eBay as a legitimate supplier

apestate

Quite Involved in Discussions
#1
Hello, quality professionals!

As I'm tying up some loose strings here in this small manufacturing organization, I realize I can't account for my eBay purchases.

I buy all sorts of supplies and cutting tools and machine parts on eBay just as I would by visiting a live auction, as we have done for many years.

Let me line-by-line my response to the requirements specified in the standard.

>>The organization shall ensure that purchased product conforms to specified purchase requirements.

This is done every time I receive a shipment. I marvel over my newfound toys, and I leave feedback when the purchased items are in my hand.

>>The type and extent of control applied to the supplier and the purchased product shall be dependent upon the effect of the purchased product on subsequent product realization or the final product.

Well, none of this stuff is going into the mix, so to speak. It isn't raw material or parts, and the customer doesn't receive it. It is, however, the vital cutting tools, the spare motor starters to keep things running, and even the machinery at some point. But let us start with the smaller things like cutting bits. These come from Kennametal, Sandvic Coromant, Seco/Carboloy, all very reputable and high quality carbide makers. It is easy to verify product, how do I prove it is received as advertised, ie what type and what extent of control do I apply toward this purchased product?

The standard demands the same of these various eBay sellers. How would you interpret the type and extent of control to apply to them?

>>The organization shall evaluate and select suppliers based on their ability to supply product in accordance with the organization's requirements. Criteria for selection, evaluation, and re-evaluation shall be established. Records of the results of evaluations and any necessary actions arising from the evaluation shall be maintained.

Feedback. I read it. Then I make an entry in my eBay supplier log (for example) of my impression of their feedback. I make a trial purchase when there is something I want to buy and record the results of the purchase.

How can I most effectively handle this within the scope of the QMS? If I maintained a log book, this would be the most convenient. AND it would add value to our QMS and manufacturing organization. How do you feel about my interpretation of the purchasing process as applied to eBay auctions? Can I do this with a log book and a one page procedure?

Your thoughts will be read with great interest.
 
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RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
Not being an avid Ebay user myself, let me ask you this....WHO are you truly buying the products from?

How can Ebay be a supplier if they do not even purchase the product which you are buying? They are simply the "auctioneer", so to speak. You are actually buying from another individual/organization. Doesn't Ebay even have a disclaimer stating something to this effect?

What information goes into your log? Does it show who the true supplier is?
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
RCBeyette said:
Not being an avid Ebay user myself, let me ask you this....WHO are you truly buying the products from?

How can Ebay be a supplier if they do not even purchase the product which you are buying? They are simply the "auctioneer", so to speak. You are actually buying from another individual/organization. Doesn't Ebay even have a disclaimer stating something to this effect?

What information goes into your log? Does it show who the true supplier is?
I gather the ebay purchases are primarily MRO (maintenance, repair, operations) products. These are essentially in the same category as office supply purchases. Although the drafting paper you buy may be used for elegant blueprints which become Controlled Documents, you don't normally include your stationery supplier in your approved supplier ritual and certainly don't go to the original paper mill which made the paper (you might, however, if you were making an OEM component from the paper.)

In your Quality Management System, consider that you are ALWAYS in control of what is essential for the efficient business operation of your organization. You are in control of whether the products or services you buy to operate your business require the investigation of the supplier or merely examination and determination of "fitness for use" for your operation. Think of cutting tools in the same way as drafting pens. You may have a preference for a particular brand, but within the brand, they are pretty much "fungible" (one can be substituted for another without noticeable difference.)

Even OSHA has quantity thresholds when considering whether reporting is necessary for toxic chemicals (a quart of ammonia in the janitor closet doesn't need to be reported, a 55-gallon drum may need to be reported.)

My advice:
Deal with the individual products and your method for determining their fitness for use. Depending on the product or service of your organization, purchase traceability back to the raw material of tools used in production will hardly ever be an issue. (I can envision scenarios where it would be necessary to have traceability on cutting tools used in machining some products out of exotic materials, but if you were doing that you wouldn't be asking the question or buying your tools on ebay.)
 

bpritts

Involved - Posts
#4
I believe that the previous posters have made some good comments. I would add one possible way to consider this issue.

A first question is whether the products -- if only for MRO use -- need to be included in the scope of your purchasing procedures at all. Most of my clients do not include these items. Exceptions would be purchase of gages (calipers, micrometers, etc.) For these items, see the further comments below.

Also, If I am using the cutting tools as a significant part of my production process, then I might put them into the QMS.

What I believe you are saying in your original question & background are that you are typically purchasing a "branded" product, e.g. Sandvik cutting tools.

I would put greater emphasis on the manufacturer/brand rather than the ebay seller. This person is in the role of a distributor; provided that they have properly identified and represented the condition of the item, what you really care about is the original maker/brand and the quality that brand carries. There might be some risk inherent in buying from an unknown source (damage in handling or storage, or in an extreme case counterfeit products.) But these you can handle by a cursory inspection on arrival and initial use.

Even the manufacturer in this setting is not likely to fall under your "control". What you do control is the selection of the brand. If you have history that says this brand performs well, buy it again.

Hope these comments help.

Brad
 
Last edited by a moderator:
#5
Wes Bucey said:
I gather the ebay purchases are primarily MRO (maintenance, repair, operations) products. These are essentially in the same category as office supply purchases.
Ditto.

The purchase via Ebay is not an issue IMO, the manufacturer of the MRO item is the true supplier. I don't believe it is necessary to apply the same level of control that you would for raw materials to which you will add value, so to speak. It may be a good practice to generate a record that count and condition was verified upon receipt for the subject items.
 
#6
You know what you need

atetsade said:
How can I most effectively handle this within the scope of the QMS? If I maintained a log book, this would be the most convenient. AND it would add value to our QMS and manufacturing organization. How do you feel about my interpretation of the purchasing process as applied to eBay auctions? Can I do this with a log book and a one page procedure?
I'll differ a little from some of the posts. I believe that you need some kind of records for these products and your log book sounds like a great idea. Reason: they may just be MRO items but they can impact your system. Several examples: if you have an ebay seller that suddenly begins to be erratic in delivery of a cutting tool that you NEED to effectively process your product, your on-time delivery could suffer, you need to keep a record to avoid this; if a seller delivers you counterfeit motors and you have to send them back, buy new, recheck, your manufacturing costs are going up and you are no longer processing your products as efficiently, you need to keep a record to avoid this. I wouldn't overkill, but I would keep track of who is supporting my quest to provide the best products at the lowest processing costs, and who isn't (this IS a value added activity!)
 
C

CINDY

#7
You may also want to include receiving inspection to confirm the product brand and type.

IMO, I would also, for a short period of time, track my savings vs. actual costs, on time vs. late, purchasing time for both, etc. that shows justification for this form of purchasing, provided your actual results reflect this along with your receiving inspection. If the product arrives in the manufacturers original package and is unopened, you saved $$ in job costs, and you spent the same amount of time performing the task, what a great CI tool.


Cindy
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
I have always made a distinction between distributors and subcontractors in our evaluation methods and in determining the type and extent of control exercised.

Our evaluation of distributors is simply: receiving inspection is verifying order accuracy and on time delivery is tracked in our purchasing log. Ebay (if I shopped there and had to categorize) would fall into our shop supplies and tooling category, which is all distributors. If I bought a Cleveland Twist endmill and it didn't hold up as long as I expected it would, would I send a SCAR to Cleveland Twist? No - I wouldn't send one to J&L either. I'd quit buying that brand and try a Hertel next time. However, if I ordered a 5/8" endmill and J&L sent me a 3/8", this would be order accuracy. Three incorrect or late orders in one 12 month period requires a SCAR. Simple and quite manageable.

Our type and extent of control of subcontractors is much more in depth. Subcontractors work to our prints and standards, their evaluation and reevaluation criteria is much more stringent - they have a direct impact on product quality. You simply cannot evaluate this type of supplier in the same manner that you would evaluate someone who is providing catalog items that they're just pulling off a shelf.
 
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