. Am I right? what do you guys do?


second, this is not the first time this is happening but I have customers (direct ones this time), who, after over a year of buying our product (in bulk, not for retail but for use in one of their formulas), suddenly jumps up and down because we are not 3rd party audited and it is a requirement for them... They of course realize this on the eve of their audit and need us to prepare a document that would make up for our lack of certification. is there a typical way to deal with that?


thanks for your help in advance, I am still new at this, and would love to hear from you guys how you would deal with this!

#3 Kelly S

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 10:58 PM

Hey there, as a dairy trader we run into this problem continuously where our customers want our suppliers to complete their questionnaires. As a general rule, we tell our customers that our suppliers won't complete these as they are not their supplier and as a compromise I offer to send them a copy of the questionnaire I had our suppliers complete for us.


On the VERY rare occasion I will ask a supplier to either provide the information I need or ask them to complete it for an extremely important customer but otherwise we don't even talk to them about it.


It might be worth while considering writing up a formal statement saying why you won't complete these questionnaires but to perhaps supply some additional information that your customers may not have e.g. HACCP flow chart of product, MRL levels, etc. We request these from our own suppliers and not only for our own reference, they really come in handy for supplier questionnaires.

“Will this be on the test?" "Yeah, about the test. The test will measure whether you are an informed, engaged, and productive citizen of the world, and it will take place in schools and bars and hospitals and dorm rooms and in places of worship. You will be tested on first dates, in job interviews, while watching football, and while scrolling through your Twitter feed. The test will judge your ability to think about things other than celebrity marriages, whether you’ll be easily persuaded by empty political rhetoric, and whether you’ll be able to place your life and your community in a broader context. The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions, that when taken together, make your life yours. And everything — EVERYTHING — will be on it.”

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#4 Leonie


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Posted 08 September 2016 - 05:28 AM

We tried to include all the relevant food safety answers in the product data sheets and during updates, include (reasonably) new info that was asked by customers since the previous update. Most of the time this is sufficient for clients that understands the reason for getting the info. Maybe the rest are not sure why they asked the info and what to do with it.

#5 Scampi



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Posted 12 September 2016 - 12:29 PM

I would refer my customers customer to their direct supplier and offer nothing else. You are not responsible for controls once product arrives at your customer, and you may be starting down a slippery liability slope once you answer there questions. 

IF your customer isn't satisfied with the information you supply them, they can request clarification/additional information. As a formal raw material purchaser, I can tell you this is standard practice. Is way my responsibility to accurately chart raw material against destinations in the event on of my suppliers had a food safety issue and would then contact the receiver of said materials directly.

I understand in this age of CYA that the first response would be to answer all and any questions, but it is not your responsibility and further more you could inadvertently compromise your actual customer......

Of course, this logic all depends on knowing your product is safe and wholesome when it leaves

Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs

#6 EssentialFA


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Posted 12 September 2016 - 03:53 PM

I understand in this age of CYA that the first response would be to answer all and any questions,

I would have actually thought the opposite, and this is where my instincts were pushing me (i.e. not wanting to make promises to too many people/companies, since part of the it was out of my company's care/responsibility)


In any case, thank you for your answer, it comforts me in what I was thinking initially.

I know QA is all about paperwork, but sometimes I feel like if we were to fill out all paperwork for all customers of customers (of customers... I just ran into this issue last week) I would need to work overtime just for that.

Plus I can't stand the disorganization of some of our customers, who ask us to fill documents 3 times because they sent the wrong ones, or they updated 2 words in the form making it obsolete.


But I digress, maybe I should just start a side thread about "QA pet peeves".


Thanks everyone for your answers!

#7 bzuelch


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Posted 15 September 2016 - 01:58 PM

For what it is worth...Our company started getting 3rd party certified (Food Safety and Quality GMP Audit) several years ago specifically because of the issue you raise. The questionnaires should go to your customer. They then have the choice of coming to you for answers.  We manufacture branded products primarily for distributors. Because we are the product manufacturer our customers do not have most of the information required.


We are now in the process of obtaining SQF certification for the very same reason...to satisfy our customers, and by extension, their customers, requirements.


Leonie (above) hit on an important point. Quite often requests come from people who do not understand what they are asking for. They are simply trying to comply with all the new regulations. Thank you Peanut Corporation of America.

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