PSW Requirements for a Distributor



I'm new to a distributor who does no manufacturing or processing of the items we distribute in the automotive space, other than receiving sealed boxes from the mfg and storing them until they are ordered, picked and shipped ( still sealed in the mfg cartons) . Currently we are supplying PPAPs to customers as required ,which are supplied to us by the mfg, along with the PSW which is basically a copy and paste from the one submitted to us by the mfg except that we put our company info on it in place of the mfg's and sign it. What liability are we assuming by supplying "our PSW" as far as if there is a quality issue? We do not alter or add to the PPAP documentation provided by the mfg, just pass it through. Should we even be providing "our" PSW ? We also currently do not sign off on PSW supplied to us by the mfg, nor do we require customers to return signed PSW's to us. What could come of that? Need some expert guidance here as I have searched and info regarding PSWs from distributors is scarce. The answer I get from the folks here is "thats the way we always have done it" :bonk:


The PSW sounds like a crazy, binding document. Especially with the word "Warrant" in it. The reality is, it's a paper tiger. In fact, there are no industry requirements that require anyone in a certain skill or with any kind of certification be able to sign the thing. Contrast this with, say, a CQI-9 audit for heat treating. THAT has a list of requirements of who can actually complete the thing, and it is based on knowledge of heat treat, etc.

The PSW? Technically, anyone at your company can sign it, as can anyone at the receiving company. The outgoing company typically has a quality engineer or quality manager sign it. Sometimes a project manager. The incoming company typically has a supplier quality engineer or a receiving manager sign it. Typically. That's done because it is the natural state. These individuals are most familiar with the contents, so it makes sense they sign it.

What does the signature mean? Nothing really more than "my part of this APQP process is true and complete to the best of my abilities." So while is feels like you're signing a mortgage or something, you're not.

I have been involved in 4 large scale legal battles between a supplier and a customer in my career. And of COURSE PPAPs and PSWs were brought up. But I have never seen one go down like this: YOU signed the PSW, therefore YOU are on the hook for everything ....

Culpability is always tied to:
1) What was in the terms and conditions?
2) Did you ship against a production purchase order, and did that have changes/exceptions to the Ts & Cs?
3) What was on the print?
4) Did you make a change to the process without telling or not authorized by your customer?

And I can tell you, the absence or presence of the PSW had no bearing on these items.

We too have suppliers like you - they are just warehousing and passing along something someone else made. Best advice if you are concerned is indicate this on your warrant. In the Explanation/Comments section I would put the blurb "XYZ is an intermediary warehouse and distribution facility and has no effect or control on the fit, form or function of the component."

I DO agree with you, though. It's a little goofy you are involved at all. There are special state warrants and PPAP processes for bulk items - like primer paint, grease, etc. There should be a special case for intermediate warehouses as well.
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