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How to manage a problem Overseas Tooling Supplier

ganglai

Registered Visitor
#1
Dear Forum users,

We have a oversea supplier who supplies us critical tooling. In the recent years, it has been given us a lot a grief, e.g. supply not in time, incorrectly machined parts. But in general their performance is not so bad.

We have no intention to move to another supplier because the tooling is a critical factor to ensure the quality of our products.

Physical supplier audit is not feasible because the cost involved. Can you all please advise any ways I could drive the supplier to improve on its performance.

I am in the process of gathering the "incident/problem" together and revise our Supplier Questionnaire to suit a tooling company.

Can anyone please also advise the 'must ask' question to a tooling supplier?

Many thanks.

Ganglai
 
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Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
Dear Forum users,

We have a oversea supplier who supplies us critical tooling. In the recent years, it has been given us a lot a grief, e.g. supply not in time, incorrectly machined parts. But in general their performance is not so bad.

We have no intention to move to another supplier because the tooling is a critical factor to ensure the quality of our products.

Physical supplier audit is not feasible because the cost involved. Can you all please advise any ways I could drive the supplier to improve on its performance.

I am in the process of gathering the "incident/problem" together and revise our Supplier Questionnaire to suit a tooling company.

Can anyone please also advise the 'must ask' question to a tooling supplier?

Many thanks.

Ganglai
It's a tough question and situation - you and your bosses are caught in the "better the devil we know" dilemma.

If it were MY firm, I would begin discreet inquiries for an alternate supplier while walking softly with the current one. Does everyone speak the same language or are you dealing with translation problems on top of nonconforming parts?

If everyone speaks the same language, email or fax your list of findings and confirm they agree the findings are valid. If they agree, make a phone call and say, "What can we do TOGETHER to reduce or eliminate these NCs?" Possible stress points could be insufficient lead time, too much pressure on price (not enough on quality), misunderstanding the requirements and tolerances (either at the supplier or your receiving dock.)

Companies I have seen in a similar situation usually "know" deep down they made a bad choice of supplier, but don't dig deep enough into the cost accounting to finally pull the trigger, cut their losses, and change suppliers. The reality usually is that the soft costs of babying a SNAFU* are far more than the hard cost of shutting down temporarily while a new, better supplier gets ramped up.


*SNAFU (definition)

If they do NOT agree your findings are valid, seek a dispassionate third party to confirm one or the other side. Based on that result, you'll know whether to change your own processes or simply change suppliers. If the supplier won't agree he's wrong after 3rd party confirmation, there is really no benefit to trying to rehabilitate the supplier.
 

ganglai

Registered Visitor
#3
Thanks Brucey.

You are definitely right. We are in the dilemma of better the devil we know. And before we can put together the actual so called cost of poor quality together it won't be justified to go for another supplier.

All problems get rectified in the end but I do not see a system there to ensure it. I read some threads in this forum about how supplier questionnaire is total waste of time. I would say it may help me to understand their system better. What do you think?

Can anyone please share some ideals what must be asked to a tooling supplier?

Thanks.
Ganglai
 
Last edited:

harry

Super Moderator
#4
If you subscribe to the principle of a mutually beneficial relationship with your suppliers, have a heart to heart talk with them. Since they had proven themselves before, there must be some reason for the perceive degradation in performance. Many suppliers are suffering from the pressures of increase in cost of raw materials and/or resources on one hand and the pressure of cost-down from their customers on the other.

Trust me, no amount of paperwork or best questionnaire would be able to manage a business relationship or solve your problem.
 
S

ssz102

#5
the service manner and quality realize of supplier are depending on various aspects i think;
and the quantity and cost your company ordered are main aspects
i don't know if this supplier is designated by your customer or these tools are produced by this supplier only
if it is designated by your customer, you can tell this situations to your customer and ask to change this supplier competely
or sign some cooperation agreements with your supplier
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
Thanks Brucey.

You are definitely right. We are in the dilemma of better the devil we know. And before we can put together the actual so called cost of poor quality together it won't be justified to go for another supplier.

All problems get rectified in the end but I do not see a system there to ensure it. I read some threads in this forum about how supplier questionnaire is total waste of time. I would say it may help me to understand their system better. What do you think?

Can anyone please share some ideals what must be asked to a tooling supplier?

Thanks.
Ganglai
Essentially, all quality issues depend for solution on excellent two-way communication for fast, efficient, effective results. Organizations which add a personal person-to-person link seem to do it better than those which limit themselves to impersonal flurries of N/C findings demanding formal Corrective Action Reports, especially if the organization supplying CARs doesn't actually implement them and nonconforming parts and practices continue.

If the customer cannot establish the personal link with one [existing] supplier, it should be a primary criterion in the search for a new supplier.

:topic:
Just curious: What kind of "tooling?" Big stamping dies? tiny extrusion heads? what?
 
S

sridharafep

#7
Third party verification before shipment may support.

I feel he may be the low cost supplier for your tooling.

We can offer you good tooling for your needs.
 

Jadey52803

Starting to get Involved
#8
This is a difficult position, and an idea similar to what I am dealing with currently. I think that if you have specific/documented supplier requirements that are not being met the only real actionable options are find another supplier. However, since you aren't able to audit in person I understand how finding another supplier may prove to be an even greater challenge.

At the root, I would think that if a supplier does not understand the importance of continuous improvement and does not regularly implement efforts to enact positive change in its' processes then you may spend a lot of time and effort without getting the results you hope for.

I wish I could provide for help. I'd be very interested to hear what insight others have into this predicament.
 
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