When you are in need of a service or product, you always have to search for a supplier that can meet your requirements. Some people just go to a business and access the product it provides without thinking too much, but this happens when the importance of the product and service isn’t that relevant. For example, do you need one, two, or just a dozen products? We are sure you can find it in different stores and businesses if you search a bit unless you are trying to find something unique for your company.
With the services you require, it may be a bit different due to the capabilities of a company to fulfill your needs and requirements at the same time. So, how do you know if the supplier you are about to contract or hire is the right one for what you need? Can they meet all your requirements or even exceed them?
This is the question many people—not only you at some point—ask themselves in order to choose the right supplier and not one that won’t even get close to what they are looking for. Then, how can you make sure a supplier won’t fail in its promise and job in general that could affect the company that decided to hire it? You can determine if your supplier—or someone else’s—still has high-quality standards and components by conducting a supplier audit.
Supplier audits are useful when you consider the information you can obtain from them, starting with the ability of quality and delivery of the supplier. For example, does it deliver a high-quality part or components as before? Or even better? What about the delivery? Does it meet the deadlines and it never misses one?
These are questions that can be answered when you conduct a supplier audit and this is why you will see so many people and companies looking for someone who can conduct it for them.
If you are here reading about this, you probably have two reasons behind:
- Your company or business wants to provide, plan, and conduct Supplier Audits for customers and clients in order for them to get the necessary information.
- You need to conduct them for your own company to determine if your suppliers are meeting your requirements and maintaining a level of quality and delivery.
Both can apply at the same time since every company needs a supplier at some point, and if you want to make sure you’re choosing or keeping the right one next to you, you must have a Supplier Audit at least once a year.
Now, what does it take to conduct one? Is it too difficult or any different from the rest? Just like any other audit, you must meet several standards and requirements established in the documentation.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to conduct nor plan one properly and the results you will get won’t be the real ones. Now, can you get prepared to conduct them without problems? For both your company and someone else’s? Absolutely.
When do people require and conduct a Supplier Audit?
There are several times where an audit of this type is required. However, most of the time, companies and people overall that decide or need to carry out one are trying to determine if their current suppliers are still the best options they have. Let’s be honest, when you hire some or make a contract with a supplier it is because you are sure—at that moment—it can meet everything you need and follow all your requirements.
But what makes you think it will always be like that? Suppliers need to improve themselves and their operations if they want to remain relevant and competitive. Otherwise, what will happen is exactly what companies are trying to find with Supplier Audits: if they meet the requirements or even better, exceed them, if they don’t, finding another supplier will be the first move from anyone.
But what makes people change from suppliers even when finding a new one is also a risk for them? Well, Supplier Audits can also be conducted when someone is about to hire a new one. After all, the main goal of the audit is to examine the quality of the supplier, its products or services, and how reliable it is when it comes to delivery.
And this can apply for both situations: with a supplier the customer has had its entire life, or with a new one that it is thinking about hiring. For companies that are trying to examine and evaluate their current suppliers, the audit might be more important than in other cases. Why? Because there is always a risk that comes from the supplier itself.
For example, if it is unable to continue with the current delivery and provide high-quality parts and components for the company, it will affect the production and sales of it.Therefore, the best option is to cut the problem from the root before it actually starts to be a problem. Of course, companies that want to get rid of the current supplier and find a new one need to be 100% sure that the one they will hire isn’t only better than the previous one but rather 10 times more efficient.
Which takes us to the need of conducting another Supplier Audit in this case.
For who can you conduct and plan a Supplier Audit?
For anyone who requests it. Most companies that provide these audits think that the only people interested in conducting them are those who have large businesses. However, small businesses or even particulars with only specific needs might also require an audit.
Therefore, don’t close your options and possibilities. If you are willing to provide this type of audit or conduct them for your company as well, you will find yourself in many situations. Now, is it difficult to conduct them? It is not if you have been certified and qualified for the entire process. Just like other companies and areas, auditing also has its own ISO standard to follow and meet every requirement.
This one is ISO 9001 and you will find all the guidelines and requirements your company needs to follow to conduct Supplier Audits. However, other standards are also involved depending on the audit you are conducting. For example, if the supplier provides aerospace components and parts, you need to be familiarized with the ISO standards from the quality management system of this industry.
And the same applies to other suppliers and their industries. There is a lot to do if you want to go through this path and allow your company to conduct it properly.
Does this audit analyze quality and delivery only?
No, this is a very common mistake for people to make. During a Supplier Audit, quality and delivery might be the most important or relevant aspects for the company that requires it and wants to know the current status of the supplier. However, they are not the only ones.
The company or person that wants to conduct an audit on its supplier needs to find information about every process and documentation. Therefore, you—as the company or entity providing the audit, or conducting it—must go through all the areas of the supplier and every process:
- Manufacturing process.
- Engineering process.
- Shipment process.
- Identify non-conformance in any of the departments and processes.
Supplier Audits can be conducted for the company itself, which means that—for example—you can plan and conduct it on one of your suppliers to determine the previous aspects. But they can also be conducted on behalf of someone else. However, most of the time companies decide to conduct it themselves to make sure the audit is focused on looking for the main aspects and elements they care about.
But any company or person that wants and needs to conduct one needs to worry about all the standards and certifications required. You cannot conduct an audit without the correct guidelines nor without meeting the requirements established in different documents. Which one are you? Do you need to conduct it for you or are you trying to provide Supplier Audits for other businesses and companies?
Whatever it is, make sure to keep your ISO needs in check if you don’t want to miss the ability and capability of managing your own audit program. There is a long way to go if you want to get certified and specialized in this type of audit. ISO 9001 is just the beginning of it, and the more standards you want or need to implement, the more certifications you will have to obtain.
Most people who want to carry out these audits have a hard time keeping up with the ISO standards and needs, and it is completely normal. After all, every ISO contains dozens of requirements and long guidelines you will find useful and necessary but also a bit hard to understand and follow. Therefore, if you find yourself needing help to start or keep updated with all the standards make sure to contact us.
At ISO Pros, we are specialists in ISOs and this allows us to assist and support companies like you that need a hand to continue operating under the requirements and specifications established in the standards. We have different options available, and since Supplier Audits involve several standards depending on your needs or the specific requirements, you will find ISO standards from all industries.
In simpler words, there is no standard we can’t help you to implement and get certified in. We are a validated company that will not only support you but also provides the certification.
How do you know if you—or other companies—need to conduct it?
Most companies that require a Supplier Audit is because they need to verify their compliance with their supplier’s products and processes. In this way, they can determine if they need or want to continue with the same supplier.
Other reasons include:
- If the company needs to improve its ROA (Return on Auditing).
- Some businesses need to conduct mutual and beneficial audits to their company and supplier.
- Companies need flexibility and consistently structured supplier audit services.
- Need to determine if the supplier is willing to improve the current parts, components, and services it is providing.
- Study and analyze the quality management system of not only the supplier but also the company itself to determine the compliance.
We are sure you will feel and be identified with many of these reasons that show you that certainly, you need to conduct a Supplier Audit on your own company and suppliers. However, you will have many companies and businesses coming your way for the same reasons and goals, and even more.
Therefore, if you want to be prepared for it, make sure to contact us and let us know your standard and ISO needs to keep everything on track.