Information & current Best Practice.
Supplier Quality Assurance.Every business relies on suppliers to provide products and services, ranging from raw materials, supply of energy, transport, cleaning, legal advise, waste disposal, etc., etc. The success of an organization is directly linked to the quality, reliability, cost, innovation, relationship and long term stability of its suppliers, therefore, it is imperative that suppliers are seen as critical functions within a business and planned, managed and monitored accordingly.
Supplier Quality Assurance encompasses the following key activities:
i) Development of a strategic vision that details the scope and role of suppliers.
ii) Defining a planned approach to supplier quality assurance.
iii) Formalizing supplier risk assessment, risk reduction and risk monitoring.
iv) Implementing a supplier evaluation and rating process.
v) Defining and pursuing supplier “ship to stock” & “ship to line” processes
vi) Having in place an effective and efficient supplier corrective & preventative action process.
With ongoing developments in technology, new materials, improved means of communication, etc., there is a relentless trend towards increasingly complex supply chains. In many instances a supply chain from a raw material through to end customer use, can span multiple organizations, situated in different geographic locations worldwide. While supply chains may continue to expand and broaden, the responsibility on a business to consistently supply quality product remains. Therefore a business must have a robust, highly effective supply management program in place.
Within a business, there needs to be clear responsibility for supplier quality, the rational for selecting and utilizing suppliers needs to be understood, management must understand potential risks to the business associated with the supply base. If and when problems arise, they must be quickly and permanently addressed.
Development of a strategic vision that details the scope and role of suppliers.Every business needs to have a clear vision of planned development, growth, market focus, etc., over the coming years. How suppliers will contribute to the organizational vision should be defined. The vision will outline areas where the business will retain and develop core capabilities, equally, the vision will detail where the organization is comfortable with outsourcing capabilities to suppliers.
Defining a planned approach to supplier quality assurance.The process for supplier quality assurance needs to be defined and documented. Staff involved in supplier quality need to be trained and fully competent. Supplier quality assurance procedures will cover supplier selection, supplier auditing, supplier rating, supplier risk assessment and management, corrective & preventative action processes, the creation and maintenance of an “approved supplier list”, approaches to communication, relationship building and feedback provision.
Formalizing supplier risk assessment, risk reduction and risk monitoring.Supplier activity will span a broad range of activities, some activities may be essential to organizational success, others may have very low impact on short or long term success. The level of monitoring and control exercised will be directly related to the criticality and potential risk associated with a supplier. Low risk suppliers will need minimal if any monitoring and control. High risk suppliers will need extensive monitoring and control. With limited resources an organization will want to focus their resources on those supplier activities which pose the greatest risk and offer the greatest benefits to the organization.
Implementing a supplier evaluation and rating process.A transparent, consistent method of evaluating suppliers needs to be defined and implemented. All equivalent suppliers should be subjected to equivalent methods of measurement and evaluation so that fact based analysis and decisions on relative supplier performance can be established. The rating process and rating results should be continually communicated to suppliers, so that there is an understanding of how suppliers are being monitored, which will allow suppliers the opportunity to focus on the key metric areas and drive improvement within their own processes.
Defining and pursuing supplier “ship to stock” & “ship to line” processes.The objective of a supplier quality assurance program should be to achieve high quality, consistent, high reliability suppliers, where there is a strong open relationship between customer and supplier organizations. Incoming inspection, safety stock, etc., should have no place where this objective is being achieved. Where there is confidence in a supplier, then products and services supplied, should go directly to where needed. This may be in the form of a direct “ship to line” for raw materials, another example maybe a distributor who will manage finished goods inventory in locations close to customers. High confidence in suppliers, will allow the opportunity for costs reduction and efficiency improvement initiatives.
Having in place an effective and efficient supplier corrective & preventative action process.Unfortunately, in many instances problems can and do arise with suppliers. In such instances, an efficient corrective and preventative action process must be in place. Where problems arise, they must be quickly addressed, the root cause of the problems must be understood, and actions taken to ensure no repeat.
Quality Assurance. Quality Management Systems.
- The Principles of Quality Management
- The Quality Manual
- Quality Standards and Specifications
- The Quality Management System
- Revised requirements of ISO 9001: 2015
- Design Quality – Products & Processes
- Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
- CAPA – Corrective And Preventative Action
- Calibration Certification
- Change Management and Control
- Quality Management Training
- Product and Process Validation
- Supplier Quality Assurance
- Audits & Auditing
- Ensuring the Quality Management System is Risk based
- Etc. …. Etc. …. Etc. …
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