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Sensitive Supplier Issue - Single source supplier

Ed Panek

QA RA Small Med Dev Company
Trusted Information Resource
#1
I am sure this is common but...


We have a single source supplier who is a hairs edge from dropping us. We over bought from them so now we do sparse business with them. We had a small order that we received that I put a hold on because the box label lot info didn't match the order info. We sent a query to the supplier and they said the box label is wrong and listed the correct lot numbers for us to receive it. I told the VP of Operations I was going to write a SCAR against them and he said if we do that they might drop us completely.

Im wondering what I can do to demonstrate we acknowledge the NC without shutting the company down. Could I just reduce their internal scorecard for this incident after a risk review?
 
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Chennaiite

Never-say-die
Trusted Information Resource
#4
Whatever that you attempt like CAR, Scorecard update, etc. , I assume, is to incentivize the Supplier to improve their process;
Is improving this Supplier a Top priority for you in terms of Seriousness of this error, Scale, Business impact, etc. ?
It doesn't sound like one.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration with a Mask on...
Staff member
Admin
#5
<snip> They're not sole source.
They are if the customer has a specific supplier designated in the contract. It happens quite a lot. And there are items which a very limited number of companies produce a unique item.

Just to put in my experience where there is one supplier, and only one, which something can be obtained from. I have even seen "sweetheart" deals where upper management has a "relationship" with another company and will only allow an item/material/service from one specific company.

And a bit extreme case, the supplier is designated on the print. In the case I have in mind, a specific company and their specialty product (a "secret recipe" rubber compound) was specified on the print. This was a "spare parts" situation I was called in to help with because DCAS would not approve a part, because of the print requirement, even though the company had since gone out of business. Try getting a print change... Especially in a situation like this. It was a relatively simple rubber gasket. The application was for a B-52 print from the 1950's... It took almost 9 months to get a waiver.

I have been involved in quite a few situations where the supplier for all intents and purposes did say "get it somewhere else. We don't need/want your business", but there simply wasn't anywhere else to go to.

As a last example, I was doing a contract job some years back as a quality engineer for a problem product. Only one company could do what was required. The quality manager, in a meeting, told me to go and TELL the supplier that he wanted them to do an outsourced process as a demand (there was no contract). In that meeting I explained I had been in close communication with the company and they made it clear to me they did some work mostly as a favor and had no interest in doing any more. The quality manager, a fool, cussed me out and told me to go TELL them to continue to process parts. After being cussed out, including his using the "F" word, with ladies present, I got up, went and cleared off my desk and walked out. The quality manager was fired about 6 months later, and the supplier caused the line to be shut down for several months because they refused to do any more business with the company.

Sole Source definitely is a reality in many cases.

This is a "food for thought" post.
 

mattador78

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
That's correct we here are one of only three approved processors for a job for MBDA in Europe so in the UK it only goes through us and a lot from France come here as well
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
The supplier made a mistake that caused no damage (other than a little extra time spent), was notified about it, and fixed it.
Make a record (internal to you only) and move on.

If it happens over and over, you may escalate it internally to see what remediation may be safe to attempt...but on a first "oops" this minor, I'd avoid poking the dragon.
 
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