A large number of quality incidents are related to supplier quality issues, but a transformative approach to supplier quality management can address the underlying causes.
Supplier quality issues can have substantial impact on the bottom line of a company. As a result, companies are increasingly focusing on understanding these challenges and addressing them with a proactive and collaborative approach towards supplier quality management.
Over 40 percent of these quality incidents were due to supplier quality issues. Further examination of these supplier quality issues highlighted three main root causes:
- Lack of collaboration in the design phase.
- Lack of a robust quality system or the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Lack of capabilities in manufacturing.
A proactive and collaborative approach to supplier quality management
Every one of the supplier quality issues outlined above could have been avoided if the customer in each case had a fuller understanding of its suppliers’ knowledge, quality assurance processes and manufacturing capabilities. Gaining such an understanding requires companies to move to a model where supplier quality is managed using a proactive and collaborative approach, one that begins early in the product design and supplier selection process and continues through the entire lifecycle of a product and for the duration of their relationship with that supplier. Best-practice in supplier quality is not a quick fix, but a multi-stage journey. Based on experience in multiple quality were identified four essential cornerstones of such an approach:
- Supplier strategy and KPI system.
- Functional supplier quality processes.
- Supplier quality organization and governance.
- Supplier quality mindsets and capabilities.