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Characteristics for Qualifying Suppliers
THE SOURCE CODE BLOG
Believe it or not industrial manufacturing is a relationship business. No matter if you purchase domestically or offshore the greatest gains will be had when strong mutually beneficial relationships exist.
We practice this philosophy by assessing the potential for a long lasting relationship far before ever committing to place a purchase order. Through establishing a mutual working respect we can more effectively manage the quality consistency of our products because both sides have a clear understanding of the common goal.
Of course not all perspective suppliers are willing, or for that matter, capable of committing to a long standing relationship. To help us determine which manufacturer’s best suit our style of business, we created a list of characteristics to evaluate when qualifying potential suppliers.
- Not necessarily a deal breaker (if they don’t have any) but knowing your potential supplier has shipped products successfully into the markets you operate in demonstrates a level of quality, safety, testing and regulatory competency.
- If the supplier has limited experience in markets you do not participate, ensure you evaluate production samples of their products. Don’t be fooled by samples, you need to view concrete examples of their manufacturing expertise.
2. Quality is their #1 Focus
- It’s paramount you and your supplier are on the same page when it comes to acceptable product quality. If you cannot see eye-to-eye when it comes to this, you have not found the right partner.
- When assessing a supplier’s potential, review their quality documents and procedures. This might not give you everything you’ll need but it’s a start.
- One of the best determinations of quality can be completed as you visit and walk through the production floor. Is it clean, are products strewn all over the place, is there lots of waste evident, can containments easily come into contact with goods, etc?
3. Open and Honest:
- Determine if the supplier acts with integrity in all your interactions?
- Do they complete what they say they will?
- Are they receptive to 3rd party involvement?
- Answering these and like questions will provide you a clear insight into the operating mind set of the suppliers management team. As directives and operational procedures are set from the top down.
- Assess how quick the supplier is in replying to your questions, concerns or opportunities.
- Is their communication clear, speed means nothing if confusion persists?
- Do they have English speaking and writing workers on staff?
- It seems obvious that good communication must exist between a supplier and buyer but many western purchasers are often left in the dark. Not an acceptable situation as far as we are concerned.
- How willing is your supplier to get you the answers you require?
- Are they ensuring their providing you the best service?
- How interested are they in doing business with you, do you feel like a priority or an after though?
- By seeking the solutions to these questions (and more) you should be able to get a good handle on the attitude your supplier is taking towards your business.
All the 5 characteristics listed above reflect our internal company values and therefore might not align with your organizational needs or operating style. That’s ok. The important aspect to remember is to know your company’s core values and qualify suppliers based on those criteria. By doing so you’ll give yourself and your supply chain the best chance at prospering over the long-term.
That’s it for today. Stay tuned for the next weeks post.