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Supplier Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities

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  Post Number #1  
Old 7th January 2004, 05:39 PM

Total Posts: 5
Supplier Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities

Greetings, all.

I'm the manager of a fledgling Supplier Quality Assurance team comprised of two SQE's at the corporate office in Ohio, and an SQE with receiving inspection responsibilities in Mexico. All total, we're six QE's strong with four inspectors.

We're a tier two automotive supplier building electric actuators (motor assemblies). My team is responsible for over two hundred suppliers in a wide range of commodities.

The team was formed early last year, from some members already in place (the two corporate SQE's were hired in March. Roles and responsibilities of the various team members have been defined by me, largely on-the-fly as issues arise.

I'd like to begin the year with more clearly defined roles (written this time). Would anyone like to share with me their thoughts regarding the role of Supplier Quality Assurance? Especially with comparison/contrast between corporate roles and plant roles.

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  Post Number #2  
Old 8th January 2004, 03:49 AM
Claes Gefvenberg's Avatar
Claes Gefvenberg

Total Posts: 4,945
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First of all I'd like to welcome to the Cove . I think I'll leave your question for our U.S. based members.

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  Post Number #3  
Old 8th January 2004, 09:28 AM
Rob Nix's Avatar
Rob Nix

Total Posts: 653
Likewise, welcome to the cove, Gallion.

This may not be much help, but ASQ has this definition:

Supplier quality engineer/professional: Responsible for all quality improvement issues related to vendors and suppliers of materials, products or services used in development or manufacture; assesses potential new suppliers; works with suppliers to developer and improve entire supply chain. May be involved in purchasing.
at their site:

Also, a google search of "supplier quality engineer" yields a plethora of descriptions.
  Post Number #4  
Old 8th January 2004, 10:14 AM

Total Posts: 5
That's helpful.

Thanks, Rob.

The definition is helpful (I suppose I could've come up with that on my own ). I was hoping someone might be able to help with distinguishing roles between SQA at the corporate level vs. SQA at the plant level.

Thanks again for your help!
  Post Number #5  
Old 8th January 2004, 12:07 PM
Randy Stewart's Avatar
Randy Stewart

Total Posts: 1,158
Re: Supplier Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities


Welcome first of all.
My take would be that the Corporate level individual would be more of a overseer. That is set policy, establish goals, etc. The plant level would be the hands on, troubleshooter. Plant level is where the action is and IMO should be where the problems are solved.
Corporate would be the ones to make sure Program Managers, Purchasing, etc. know what to put on the PO or what to request in an RFQ. The plant level SQA is the individual that works with the suppliers to breakdown any roadblocks and to ensure expectations and requirements are understood and met.
IMO the on-site or plant level SQA is one of the most important positions for developing and maintaining good supplier relations. They need to be negotiators, problem solvers and go getters. No supplier likes to be beaten up by a customer, nor do they like to lose business. With good SQAs problems can be corrected before the bean counters get involved. Plus they are a big help in all APQP processes.
  Post Number #6  
Old 8th January 2004, 12:21 PM
Cari Spears's Avatar
Cari Spears

Total Posts: 1,906
Re: Supplier Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities

Aptly put Stew. As usual. This is the reason we miss you when you're not around!!
  Post Number #7  
Old 8th January 2004, 12:40 PM

Total Posts: 5
Re: Supplier Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities

Excellent insight, Stew. Thanks for your input.

Here's how I think its beginning to shake-out for our organization:

Corporate SQA: Supplier Evaluation and Approval, Supplier APQP, Process Sign Off, performance data evaluation, Level 2 Containment administration, Corrective Action verification at supplier's premises.

Plant SQA: PPAP approval, Receiving Inspection, performance data gathering and reporting, Corrective Action request and final approval.

Your comments sort of confirm my thoughts thus far.
  Post Number #8  
Old 8th January 2004, 02:33 PM
D.Scott's Avatar

Total Posts: 1,592
Re: Supplier Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities

Gallion, Welcome to the Cove. I have always felt one of the most important functions of the SQA is to communicate with the supplier. This not only includes the items already outlined but also feedback on continuing performance. I hate when our salesman comes back with some problem from the plant that we were never made aware of only to have us call the SQA to get some facts and have him say "Yeah, we've been having that problem for a while now". Even when it isn't our fault, I would like the SQA to communicate ANY problem that involves out product/component. Who knows, we might be able to head off a major problem down the line. I didn't mention it but I am referring to the plant SQA.

Again, welcome.


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