QS-9000 - Supplier Quality

M

max146

#1
Supplier Quality

During a recent audit, the auditor asked us to produce records that show that our suppliers (all are QS-9000) are having their material independently tested periodically to verify their finding when they issue us a Certificate of Conformance or a COA. None of suppliers have an accredited lab to include us. Anyone have any suggestions or interpretations of this in the standard?

Thanks
 
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R

Randy Stewart

#2
Let me ask a couple questions first.
Was this raw material or parts?

If it was 4.10.6 it is out of your control. You could, however, send the samples out on your own.

The company has to exercise some type of control over its suppliers even if they are QS. The amount of control is established, documented and verified. If you are receiving parts and the supplier is mfg them to spec, you recieve a cert per lot, etc. what else can you do. I don't believe you have to prove that they are using a lab etc..

If it is a production part you are required to perform the annual part lay out which includes the material spec.


:bigwave:
Welcome to the cove.
 
M

max146

#3
Supplier Quality

The material in question is raw material, metal strip, copper/brassd and aluminum. We receive certificates of conformance verifying the material from the supplier. We also maintain a spec sheet for each category of raw mateial. This spec is dictated by our customer. Quality verifies the COC to the spec and if it meets spec releases the material for production. If not then, our nonconforming process kicks in and the material is placed on hold. That is when we send out samples. The supplier will send out samples if they suspect a problem. However we are not informed unless they believe that we may have received some of the material. We have sent material out to be tested, however this is not done on a routine basis.
 
#4
Independent certifications

Max,

Exactly what "shall" is in question? 4.10.2.4? 4.6?

4.10.6 refers to "Supplier laboratory requirements" -- That would be you.

Does the material work? Based on your second post, I would say you have a system that works for you.

I'm not certain that QS has been violated. I would need to have the auditor (or you) quote the "shall" that is being referenced.
 
N
#5
Incoming Product Quality 4.10.4.2

I strongly suspect that the auditor was referring to 4.10.2.4 and if I recall correctly that section changed in QS-9000 from the second to third revision. As of the third revision the bullet allowing Certificates of Conformance as the only incoming supplier quality system control was removed. It has to be supplemented by one of the remaining four bullets. The auditor has probably decided that you are relying heavily upon the supplier certs and as an obvious follow-up has asked for independent confirmation of their validity. I'm sure it is not applicable in this case but the auditor, like me, as probably seen some examples of supplier certs that weren't worth the paper they were written on or worse were completely made up. The path of least resistance is to send a sample out once or twice a year to an accredited lab for confirmation. You might just be surprised by the result. Hope this helps...

Neil
 
#6
4.10.2.4

Hey Neil, Welcome to the Cove your input is always welcome!

I do believe you might be right. The funny thing is that although we rely heavily on supplier COC, 4.10.2 doesn’t even address them as a possibility. Reading the requirement and using a literalist interpretation, they are not an acceptable method for determining incoming product quality. However, the second bullet does mention sampling based on performance. One could interpret that to say, if it works as we use it, or base on past experiences.

BTW, 16949 does not contain any of this.(at least that I have seen)
 
N
#7
Acceptability of CoC

Hi Db,

I went into my document archives and pulled out the 2nd edition QS-9000. For a change my memeory was correct. There used to be a 5th bullet to what is now 4.10.2.4 which stated:

Subcontractor warrants or certifications (shall include test results and shall be used in combination with one or more other methods).

So statements of conformance (CofC) from the supplier without actual test data was never acceptable as a stand alone supplier control. Now even Certificates of Analysis which contain actual test or inspection data are not acceptable as well. The sampling based on performance is referring to actual receiving inspection or testing frequency. So it sounds like we are all using the 2nd or 3rd party assessments of subcontractor sites as our main incoming quality control. Frightening isn't it?

So let's give the original auditor his due, he seems to be thinking about the effectiveness of the incoming controls. Periodic independent verification of CRITICAL sunbcontractor certs seems like a prudent thing to do. Let's be honest, we are all trying our best to do the minimal amount of receiving inspection as we can, and why not? Incoming inspection is not a value-added activity.
 
#8
Thanks for the memory lesson. I threw away my 2nd edition a long time ago. It's funny how I would have sworn that cofc was still there!

But this doesn't detract from my original post. There is no requirment that the vendor's must have material independently tested. The fourth bullet allows for part evaluation and the second allows for receiving inspection. But no where can I find a "shall" that corresponds to the auditor's request.

Now, in defense of the auditor, we do not know the entire conversation. If the auditee is only offering cofc as their "proof" of incoming product quality, then the auditor has a much stronger point. But if the auditee is also offering the second bullet, then the auditor might well be out-of-bounds.
 
N
#9
More Information Needed

Yes db, you are 100% correct there is not an actual shall requiring independent confirmation of a cert. Without more details from the thread starter it is impossible to know if this was their only incoming control. If that is indeed the case then there is an obvious nonconformance. I suspect, however, they are using an ISO 9000 or QS9000 accredited source (bullet 3) and then using supplier certs in lieu of receiving inspection. Perfectly acceptable by the rules of QS-9000 and the auditor is not at liberty to write a nonconformance.

My point though is that in the spirit of quality assurance the auditor is barking up the right tree and kudos to him or her. Accreditation of the supplier combined with non-validated supplier certs is not an effective system for supplier control IMHO.
 
M

max146

#10
Thanks everyone for your inputs. They are opening doors and some minds on my side of the fence. The auditor cited 4.10.2.2, that there was not enough evidence provided that incoming product quality for our certified suppliers are properly reviewed and that a 3rd party registration was not on file. Not all of our suppliers are 3rd party registered.

We believe that a checklist documenting incoming material and identifying characteristics is what the auditor is looking for. The characteristics is something we will determine as required for incoming inspection.
 
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