Audit a sole supplier?

K

Kchnwtch

#1
Is auditing a sole source supplier just a waste of time, as far as ISO 9001 (2008) is concerned?

I keep a scorecard for them, but recently we've had a run of NCs and poor delivery times.

But even if I were to rate them low, management has long ago decided they are really our only source in the area, and that going outside the area is cost prohibitive.

What is an intelligent response to this situation, in ISO 9001 (2008) terms? Our first surveillance audit is coming up, and I'd like to have an intelligent approach on record. Keeping scorecards works for us, and we have a love/hate relationship with the supplier, but there's no way we can stop using them, despite their glitches and errors.

Thanks in advance for your help! :thanks:
 
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Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#2
I keep a scorecard for them, but recently we've had a run of NCs and poor delivery times.
Thanks in advance for your help! :thanks:
You can, for example:

  • work WITH the supplier to understand the reasons behind their problems and collaboratively, attempt to resolve the issues
  • trigger corrective action requests to this supplier
  • escalate your complaints to their CB (if they are certified)
  • increase incoming inspection levels for shipments from them
  • trigger source inspections to avoid the receipt of nonconforming parts
  • increase strategic inventory for parts from this supplier (to mitigate late deliveries)

Obviously any single source is a risk for any organization. You should be mitigating the risks and the most logical solution is to develop an alternative source.

Good luck.
 
K

Kchnwtch

#3
I wouldn't have thought about strategic inventory increases,but that should really help.

This supplier is not certified, and is the single black oxide supplier in the region, so they don't really need us to succeed.

I'm trying to get our purchaser to stop creating rush orders, which is a large undertaking involving unraveling 20+ years of maladaptive thinking that has to change on my side. We don't have a lot of leverage with this supplier because of our past poor behavior. But inventory increases might ease the pain short-term. We've been doing some things on the list, like tracking and creating corrective actions, but it's pretty one-sided at the moment.

Thanks again!
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#4
Trust me, MANY companies are stuck with a poor-performing sole-source supplier. It ain’t fun!

Sidney makes some very good points about options for mitigating such a supplier. Developing a second source is sometimes an option, sometimes not, sometimes the second source is even worse in the end. Sometimes a supplier knows they have you by the….ahem….and there is very little you can do about it. In such an instance all you can do is the best you can do. Explaining it to an auditor truthfully should be all that is necessary assuming you are doing everything reasonable to mitigate their sketchy quality.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Yep. Definitely the best way to set things in motion. You can probably help each other, once you get a proper give and take discussion going.:agree:
You definitely need to understand what is going on. Just blindly issuing corrective actions will be a waste of time. Try to figure out what the real problems are, how much is on you, and how much is on them. Good luck.
 

Project Man

Involved In Discussions
#7
I'm trying to get our purchaser to stop creating rush orders, which is a large undertaking involving unraveling 20+ years of maladaptive thinking that has to change on my side. We don't have a lot of leverage with this supplier because of our past poor behavior.
Early on in our certification we too were eager to "fix the supplier" with corrective actions. I came to realize that upon further investigation, It wasn't the supplier at all but our own team setting them up to fail with rush orders, partial information on the PO, etc.

Other posts recommend talking to the supplier and I could not agree more. Nothing replaces face time (and I don't mean the app).
 
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K

Kchnwtch

#8
Yes, this is one supplier who has already been ticked off by a rejection we sent them recently, so I'm going to wait a while before I audit them, and instead take a look at what we could do better. Thanks for the advice, everyone!
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#9
Sometimes it is appropriate to say "it's not you, it's us" but don't just assume that.

Sometimes you will question your own sanity, wondering how some companies can really "be that way". There are just some companies that don't get it, and unless/until you can place enough pain on them to make it worth it, they refuse to fix problems.

I had one supplier clearly violating our drawing and PO requirements as well as AS9100 requirements, resulting in a lot of NC material shipped to us which we caught at RI, and they basically said, "yeah, too bad, but if you want it fixed, you have to pay extra". Until I threatened to contact their registrar and report them....then they went offline for a few minutes, discussed it, and decided to do it for free.

They were our sole source supplier on a major defense aerospace program and a MAJOR (multi-billion-dollar) company you surely know. :mad:
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Staff member
Super Moderator
#10
Yes, this is one supplier who has already been ticked off by a rejection we sent them recently, so I'm going to wait a while before I audit them, and instead take a look at what we could do better. Thanks for the advice, everyone!
Lots of great advice up above.

Things to consider:
- Don't "wait to audit them"........don't audit them. Sole source justifications exist just for this.
- Ask THEM what you could do better. They may have a long list for you to look at...and you'll learn a bit about yourselves. Humility often does wonders in a relationship.

They are clearly in control of the relationship...don't bite the hand that feeds.
 
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