Request to Supplier for Corrective Action - Trouble with getting a response

M

ml retcher

#1
Request for corrective actions

I am having trouble with getting a response to request for corrective actions from my vendors. I send a request with a 30 day period to anwser the root cause and step to prevent recurrence. If at the end of 30 days a response is not received we debit their account $150. and send a second request to the company president. If no response is recieved in an additional 30 day period we debit them again $150. and put their product on "alert" status. This is a paperwork nightmare and not effective. Any suggestions?

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J

John C

#2
ml,
You used the plural; "trouble getting response from my vendors..". This seems to indicate that a number, or all of your vendors are not responding and the conclusion would seem to be that you have a problem with your approach, your system or with your company's status regards your vendors - ie; lack of leverage. If it were just one vendor, then it might be that you just had one who, for whatever reason, doesn't care.
I suggest you call them up and talk about it. Approach them in a partnership mode and see if you can find out what they think of your company as a partner. Are you coming over too heavy on issues they see as insignificant or unavoidable? What do they think of the $150 dollars fine? (I think that would not be conducive to good relations and good service). Did they agree to it? Did they see it as positive? or did they agree under duress? Or is it just a bureaucratic feature, written into the system and imposed without consideration for the situation?
Whatever the reason, you need leverage before you can call the shots and even if you are big and powerful and they depend on your business, it is still better to work with them than against them. Give them a hard time and they'll go along with it until the day that you need them, then they'll get their own back.
Most suppliers are anxious to help and to improve. The odd one is defensive and uncooperative, usually because the business is marginal and they feel any extra input makes it unprofitable.
Whatever the problem, an open and considerate approach always helps. It might not solve the problems but it will ease them, even if only to show you that you are wasting your time and should go elsewhere.
As you say, you have a "paperwork nightmare" and it is only costing them $150 dollars each time they get caught. So your punitive system is hurting you a lot more than it's hurting them. In that situation, you don't feel bad about being the first to crack. Forget it. Call off the debt collectors and put your energy into something more proactive.
rgds,
John C
 
M

ml retcher

#3
I have several vendors that are also customers. We have tried the approach of phone calls, etc.
I would like to know how others manufacturer`s handle their suppliers that do not respond in a timely manner. I agree the debit collection is not effective. I am at a loss as what to do next.
 
J

John C

#4
ml,
Well I said it, didn't I?; Review your own company's actions to see where you might be at fault. Look at every aspect of the interface; the buyers, supplier engineers, quality people. What are you doing wrong? I'm not saying that your company is necessarily wrong but if you want a process to work right, you'd be better to look at the part you have direct control of first. Then talk again, be open about what you've found and try to sort it out to everyone's satisfaction. You might want to visit, or send a supplier engineer to look at their process and discuss the issues. Don't assume that the people who count, in their organisation, are aware of the problems and potential solutions - misunderstanding is very common.
The alternate approach - maybe the more usual - depends on you having leverage and options; You can call their sales people in and beat up on them. If you are a 'quality' person, dealing with a 'quality' person, then maybe you should hand it over to your purchasing people and let them deal with the vendor's sales people - they'll usually have more leverage. You can find an alternative source and threaten to pull the business out. You can tell them you will withold payment by 30 days if you don't get a response. You can get your CEO to call their CEO. You can pore over the contract and find all the places where you can legitimately hit them. You can tell their CEO that you are not satisfied that they have the competence to meet the contract and that you want to send in an audit team to help them identify their problems. You can renegotiate the contract and pay them more or pay them less. You can do all sorts of things but these are not easy options and no guarantee of success.
"How do other people handle their vendors who do not respond in a timely manner?". Often badly, is one answer. First be sure your own house is in order, then go back to basics, trying to establish a good relationship. Give and take is the name of the game.
But that does not mean you can't have high expectations and look for better service at less cost. That is in their interest as well as yours.
rgds, John C
 
D

Don Winton

#5
I agree with John on his well stated points, to which I can only add little.

I agree the debit collection is not effective.
Not only that, it is counter-productive to both your vendor and yourself.

I would like to know how others manufacturer`s handle their suppliers that do not respond in a timely manner.
It appears that some, not all, are causing your angst. What is the differences between those that are responsive and those that are not? Have you prepared an affinity (or similar) diagram of those that are not responsive versus those that are? Are the ones that are not responsive the "vital few" or "trivial many?" Are the CAR's issued for all nonconformance or just the ones that have significant impact upon your operation (reference ISO 9001, Section 4.14.1, second paragraph)? What is 'your' definition of timely? You mention 30 days in the first post, but it may mean different things to different organizations.

John's suggestions are valid and I will only add one: Perform a root cause analysis using the questions above as a guide. I suspect that after you answer the questions I posed (or others you develop yourself), a beginning of a solution may present itself. The techniques for root cause analysis apply just as well to a process as a product.

Check out the systems management area of my web site below. It may (or may not) shed some insight.

Regards,
Don

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Just the ramblings of an Old Wizard Warrior.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#6
From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 14:51:20 -0500
Subject: Re: Supplier Delinquency /Brown/Scalies

From: "Charley Scalies"

> From: David Brown - dynamicdisplay.com
> We have a serious problem with our suppliers meeting on-time delivery
> dates. Our suppliers are excessively late, not days but weeks.

> What is the penalty that we can impose on them? I send supplier performance
> reports, CARs, phone calls, e-mails and on-site visits and this has little or no effect.

Here are some things I have done/seen that have had an affect.
CIVIL ACTIONS
1. Boss to boss phone call.
2. QA Manager to QA Manager phone call.
3. Sales Manager to Sales manager phone call.

RASSLIN' IN THE MUD ACTION

1. If they are ISO9000 registered and you can factually demonstrate their nonresponsiveness (You had better be right!), send a CA Demand - Not Request - directly to their boss (topmost level) citing the direct ISO violation and alluding/threatening to blow the whistle to their registrar. (Probably won't do any good - at least at the registrar - but the perception by the supplier that no possible good can come of such exposure will sometimes get you the attention you desire. This worked for me in dealings with a major computer manufacturer.)

2. Do you have a company web site? How about publishing supplier ratings of the "Worst 10 Suppliers". You would be amazed at how fast bad news travels - in the hands of your supplier's competitors. Warning - Whenever you decide to get down and dirty into the mud, be sure your opponent isn't a pig.

PRACTICAL ACTION

1. Find out why they are not performing. If you cannot find out from them, try calling around to other customers of theirs, networking within your industry, etc. Are they treating everyone the same? Are there general shortages, insufficient capacity, etc. If you can define the cause of the problem, the cure may become more evident.

2. Get another supplier. If you are so small that you cannot get their attention, try someone who may be more your size - if possible. Despite the cliché, I never saw a real tail that could wag a real dog.

3. You said your lead times were "more than generous". Based on what objective evidence that exists outside your firm? Maybe, under the circumstances, you may find that generous isn't the same as realistic.

Just my 2 cents.
Charley Scalies
 
A

Andy Bassett

#7
On this last post, i have to be a little sceptical. I work in the area of procurement, and very often in discussions, lectures, courses etc a simple figure is often stated that 92% of supplier failures are caused by you the customer.

Now i have no idea where this figure has come from, but i do beleive it. I am currently with a company that has a huge backlog of deliveries, and i know that we have to concentrate on the Provisions/Purchase side before we can even start to look at the suppliers, by which time many of the problems will be gone.

As regards inciting the suppliers to better performance, ´many of the ideas above are good. In one particular company where we worked (admittedly a high-profile company) at Xmas we named and thanked our 'A' suppliers for their support during the year.

This produced a slew of suppliers that wanted to know what they had to improve to become a 'A' supplier. This 1000 Dollars of advertising replaced many 1000's spent on supplier visits and verbal or written exhortations.

Regards


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Andy B
 
S

Steven Truchon

#8
This is an interesting topic. We too have quality issues with a few of our suppliers. No response to CAR's has been a big problem. What I have come to understand is that taking the time to respond to a CAR is an unneccesary hassle so its chance that we do get a response and if we do, its a superficial effort and without substance.
The problem for us here in south Florida is that our suppliers which are plating co.'s, heat-treaters, etc., are so overloaded with work down here that to require a bunch of quality muck isnt worth their time. We tried, as a last ditch effort, the approach of cancelling or suspending their approved vendor status. They laughed. Its like pulling your hand out of a bucket of water and seeing how fast the hole fills up. One of our other divisions elsewhere in the US got so tired of this same scenario that they built their own HT and Plating facilities, which is a very expensive "solution".
For us, it seems that we keep trying new ideas when we can generate them.
I really liked the idea of publishing problem suppliers on the internet and that thought opens up some other mind gates (I turn evil on command-uh oh), but then I dont want to start shooting ourselves in the feet either, after all we do have a business to run.
 
D

Daniel J. Rupright

#9
The best thing to correct this problem is to send a letter to this supplier notifing them that they are no longer an approved supplier.
If you do a lot of business with them, this usually gets what you need done in a hurry with a little "kissing" in return.
 
U

Underdog - 2004

#10
ml retcher said:
I am having trouble with getting a response to request for corrective actions from my vendors......Any suggestions?------------------
I'm assuming the vendors in question are not familiar with QMS's (Quality Management Systems). They could be mom and pop or cottage industry type shops. They may not know what a CAR (Corrective Action Request) is if they tripped over it. You might have to walk them through it. Maybe you could develop a simple form to send them that they could fill out. Use simple language. Why do you believe this happened? What will you do to fix this product? What will you do to stop it from happening again? Etc.

If these companies are at all familiar with QMS, then they are being unresponsive. Not Good. See if you have a current (responsive) vendor that can do the work, then reward them with the business. I like to think positive, a buycott vs. a boycott. If not find better vendors, making money is serious business, no time to fool around.
 
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