Automotive Customer Audit with 'Improvements'

Q

qualitymoron

#1
We recently had an audit by our automotive customer

Their scoring method of us as a supplier was complex to say the least!

They marked us down for not having one person in charge of HR. We are a small organisation 22-25 people and it's not appropriate to have one person in charge of this. For example our MD will recruit and deal with issues at managerial level, our production manager does the same for production staff, I deal with any quality resource requirement (in my dreams) and we have another person who deals solely with payroll (wages, holiday entitlements etc).

My question is how can I action this when the system we have is clearly defined and appropriate to our business? We are in the UK, customer is European and came in with a one size fits all attitude.

They also questioned our definition of competence (we use skills matrix to identify staff and skill level). They also state on their report that we have no personnel files despite me telling them several times that we DO have files and then listing the types of documents which might be in there, certificates from courses, driving licences, CVs etc. They never even asked to see these files and have completely ignored any reference I made to them!

They also raised the issure that we do not store their (press) tools in a fire proof cell - despite us assuring them that the temperature would have to be immensely high to damage their tools and this event is not likely to happen given the amount of flammable stuff on site (which is stored in a different area with a brick wall between them both).


Aaaaargh!

:bonk:

How can I agree actions when I and my colleagues don't agree with their report!
BTW this was all discussed in the closing meeting and they've ignored any remarks we made in it.
 
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arios

Your Mexican Amigo
#2
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

I have the impression that the audit team probably did not have enough audit experience as they were not able to understand your particular scenario.

However, since the audit is over and you may need to submit a response, I would suggest you do some few changes on your QMS to improve where appropriate.

You may instance modify your MD Job description to add his responsibilities related to HR. You can align your other staff Job descriptions to clarify how you establish employee competence in terms of experience, skills, training and education (please let me me know if you need an example). (Think on these competence requirements as if you were to hire a new person for the given position and for your existing employees write "grandfather" letters if they have gaps to meet your criteria). With regards to employee files, see if you can fill the "gaps" that your customer felt you had. Often times the employees have training or education evidence at home which you may want to have a copy at the work files too

In your response be polite, non-confrontational, and in your QMS as I said make some few improvements here and there to meet your customer expectation.

I hope this helps

Alberto
 
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#3
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

Find another customer?

Seriously - can you respond in a positive manner to this auditor's boss or the Purchasing org, outlining your comments - as you have here? Can you point out that what was reported was addressed during the audit - but the auditor didn't respond - in the most diplomatic way you can?

Clearly the auditor themselves was either lacking in audit skills or it was a cultural difference - language issue etc. What European country are they from? I've noticed that some countries' citizens are a little less than 'approachable' under such circumstances - based on my 20 years of travel/work/living in (main land) Europe!
 

Chris Ford

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

We recently had an audit by our automotive customer

Their scoring method of us as a supplier was complex to say the least! <snip>
This is why as a supplier, I absolutely hated customer audits. If I'm auditing a supplier, I start with the contract. If the contract includes a provision for storing their equipment, and you didn't conform to the requirement, it's pretty simple. Or if their contract requires that you store the equipment in accordance with manufacturer specifications, and those specifications include a fireproof cell, then you're not in conformance. If there are no such requirements, I'd state that in my response. If the customer wants to amend the agreement and establish the requirement, I'm sure your company will re-evaluate the cost of goods for their product and establish new pricing.

When a contract uses general terminology stating that the supplier must conform to a standard, maintain a cert, etc. and a customer states that you are not conforming to the standards, your response should demonstrate how you do conform to the standard. If they are not satisfied, offer to amend the contract and adjust their prices accordingly.

I've seen a lot of supplier auditors just go nuts on suppliers. It sounds like that's exactly what happened in your case. Maybe the auditor doesn't get out much! At any rate, it really wreaks of "lack of experience" on the auditor's part. If your response demonstrates conformity, and slaps them where it counts - the check book - many of the nonconformities will probably disappear.

The auditor obviously doesn't realize that s/he has a direct impact on the product pricing and the overall relationship with the business.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#5
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

This is why as a supplier, I absolutely hated customer audits. If I'm auditing a supplier, I start with the contract. If the contract includes a provision for storing their equipment, and you didn't conform to the requirement, it's pretty simple. Or if their contract requires that you store the equipment in accordance with manufacturer specifications, and those specifications include a fireproof cell, then you're not in conformance. If there are no such requirements, I'd state that in my response. If the customer wants to amend the agreement and establish the requirement, I'm sure your company will re-evaluate the cost of goods for their product and establish new pricing.

When a contract uses general terminology stating that the supplier must conform to a standard, maintain a cert, etc. and a customer states that you are not conforming to the standards, your response should demonstrate how you do conform to the standard. If they are not satisfied, offer to amend the contract and adjust their prices accordingly.

I've seen a lot of supplier auditors just go nuts on suppliers. It sounds like that's exactly what happened in your case. Maybe the auditor doesn't get out much! At any rate, it really wreaks of "lack of experience" on the auditor's part. If your response demonstrates conformity, and slaps them where it counts - the check book - many of the nonconformities will probably disappear.

The auditor obviously doesn't realize that s/he has a direct impact on the product pricing and the overall relationship with the business.
Agreed on all counts. :agree1: A customer audit should proceed on the same basis as a CB audit, in that the audit should be against existing, explicit requirements. There's nothing worse than having a customer representative running around the building pulling stuff out of his you-know-what.
 
#6
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

Agreed on all counts. :agree1: A customer audit should proceed on the same basis as a CB audit, in that the audit should be against existing, explicit requirements. There's nothing worse than having a customer representative running around the building pulling stuff out of his you-know-what.
* Insert country-appropriate terminology:lol:
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#7
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

Agreed on all counts. :agree1: A customer audit should proceed on the same basis as a CB audit, in that the audit should be against existing, explicit requirements. There's nothing worse than having a customer representative running around the building pulling stuff out of his you-know-what.
* Insert country-appropriate terminology:lol:
Yes. You can be sure that I didn't mean "briefcase," however. :tg:
 
Q

qualitymoron

#8
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the fact that we are TS registered and they are the ones that insisted on us having it!

Also they didn't look at a single one of their products during their audit - they picked up other customer's stuff and trailed that. Isn't that unusual? Especially as we'd got a job set up and running for their parts.

Do you think I might be missing something (I mean ulterior motive not marbles)...
 
#9
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the fact that we are TS registered and they are the ones that insisted on us having it!

Also they didn't look at a single one of their products during their audit - they picked up other customer's stuff and trailed that. Isn't that unusual? Especially as we'd got a job set up and running for their parts.

Do you think I might be missing something (I mean ulterior motive not marbles)...
Probably nothing more than an incompetent (even tho' they might be 'trained') auditor.....
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#10
Re: Customer audit with 'improvements'

Also they didn't look at a single one of their products during their audit - they picked up other customer's stuff and trailed that. Isn't that unusual? Especially as we'd got a job set up and running for their parts.

Do you think I might be missing something (I mean ulterior motive not marbles)...
That seems highly unethical and could be considered spying. I have little doubt they were deliberately looking for information on competitor products.

A customer auditor should obviously be focusing on their product lines, when at a supplier. Don't your customer impose controls over access to their products by competitors?
 
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