A supplier's ability to deliver high-quality products and follow compliance determines your company’s success. It's critical to analyze and audit your suppliers before entrusting them to manufacturing products you need to run your business.

Auditing suppliers' factories before engaging one will help you reduce risk and avoid potential quality issues. This article looks at the importance of factory audits before entrusting your suppliers with the satisfaction of your customers.

What Is a Supplier Factory Audit?

Auditing factories involves visiting the manufacturing factory to assess their capabilities, safety management, security, and regulatory compliance. During the audit, you'll evaluate the manufacturing process. Generally, an audit should help you determine the following.

  • Factory profile & experience
  • Employee and workforce
  • Facilities, machinery, and equipment
  • Licences, certificates, etc. (ISO 9001, ROHS, CPSIA, Proposition 65)
  • Quality management system
  • Environmental & Social conditions

Five Reasons Why Auditing Factories Is Important

Conducting a factory audit can be quite costly. On the upside, the process will help you identify quality issues and minimize business risk. Here are five reasons why you should carry out factory audits on your suppliers.

82-New website_Services_Supplier audit_Extensive factory audit_UGC_9403 (1400_575)-1

1. Hedge against potential risk

Carrying out an audit will help you minimize operational, security, and quality risk in advance

2. Verify the quality management system of the supplier

An audit will help you confirm the supplier's quality management system is suitable for your business.

3. You get to see the supplier's operations

Audits will give you a complete picture of how your supplier operates so you can be confident you are choosing a viable source.

4. Ensure that factory conditions are up to standard

A facility audit will verify the working conditions of the factory and ensure that the proper equipment and policies are being used and applied.

5. Confirm that the supplier is following the laid-out regulations.

Performing factory audits helps you identify supplier compliance issues. What's more, identifying underlying issues beforehand will save you valuable time and money.

Choosing the Most Suitable Supplier

The goal of a factory audit is to ensure that you work with suppliers who are suitable for your business. Auditing factories can help you determine the performance of different suppliers and their ability to fulfill your orders. During the audit, your auditor will assess the various suppliers and gauge their performance based on the most important criteria including:

  • Supplier qualification
  • Factory capability
  • Feasible workload

After the audit, you should communicate the corporate values and culture of your business. Your supplier needs to understand the sustainability goals of your organization. Choose to work with suppliers who identify with your values and goals.

When To Carry Out the Supplier Factory Audit

The timing of the factory audit depends on the needs of the business. You should carry out the audit under the following conditions:

  • You need a new supplier for a product.
  • The current supplier is not performing well
  • The supplier is critical to the business
  • It is time to renew of the supply contract
  • Change in production methods

A factory audit will ensure that you work with suppliers who suit your business needs. Regular audits will strengthen the relationship with your suppliers. It's an opportunity to create better partnerships and share knowledge on how to improve business.

Get Your Comprehensive Manufacturing Audit Report

Auditing factories is an important part of your quality assurance program that helps to minimize risk and improve supply chain performance. AQF’s trained and certified auditors conduct an on-site evaluation of a factory based on International Standard, ISO 9001, and evaluate several checkpoints critical to understanding and qualifying your supplier. Our coverage area extends across the globe. 


Contact us to receive a copy of our comprehensive manufacturing audit report sample and visit our website to learn more about our auditing services.


5 Misconceptions of QC Inspection in China


4 Critical Quality Controls For Cosmetics Packaging