Supplier Quality - How to classify a supplier level

duff999

Involved In Discussions
#1
I have a question on how to rate the level of a supplier. Currently developing a SOP and listed my supplier level as follows: Is it practicable to add a Level 3 and classify them as a conditional supplier? Any thoughts would be appreciated

  1. Level 1 Supplier
    1. Level 1 suppliers provide a product that can be fully verified through receiving inspection, additional testing, or other methods. Level 1 suppliers are required to be maintained on the Approved Supplier List
  2. Level 2 Supplier
    1. Level 2 suppliers provide a service that cannot be fully verified upon receipt, such as calibration service, consultants, shipping companies or outside laboratory services. Level 2 suppliers are required to be maintained on the Approved Supplier List.
 
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pziemlewicz

Involved In Discussions
#2
Mine were developed using risk-based approach with different approval requirements for each category:
A- Contract Manufacturing + Outside Service
B- Custom Part with Tooling
C- Custom Part without Tooling
D- Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)
E- Engineering (not validated)
 

pziemlewicz

Involved In Discussions
#3
Is it practicable to add a Level 3 and classify them as a conditional supplier?
It's possible, but not advised. This is candy for an auditor. What situation would require you to bypass approval/validation/inspection required by your other categories?
 

duff999

Involved In Discussions
#4
I thought of using the conditional supplier level for suppliers who were not approved through the system yet. They still would be subject to the incoming inspection process.
 

pziemlewicz

Involved In Discussions
#5
I thought of using the conditional supplier level for suppliers who were not approved through the system yet. They still would be subject to the incoming inspection process.
Still risky. How would a Purchasing Manager or Incoming Inspector know which device components could be changed and which require regulatory notification?

Assuming you're design-responsible, you'd be better off handling it via deviation process with required sign-off by Quality, Regulatory, and Engineering.
 

duff999

Involved In Discussions
#6
Good comments, thank you. I wasn't sure if there was an industry standard on classifying the level of supplier. We do want all suppliers on our ASL, but wanted a holding place while we are going through the approval process with them, waiting for surveys, etc to come back, and thought of using the Level 3 as a place to put suppliers who fail to meet our requirements or have had bad rating in our system
 

yodon

Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
I wasn't sure if there was an industry standard on classifying the level of supplier.
Nope. I use one very similar to what @pziemlewicz laid out.

using the Level 3 as a place to put suppliers who fail to meet our requirements or have had bad rating in our system
I also agree that purchasing from a supplier that is not approved is not a good idea. If they fail to meet your requirements or they are failing to comply with your requirements, but you still need to use them, you can approve them but increase the level of receiving inspection (or whatever is done to verify the purchased product / service) or impose tighter controls on the supplier. I think most folks will document this (and the rationale for continued use) as part of the supplier file and roll it into the purchasing process.

One thing about surveys - I've only seen one that I thought really drove good supplier acceptance and management. Most are just check-the-box activities.
 

duff999

Involved In Discussions
#8
Thanks again for the good comments. I just wanted to be sure I could defend things if asked. There are times we may want to purchase things from a one time supplier, or possibly ebay for some equipment. I could justify the equipment by doing a validation process.
 
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