For companies, there are two main reasons to conduct audits for supplier companies: there is a problem or the issues with the quality management system(QMS).
Mostly, audits in supplier companies are done on a yearly basis, while supplier companies with poor production quality standards are audited on a frequent basis. Whether they are performed for the cause or routinely, audits in supply industries provides great insights into whether the supplier’s product, management systems or processes are according to the defined quality standards. Due to the lack of good understanding related to the activities of the supplier company, buyers will struggle to check if the quality of their product is stable or not.
Doing various audits of supplier companies is important and a good analysis tool for eliminating, identifying, and avoiding quality issues in the supplier’s product, management systems or processes before the issues spread even more. However, there are still various ways to improve the audits for supplier companies.
In order to make sure that the supplier is providing you with the products which are meeting your expected quality and requirements.
Here are some of the useful tips for conducting audits of supplier companies onsite.
Review Before Proceeding with Audit
While preparing for the audit, your auditing team should conduct the review of both the parties, about their responsibilities and expectations as mentioned in the quality control company agreement. In addition, the area of research should include credentials like previous audit reports, the history of the buyer using the product of the supplier, product specifications, importance of the product to the supplier company, manufacturing alternatives, and much more.
In order to make the most out of the audits, prepare the checklists of items to conduct a review based on component, service, or material supplied. There are so many possible measures that manufacturers should consider while checking the quality of supplier’s performance and related activities, including correcting actions, changing controls, complain history, production records, and much more.
Before opting for the audits, supplier companies should find out from where they want to begin the product inspection services. Some common entry points include documentation of manufacturing and complaints of the customer, searching records of production history for out-of-order processing, deviations or missing documents.
Awareness About Suppliers Outsourcing
As companies are adding more buyers these days, adding new components and materials to their business is important, with supply chain maintaining visibility through the entire supply chain has become more challenging. A supplier company having its own suppliers adds a new dimension that hides visibility in a supplier company’s activity.
Don’t Overlook Customer Complaints
Customer complaints and common inspection target should be taken for granted by the supplier company.
At the time of the audit, it is important for you should look at all the customer complaints on products you have purchased from the supplier company. Customer complaints are an important piece of information which tells about the performance and quality of the product when it’s in the use. They are very important in the manufacturing of pharmacies and supplier industries, where the complaint of a product may be the signs of serious safety issues. In both ISO and FDA environments, effective mechanisms to handle the complaints of the customers is considered an important part of the quality system. Moreover, it’s an important factor in making sure about compliance. Efficient and quick handling of complaints can eliminate can reduce the shipments of default manufactured products.
Investigating and capturing complaints received via this channel is important. In this method, the audit team should look of similar complaints to find out whether other customers are having the same issues about not only the same product purchased recently by you but also the supplier’s product line outside of their current purchases.
At the time of an audit, proofs in customer complaints show that the supplier has an issue, that proof will be found through product paperwork. For instance, paperwork shows the product failures or missed shipping dates. A pattern of missed shipping dates often shows that how the manufacturing process is affecting the quality of the product.
Digital Footprint Consideration
Beyond the typical tasks of the audit, the audit teams should look at the digital footprint of the supplier company including their online reviews, websites, and social media platforms.
A good place to begin is the supplier company’s own social media platforms and websites. What products and customer reviews are highlighted by the company on their website? What customers have to say about the offerings of the company? Is the company’s product rated by some top reviewers like CNET, Better Business Bureau, and much more?
It might also be worth to check how supplier company treats their personnel, which says a lot about the company’s approach towards quality. Moreover, before the audit, it is good to investigate the profile of the supplier company on Indeed, Vault, and Glassdoor which offers employment-related information like company reviews, employee salaries, CEO approval ratings, and more.