Distributors and the Approved Vendor List

M

Mark Smith

#1
I recently reviewed my Approved Vendor files and observed that in each case where we had a distributer listed on our Approved Vendor list, we had no supporting documentation as to the capability of these distributors to meet our requirements. The records indicated that there were Quality survey forms sent several times to many of the distributors but no response was received from many and those that did respond indicated that the survey was not applicable to them since they were not manufacturers but only acting as distribution agents.
If we purchase materials that are used to manufacture our product from a Distributor, do they have to be included on the Approved Vendor List? If yes, What sort of documentation is requested to provide evidence of thier capabiliities? I can't imagine any need to travel all over the country to perform audits of these distributors.
 
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T

Tom Goetzinger

#2
We've set up our procedures so that different degrees of investigation are required for distributors as opposed to vendors who produce something uniquely for us. That seems to work well. If a distributor doesn't work out, we can go elsewhere with little problem or delay in receiving material.
Regarding not getting responses from distributors from your quality survey, how detailed is yours?
Frankly, I have received some large, very detailed surveys that were obviously intended for production part vendors. As a capital equipment supplier, it made little sense to fill them out and it would have been very time consuming. After discussing with sales, we respond with a copy of our certification (QS9000-TE) and ask them to please contact us should they need any additional information. None have asked for more information, all have remained customers, and some have modified their requests in future years to accomodate the difference in types of vendors.
I really think that most companies do not pay enough attention to the surveys they send out. One size does not necessarily fit all.
 
J

Jim Biz

#3
Just an opinion ... A good answer to this may hinge on more information about the "criticality" of what they supply..from the customers viewpoint....

Level 1 - critical impact
Level 2 - semi critical
Level 3 - low level (discretionary judgment calls)

I would agree that making a trip across the country to evaluate a plastic wrapper distributor "may not be value added"....but if the distributor is supplying items like tension critical springs for A bomb fuses :) it would be another issue all together..

Regards
Jim
 
A

akshaykm

#4
You are right in the sense it is not at all desired to perform such an excercise, which does not add any value to your process.
I remember to have audited a small company making corrugated boxes, but using a good number of delivery agents as their acceptable despatcheing agents.

The data , they maintain are a set of questionnaire, filled in by their own staff having received reply over telephone & on a rare case, a visit was undertaken.

Regards,

Ak
 
S

Suzanne (aka Suz)

#5
The small company I work for actually manufactures very few parts. Most of what we do is assemble purchased parts into a finished product. The way we have chosen vendors in our shady R&D past was if-they've-got-what-we-need-buy-it-NOW! Whether that be through an internet search, friend of a friend or whatever. This is not to say they aren't good suppliers, but now there's a huge list of suppliers, some mom and pop kind of operations. Obviously, if a supplier is ISO certified, it solves a lot of problems, but what about smaller shops? What types of questions do we need them to answer? This may seem pretty basic, but I've never dealt with this sort of situation before. Thanks for your help (again)!
 
T

Tom Goetzinger

#6
Grandfather your existing supplier base and write your procedures to allow you to do what you need to do to remain a profitable business. If that means buying distributor type items from whoever has them, say that. If you have to be fussier (more critical)about certain types of component suppliers, say that too. Be as specific as you can without tying your hands to prevent you from doing what you have done to remain successful so far.
If you would provide me with an email address, I'd be happy to share a copy of our purchasing procedure, Vendor Approval Form, and Vendor Survey Form.
P.S. If you would have registered with an email address, you'd have them already (for wahtever that's worth).
 
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