Subcontractor Qualification and Evaluation


Aaron Lupo

I have a question. The company I work for currently defines a Critical Item as- Material, service or equipment essential to the quality of testing and/or production which may be purchased from only one subcontractor.

We then go on to say that we audit all our Critical Suppliers that are not ISO Certified. Now they way I read that definition to me states that they are only critical if they are they only one in the world that makes it, which in our case would eliminate 90% of our suppliers.

My question is how does everyone else out there differante between Critical, Major and Minor? How do you determine what suppliers you will audit? I have some ideas but would like to see how others are doing it for more ideas.



Supplier Evaluation


We audit our suppliers only during the first time when we add them to our Approved Vendors database. Thereafter, we monitor their performance through various criteria (e.g. delivery time, quality of products, etc.). If they fail to meet our requirements, the same will be logged. Suppliers we fail often, are audited again to ascertain their conformance to stay on our approved vendor database.

As for the critical, major & minor - I feel it really depends on what sort of material you are buying from that supplier. If it is a raw material which is going to decide the quality of your final product, I would rate it as 'critical'. Any other item which is used to test the quality of your final product, can be classified as 'major'. I can't elaborate this how we do it in our organisation, as we are in service industry.

Hope I have answered your queries.




You may choose to single source some items because the tool-up cost for multiple suppliers would not be cost effective. Some companies break their materials down based on lead time, cost or the detrimental effect not having the product could have on shipments, etc. Some companies will classify materials a "A Class, B Class and C Class comodities to differentiate the type of controls they have over certain suppliers.

In one company I worked for, if we chose to single source a material to a supplier that was not "ISO Certified", and not having this product on time would have a significant effect on shipments to our customers, then we would physically audit this supplier.

Hope this helps,
Top Bottom