In terms of Quality Assurance & Quality Control, buyers usually focus all the resources available only on the supplier where their products are being produced at. Although it’s a practicable way to centralize it all at one location to lower costs and simplify the process, it’s very important to remember that many of the major quality problems occurred in the past are deeply embedded in faulty components from third party suppliers which it often results in faulty products, customer safety occurrences and recalls.
It is clear that most companies are always keen to improve, however, when trying to take the first step to making some significant improvements in their multi-provider network, many fall well short. Under-the-table agreements, poor communication, and even differences in culture, might obstruct change, and stall the improvement of a product.
Researched and developed by William Deming in the 1950s, the model Plan-Do-Check-Act which is a phase loop used as a development mechanism centered on the analytical problem-solving approach, can be adapted to multitier supply chains and it can serve as a start for many businesses that are willing to leave their comfort zone and transition to a system of constant, long-term improvement of their manufactured products.
Though Deming’s model is simple, the work isn’t easy. Since PDCA splits processes into tiny increments, it can be sluggish, and is generally not a perfect answer for speedy projects. Still, it is an incredibly effective catalyst for quality improvement, increased productivity and budget efficiency in the long run.
Vendu? Discover the 4 steps of the PDCA to begin employing it along with the additional assistance of a third-party quality control organization:
- Supplier Network Map.Mapping of critical suppliers in the multitier supplier network. Suppliers handling unique IP (intellectual property), trade secret, equipment or tooling critical to production.
- Verification Requirements.Definition of inspection and verification requirements that need to flow down to suppliers, especially those critical-to-quality characteristics. Confirmation and verification of qualification of suppliers in lower tiers handling critical-to-quality components.
- Performance Goals.Clear expectation of quality and schedule measures and goals for each program and supplier tier.
- Progress Reports. Visibility of manufacturing progress to scheduled dates on long cycle time made-to-order components. Perhaps even in-process verification of critical-to-quality characteristics as the components are manufactured at the supplier site.
- Performance Measures. Reporting of standard simple metrics that the entire supply chain can use to communicate performance to schedule, quality and collaboration goals.
- Change Control. Ensuring that the respective supplier has received the specification changes and is incorporating the change into the desired effectivity including units in process.
- Verification Results. The earlier there is visibility of any issue with components the better. It is desirable to move more inspection and verification to the supplier site whenever possible. Inspection results should be available electronically along with product delivery date updates allowing calculation of the real capabilities of each supplier to hold the required tolerance levels in specifications.
- Nonconformance Documentation. Whether defects are found before the supplier ships a component, at receiving inspection, or at production, it is necessary to have visibility of defects, non-conformances, and the root-causes identified for those issues. Containment and corrective actions can be initiated with specific suppliers to avoid further shipment of units with critical problems until they are resolved.
- Supplier Audits. Suppliers must be reassessed periodically via supplier audits for compliance to regulatory and contractual requirements. Companies need to maintain visibility of supplier audit history and ongoing audit scheduling arrangements.
- Corrective Actions. Whether tied to poor performance, specific product defects or audit findings, supplier management must maintain visibility of all corrective actions open with suppliers, their respective root-cause investigation, and resolution implementation plans.
The era of networked QA/QC management into multi-tier suppliers has arrived. Is your business ready?
The efforts to extend and adopt standards for the exchange of quality information in the supply chain are far from complete but it is a good time for businesses to engage in these activities to ensure their needs are represented and that standards continue to evolve not only where they produce their goods but also in the entire network of suppliers where their manufacturers purchase components from.
An accredited quality control company can help your company uncover problems before production or order confirmation. You could have an exact understanding of your suppliers' capabilities, quality control system, and management and operating procedures. It also can help evaluate your potential supplier in terms of the company's financial standing and credit, analyzing the commercial risk accordingly.
Set a strong foundation for your business by building business relationships with the right suppliers.
For more information on how a quality control company can assist your business with professional audits, inspections, and testing for your products manufactured in Asia, please contact us at email@example.com