With more than 80 percent of products being outsourced today, maintaining an effective Supplier Quality Management System is critical to a company’s success. Supplier Quality ensures that the product or services provided by suppliers are of the highest quality and meet the customer’s often strict engineering and quality requirements. An excellent Supplier Quality Management System can protect companies from liabilities by helping to error-proof processes, produce defect-free products and minimize the company’s risk of regulatory noncompliance.
Supplier Quality is not just a one-time activity but rather an ongoing process managed by a team with deep expertise in quality. At the earliest stages, Supplier Quality begins with the selection and approval of suppliers, during which their production processes undergo strict assessment/validation.
Next, a contract and pre-production process review is done to ensure all customer contract and quality requirements are captured, documented, and will be adhered to, all the way through to the final product packaging stage before delivery to the customer. Additionally, Supplier Quality Management is about being actively engaged throughout the entire product realization process including:
More importantly, a successful Supplier Quality Management System starts with building a solid relationship with the supplier based on trust and collaboration. Understanding the supplier’s product line, processes, strengths, weaknesses, and when at all possible, having a presence is essential.
In summary unless organizations make efforts to effectively manage their Supplier Quality, they could risk having nonconformance / noncompliance issues that could potentially stop production line / hinder product delivery on time or worst, suffer a customer escape.