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Supplier Performance Issue - Seeking Advice

P

piney

#1
We have a supplier performance issue with one of our suppliers of hydraulic leveling devices. There are two purchase orders outstanding with this supplier, the first being overdue by almost 4 months.

The supplier has been contacted numerous times to provide an updated status on the orders. When we have called them they indicate that the only person that can provide the information is the owner/manager. When we call he is conveniently out of the office. I find it hard to believe that he is away every time he has been called. It almost seems that he is avoiding us. I left a message with the receptionist yesterday afternoon for the owner to get back to us with status. I am not optimistic he will return the call.

Also I find it hard to believe that no one else can provide the status. They must have a production schedule they are following. They should be able to tell us what percentage completion there is of each item.

I am wondering if it would be beneficial for someone from our quality department to visit their facilities to audit the progress on the order to physically see the work completed, work in progress, etc. on these orders.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
 
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Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#2
piney said:
We have a supplier performance issue with one of our suppliers of hydraulic leveling devices. There are two purchase orders outstanding with this supplier, the first being overdue by almost 4 months.

The supplier has been contacted numerous times to provide an updated status on the orders. When we have called them they indicate that the only person that can provide the information is the owner/manager. When we call he is conveniently out of the office. I find it hard to believe that he is away every time he has been called. It almost seems that he is avoiding us. I left a message with the receptionist yesterday afternoon for the owner to get back to us with status. I am not optimistic he will return the call.

Also I find it hard to believe that no one else can provide the status. They must have a production schedule they are following. They should be able to tell us what percentage completion there is of each item.

I am wondering if it would be beneficial for someone from our quality department to visit their facilities to audit the progress on the order to physically see the work completed, work in progress, etc. on these orders.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
It seems clear that the supplier doesn't want your business. They're probably waiting for you to get disgusted and cancel the orders, and they're probably amazed that at four months past the due date for the first order, and a similar period of stonewalling, you haven't done so already. If you can buy these things from someone else, you should do so, but only after identifying the reason(s) that this supplier doesn't like you.
Assuming that I'm wrong, the supplier might be having some sort of financial difficulties, or your order might be being pushed back by orders the supplier considers more desireable. If the supplier accepted a purchase order and you feel you have some leverage, you can (a) threaten to cancel the order unless you see some action and (b) hint that you might be inclined to get lawyers involved, and mention the phrase specific performance.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#3
piney said:
We have a supplier performance issue with one of our suppliers of hydraulic leveling devices. There are two purchase orders outstanding with this supplier, the first being overdue by almost 4 months.

The supplier has been contacted numerous times to provide an updated status on the orders. When we have called them they indicate that the only person that can provide the information is the owner/manager. When we call he is conveniently out of the office. I find it hard to believe that he is away every time he has been called. It almost seems that he is avoiding us. I left a message with the receptionist yesterday afternoon for the owner to get back to us with status. I am not optimistic he will return the call.

Also I find it hard to believe that no one else can provide the status. They must have a production schedule they are following. They should be able to tell us what percentage completion there is of each item.

I am wondering if it would be beneficial for someone from our quality department to visit their facilities to audit the progress on the order to physically see the work completed, work in progress, etc. on these orders.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I don't want to alarm you, but there is something terribly wrong.

You should have been out there in person the second week you got a stall.

I once got one of these runarounds, only to learn on the 15th day when I showed up at the front door that the owner had died of an asthma attack 3 weeks earlier and his widow was keeping the news quiet while she systematically looted the company to beat out taxes and creditors. It was VERY messy.

BEFORE you go, make sure you have a backup supplier in hand. You may have to call the backup from the parking lot of the tardy supplier if you find sheriff's sale signs all over the place.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#4
There are many things you could have done before the situation reached this stage, but that's scolding and you don't need to hear that now. Get this problem resolved and we'll talk later about how to prevent it in the future.
 
#5
piney said:
I am wondering if it would be beneficial for someone from our quality department to visit their facilities to audit the progress on the order to physically see the work completed, work in progress, etc. on these orders.
It would seem that a meeting of some kind is necessary. An audit? Maybe, provided there is anything to audit...

You are in trouble, and need to go there and find out what the problem is. Audit or not is beside the point, just go. Besides, What is there to audit if they are not working on your product?

P.s. How do you survive a four month delay??? :mg:

/Claes
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#6
piney said:
We have a supplier performance issue with one of our suppliers of hydraulic leveling devices...

I am wondering if it would be beneficial for someone from our quality department to visit their facilities to audit the progress on the order to physically see the work completed, work in progress, etc. on these orders.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I agree with the other replies. This is not a quality issue. This is a business disruption that needs to be addressed at the highest level. If they ignore your phone calls, they won't have any respect for a "supplier audit."
 
C

Cordon - 2007

#7
hjilling said:
I agree with the other replies. This is not a quality issue. This is a business disruption that needs to be addressed at the highest level. If they ignore your phone calls, they won't have any respect for a "supplier audit."
I would be wary of the incoming parts (if they do ship); the delay may be due to quality issues. I think we have all ran into this before, late shipments = poor quality.Of course this would not be true all the time but I always get nervous when suppliers are late on shipments.

:2cents:
 
J

Joe Cruse

#8
hjilling said:
I agree with the other replies. This is not a quality issue. This is a business disruption that needs to be addressed at the highest level. If they ignore your phone calls, they won't have any respect for a "supplier audit."

I agree with this also. A threat of coming to do a "quality audit" is likely useless. Your company's top management will have to deal with this. Your company needs someone from top brass to go and see the facility, not a quality auditor. Only when the "Money" starts talking will anything get resolved (or the lawyers), and maybe not even then. I'd for sure want a backup supplier. That being said, since you are ISO, you will have to document this in your system, since you have a VERY nonconforming supplier issue.

Good luck.
 
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