Why supplier quality management is important to prevent disruption of supply chain in 2021?

In today world, there is no one entity that is able to transform raw materials from natural resources completely too finished goods for the mass consumer market or end users.  The transformation of raw material to semi-finished goods and finally finished goods took place in several manufacturing facilities which form a supply chain.   Material supply chain links upstream raw material suppliers to downstream consumer market through multitier supplier. 

For example, smartphone manufacturer will assemble parts from memory card modules, PCBA, battery pack, mechanical part assembly, frame which are procure from various tier one suppliers.  Tier one suppliers in turn will either have capability to assemble lower level semi-finished goods to a module assembly or fabricate parts from semi processed raw materials.  An example would a battery module manufacturer will procure battery cells from supplier and assembled into battery module or they would also have tier 2 capability to produce their own battery cells. 

Most of the worlds manufacturing hubs are concentrated in Asia mainly China  and majority of the consumer are outside of Asia such as US.  This means we will have a long chain from manufacturing of the parts to the consumer. 

According to a Bloomberg article by Anjani Trivedi the world is marred by disruption in supply  which impact the global market.   This is cause by lack of trust along supply chain and the consumer will feel the pain of price increase with limited supply.   This happen due to the lack of trust.  Therefore the next question would be how to cultivate trust a long the supply chain.  Most of the company who are suffering from lacking of supplier trust are due no or poor supplier quality management program. 

A good supplier quality management program must in place to gain trust and resulted in  

  • Supplier is able to deliver consistent good quality part
  • On time delivery
  • At best price for both parties 

1.The criteria for a good supplier quality management are

  • Systematic approach in Essential areas such as supplier qualification, product qualification etc
  • Well supplier quality management professional to execute the program

To learn about systematic approach in supplier quality management do refer to  this link or click on the photo below

Supplier Quality Audit Plan for New Suppliers

The purpose of the onsite audit is to assess the supplier capability to produce consistently good quality parts.   

You will need to work with your procurement team on the supplier's  selection process for a project.   Brief them importance of SQE early involvement for you to understand each supplier better and then establish an audit plan.  There is no such thing as supplier is going to ship the part tomorrow and you are ask to audit them today.  Supplier and SQE engagement should be 4-6 months ahead before they can supply the 1st part shipment according to the development schedule.  You will also need to prepare for the supplier audit plan.

The SQE supplier audit plan should consist of:-

  1. Supplier contact details
  2. Audit ground rules
  3. SQE audit schedule
  4. Establish quality audit checklist 
  5. Set Audit date
  6. Audit notification





Supplier contact details


Who are the main contact point. Get supplier organization chart to understand who are the key person in key dept quality, process, 



Audit ground rules

Establish a set of audit ground rules where supplier must ready to procedures, objective evidence and records during SQE onsite audit, etc.  


Audit schedule

SQE should establish a schedule which covers end to end of the process start from material receiving, manufacturing process till shipment.  All sub process must be audited as well. 


Establish quality audit checklist 

SQE should establish the audit checklist for quality system and process base on their expertise in commodity process and quality engineering. You can down load a copy of how to develop audit checklist on the resource page of this website


Set the audit date

The audit date had to match supplier production schedule to produce the similar part of interest


Audit notification

Once all the above items are ready, send audit notification to suppliers 

Audit plan is part of audit preparation process in supplier audit phase.  Supplier audit phase is consist of audit preparation, performing audit, reporting result and audit closure.   It does not matter whether it is an onsite or remote audit,  the process is still the same.

You can enroll in my course @ Udemy for more detail supplier quality audit which explains

1. Different types of supplier audit  with quality system and quality process audit checklist for download

2.  The four supplier audit phases

3. Auditing techniques which will enable you to become an expert in quality audits

You can click on the image for link to this course or scan the QR code :-

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