Supplier Audits - Creative ways to gain confidence in the next Supplier

fcowdery

Starting to get Involved
#1
We are evaluating a supplier to assemble some cable assemblies for us.

We've had quality issues with previous suppliers so Im looking for creative ways to gain confidence in the next supplier.

Is it appropriate to ask a supplier for references from like customers?

Like customers being other Medical Device Manufacturers.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#2
Is it appropriate to ask a supplier for references from like customers?
I don't see any problems for you to ask for customer references. Keep in mind, though, the prospective supplier might be selective about such references and only offer names of customers that, they know, would give this supplier good ratings.

Make sure you focus on customers with similar products. Cable assemblies and harnesses vary wildly in size, complexity, grades, etc...To ensure that you are assessing the supplier's capabilities, I would filter, as you said, for similar customers, but, further, similar product lines.

Good luck.
 

Mark Meer

Trusted Information Resource
#4
Agreed with Sidney...

But in our experience getting references can be difficult/problematic for 2 reasons:
1. Suppliers are reluctant to disclose such information
2. (as Sidney points out) Suppliers will selectively choose good references

Obviously there are many other things you can additionally do. Some common ones are:
1. Negotiate a supplier agreement in advance
2. Verify that they have a quality system in place - preferably one that involves regular 3rd-party audits (i.e. one certified by an accredited organization)
3. Facility inspections (if resources permit)
4. Inspection of product samples

Also, draw from your previous experience. You say you had issues with the previous supplier? What were they? Previous supplier non-conformities is a great opportunity for investigation and preventive action...

Best of luck!
MM
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#5
Share your dirty laundry with the (potential) new supplier. Give them the details of the problems you had with the other supplier and ask them:

1) What they think was the root cause of this issue with your other source

2) How their system would prevent this from happening

3) How they would respond if you informed them it had happened anyway

If they're 9001 or similar, ask to see a record of an internal audit and external audit nonconformance, and their response. If they show you their dirty laundry, you have some idea of their approach to things.

If they decline to share, then you have some idea of their response to things.
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
I have suffered with this problem for several decades now. In my experience quality system audits are a very weak approach. Be very careful about certification and "references": some larger suppliers may be certified and have a satisfied customer base for one facility but not the facility that will be doing the work for you.

A supplier visit to assess that they have the equipment capable of assembling YOUR products and testing them is essential. Have their engineering staff demonstrate and discuss their capabilities with your expert engineering staff. Look at the manufacturing floor, is there a lot of WIP? Is there a lot of non conforming material? What are their rework processes? Ask to follow a few supplier corrective actions from complaint to resolution - in detail, don't just look to see if the boxes were checked. Talk to the engineers and Manufacturing manager - how do they feel about Custoermcomplaints - move past platitudes about quality adn delighting the Customer...ask for detailed examples. Go to the bathroom in the lobby and/or 'executive area'. Then go to the bathroom for the manufacturing folks. Are they equally bright and clean? This is a huge red flag for me...
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Go to the bathroom in the lobby and/or 'executive area'. Then go to the bathroom for the manufacturing folks. Are they equally bright and clean? This is a huge red flag for me...
Yes – intangibles like this are important, and many people would not to think to look for them! :agree1:

How do they treat the employees? Do they look happy or miserable? Would you wanna work there? What does the internal and external building/grounds maintenance look like? Does the tour guide even know the names of the employees on the shop floor? Is the equipment old and worn or newer and well maintained? Is it clean? Is it safe?

As Sidney said, by all means, you can ask for references.

I gotta admit, even after the best of efforts, sometimes you will still pick a stinker. One of my biggest failures as far as a new supplier I recommended we bring on to replace a poor performer turned out to be an even worse performer. There is still risk involved….so don't ditch the current supplier completely yet!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
M Supplier Audits - Stop Wasting Everyone's Time! General Auditing Discussions 15
Ed Panek Corona Virus impact on Supplier Audits and Received Parts ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 4
P Supplier Audits in the wake of COVID-19 ISO 14971 - Medical Device Risk Management 3
Genofear Customer wants to audit our supplier audits - seems inappropriate General Auditing Discussions 11
A Supplier Process Audits - Creation of Reports General Auditing Discussions 3
K Is evidence of second party audits required for every supplier? AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 2
J Supplier Assessment Questionnaire for Second-Party Audits IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 2
W IATF 16949 Clause 8.4.2.4.1 Second Party Audits (Supplier Management) IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 45
R Telephonic supplier audits! General Auditing Discussions 6
P Challenge Supplier Process Audits to VDA 6.3 VDA Standards - Germany's Automotive Standards 1
L Sourcing Audit Schedule for Supplier Audits IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 3
S Supplier Audits - What to Audit when a Supplier is not Certified Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 11
V Is there an approach to define the "must 'or' should" in supplier audits? US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2
T Are Supplier Audits Required by ISO 9001:2008? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 11
O Vendor (Supplier) Responsibility - Re: Quality Audits 21 CFR Part 820 - US FDA Quality System Regulations (QSR) 5
S Excipient Manufacturers - Supplier Risk Assessments when they refuse Customer Audits Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 5
H Medical Device Vendor (Supplier) Audits - Foreign Languages and Translations General Auditing Discussions 7
G Auditor Requirements - AS9100 Vendor (Supplier) Audits Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 2
J Audit Programme - Include CB Audits, Customer Audits, Supplier Audits? General Auditing Discussions 18
E Supplier Audits - How often do you need to Audit your Supplier Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 22
J Initial Supplier Audits In Person or Not? Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Standards and Requirements 4
S Supplier Development Process failed - Question regarding sub-suppiler audits IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 4
S Second party audits - Supplier audits or product audits? Internal Auditing 7
J Who should conduct Supplier Evaluation Audits? Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 12
ScottK Is using a 3rd party auditor for supplier audits a big trend? Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 14
G What to present for 'Lessons Learned" from audits to Sony Ericsson - Supplier to SE Misc. Quality Assurance and Business Systems Related Topics 2
S Dock Audits as part of Supplier Containment Action Nonconformance and Corrective Action 3
M Supplier Monitoring - Do we need to do Supplier Audits? - TS16949 Clause 7.4.3.2 IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 7
W Supplier / contract testing facility audits - Small start-up - Medical devices Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 8
M Supplier Audits - Sales department wants me to add a section on the environment Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 7
K Supplier Audits - How far do we have to go? How much detail? Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 12
Marc Supplier Audits - Do we have to Rate suppliers? Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 6
B Interest in AS9000 - AlliedSignal Aerospace, doing a lot of supplier audits to this Various Other Specifications, Standards, and related Requirements 1
L Supplier within the Organization ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 5
D Supplier Quality - How to classify a supplier level Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 7
F Supplier Quality Assurance Job Openings - 8/2020 Job Openings, Consulting and Employment Opportunities 0
P Understanding DFMEA and PFMEA - Supplier Related IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 21
S Can assembly manufacturing sub-supplier be certified IATF 16949? IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 6
M How Supplier Capacity check is done by competitors Manufacturing and Related Processes 0
C One Time Service Supplier - Temperature and Humidity Testing Service ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 5
G Supplier management when the supplier is your headquarter IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 3
V Supplier wants to perform pre-qualifications prior to every run instead of locking in parameters. Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 7
D Class 3 Device - Change of supplier of material Canada Medical Device Regulations 6
D List A IVD - Change to material supplier EU Medical Device Regulations 3
J Minimum Supplier Certifications for Food Supplements Food Safety - ISO 22000, HACCP (21 CFR 120) 2
R Supplier/Vendor Surveys (360) Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 1
was named killer AS9100 Supplier Approval Requirements AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 10
B AS9100 8.4.1 Supplier Selection/Evaluation criteria and reevaluations AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 13
J Sub-supplier change from manual to automated process - same specs - Report to FDA? 21 CFR Part 820 - US FDA Quality System Regulations (QSR) 2
M Supplier Audit Report - Template for second party audit wanted Lean in Manufacturing and Service Industries 1

Similar threads

Top Bottom