Working closer and better with Suppliers - Practical ideas to improve?

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Lily123

#1
Hi,
The company I work for buy in many machined parts (from a few suppliers) that need to fit together quite accurately dimension wise.
My self (Quality) and Mechanical Engineer (in R&D) are looking two-fold at improving this.
Our initial ideas are to :

1) Ensure incoming inspection utilise Technical Drawings in a meaningful way - measuring critical dimensions and follow sampling plans guidelines from ISO 2859-1.
2) Now we want some push back to Suppliers, can we ask what they consider critical on their out-going checks ? - or do we dictate to them what to check, dependant on what really matters to us, later down the line on our processes re. form,fit,function ?

How can we progress on getting a Supplier First Parts inspection and acceptance report ? Is this the same as a FAIR Report, how does this work ?
What about a Certificate of conformity from the Suppliers with each batch, does this help? Do we specify what they should check ?

We are in very early stages of this project, so any ideas appreciated, Thanks :thanx:
 
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Michael_M

Trusted Information Resource
#2
As the buyer you can ask for anything you want (inspection reports, SPC data, etc), however you will probably have to pay for the 'extra', increasing the part price.

How can we progress on getting a Supplier First Parts inspection and acceptance report ? Is this the same as a FAIR Report, how does this work ?
Typically a FAIR is produced once. There are a few things that will require a new FAIR (per AS9102). Has 2 or more years elapsed since the part was produced last, was there a change in the production that will affect form, fit, or function, is the item being produced at a different location, and has a revision change occurred.

Where I work, we have an inspection report for one of our customers that looks very much like a FAI (removed all references to AS9102) and form 3 is all one page. This gets filled out with the data from one part per manufacturing lot.

The best advice I can give is talk to the suppliers and see what they can do to ensure the parts are made to print and supply this data to you on a regular basis. They may already do this for one or more of there other customers and it always makes it easier if you work with them instead of dictating to them.
 
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jmann

#3
I am in the mindset of collaborating with your suppliers and have them understand what is Critical to your operations and your customers. From that, both parties can align on critical dimensions.

The second thing also is that have your suppliers demonstrate their capability in producing these components throughout multiple production lots/batches and understand if low/high frequency checks are required. If there is a critical dimension that is deemed extremely important, start to work together on in-line fail safes that will reject these nonconformances.

Be cautious of CoA/CoC type documents without going through the exercise of understanding items such as Samples Size, Frequency, and Gage Error. Also be mindful of what you want to understand. If you are dealing with variable data, consider having Cpk targets (assuming they have their process already in control) or some variation so you can understand how centered their process is and what variation exists.
 
D

DrM2u

#4
Now we want some push back to Suppliers, can we ask what they consider critical on their out-going checks ? - or do we dictate to them what to check, dependant on what really matters to us, later down the line on our processes re. form,fit,function ?
For what is worth, I suggest that you and your supplier compare apples to apples when it comes to product quality. To me, this means:
- You tell your supplier what is important to you regarding product quality (fit, form, function), just like your customers tell you what is important to them
- You can ask your supplier for input regarding manufacturability in the early stages of product and/or development, since they are the experts at what they do; they can tell you what can be made and what can be measured
- You should come to a common understanding regarding what is measured and what methods and tools are used; a PPAP or an equivalent method of process approval would help much
- Try to use the same methods and tools like your supplier for incomming product inspection; this way, you can check eachother's tools when differences are identified, before blaming the supplier for NC product. You can also interchange gauges when needed, comapre gauge MSA studies, etc.

I hope this helps. Best wishes!
 
A

amit_rd

#5
Congratulations for bringing a very important topic indeed!

I recommend creating a real partnership model with the suppliers. The model should be phased into - Introduction, steps of knowing each others strengths and weaknesses (This helps in knowing where to ask for help and where to support) and finally to establish a robust communication model.

For critical product characteristics you may do a joint exercise with the suppliers - FMEA and Characteristics matrices may be utilized.

The result should be focused on process control and reduced level of inspection.

I know it is easy to say then do - But once done it brings fantastic results, and this I claim based on experience.
 
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#6
2) Now we want some push back to Suppliers, can we ask what they consider critical on their out-going checks ? - or do we dictate to them what to check, dependant on what really matters to us, later down the line on our processes re. form,fit,function ?
Working closer and better with suppliers has a long way to go and needs ongoing good management and relationship building.
From your form, fit, function requirements, what are your CTQ (Critical to Quality) and why ?
Can you explain and demonstrate them to your supplier core technical team ...
Find out from them how your documentation fits into meeting your CTQ requirements. Be ready and willing to make changes to your documents so as to get from suppliers what you desire finally.
Impress upon them the need for process validations if any, so that your parts are in good process controlled environment and effective change management. This will avoid surprises and build confidence between customer and supplier.
These can then lead into suppliers inspection and acceptance report / Certificate of conformance. The underlying aspect in these are confidence building, which is more important than the reports and certificates.
 
L

Lily123

#7
Thanks for all replies,
One difficulty we have is that our measurement tools are not on par with the Supplier (they are machine shop, and have sophisticated guages) - we still have to catch up and spend some money..

One step forward we achieved in last few days is we have identified another CTQ dimension on Engineering drawing (critical for us in our assembly) this new information has been passed to supplier for their inspection criteria (and our Incoming Inspectors also)
The PPAP sounds like the way to go, I will read up about it !! Thanks
 
J

JoeDM

#8
An approach we took was to take our best inspector and make him a source inspector. The source inspector trained the suppliers' quality people in how to measure, what tools to use and what the most critical features were.

Because we had few suppliers, and the suppliers were guarranteed a certain amount of business which was more or less predictable, they were willing to invest in equipment that was as good as ours, and in some cases better. In some cases we loaned equipment to suppliers.

The result was fewer bottle necks at incoming inspection since the product was already inspected, fewer defects found in production, and higher quality components. This didn't happen overnight though. It took several years.

Suppliers want to do a good job. After all, they want your money and your continued business. Closely working with suppliers is key.

I don't see a lot of value in dealing with suppliers half way around the world, who speak a different language and are expensive to visit. The purchase price might be lower, but what about total cost?
 
P

PaulJSmith

#9
This is an excellent thread.

One of our company's biggest suppliers is also the worst performer. In the past, they had not been held to much account for their quality failings. Now that we have a full time Quality Department (me), I've found it a challenge to approach that accountability, as many of our older drawings didn't even contain tolerances.

The supplier's issues are internal; mostly personnel, but some process. Now that we have opened a greater dialog with them, they have been very receptive to our needs and requirements. Seeing that we are making changes on our end as we continue to grow has helped to motivate them to do the same. We're not just beating them up; they see that we're fixing our issues, too.

I know it's a well-beated horse :)deadhorse:), but communication really is key.
 
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