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:

  • Performing process and product quality audits
  • PFMEAs (Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis)
  • Completing first article reviews and obtaining approvals
  • Reviewing and resolving nonconformance issues
  • Conducting RCCA (Root Cause Corrective Actions)investigations
  • Analyzing quality metrics
  • Monitoring Supplier Quality Performance, and making systemic, manufacturing and quality-detection improvements.

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.

Written by Brian Theriault

on 03 Dec 2021

Center Manager, Supplier Quality Services

Supply Chain Services