There are no two ways about it: supplier quality is critical to business.
An organization's money and reputation can quickly swirl down the drain if its supplier forces it into a precarious position. When your supply chain is disrupted, it translates to lost profits for you and uneasiness in your customer base.
Many brands turn to a quality control service to help ensure that their suppliers perform to standard. Supplier audits allow brands to focus on their own customers and internal processes while qualified professionals ensure that suppliers are legitimate and productive.
Supplier audits are necessary at every stage of a business partnership. For example:
- Supplier qualification audits allow you to verify the legitimacy of potential new suppliers
- Is it a scam?
- Is the supplier a real manufacturer?
- What are their manufacturing capabilities?
- Extensive factory audits make it easy to evaluate potential new suppliers and monitor the management systems of regular suppliers
- Are local and international regulations followed?
- Can they manufacture my product in the given lead-time?
- Social audits demonstrate your own brand's social responsibility
- Is my supplier socially responsible?
- Are working conditions safe?
- Environmental audits demonstrate your concern to consumers and verify your supplier's commitment to environmentally responsible practices
- What are my supplier's environmentally friendly practices?
- Is my supplier compliant with international environmental regulations?
A Supplier Audit Helps Mitigate Risk
A quality audit can help purchasers assess four critical supplier risks:
Poor Legal Standing of the Supplier’s Operation
Some supplier factories are legally compromised; when this is the case, you run the risk of grappling with unexpected factory shutdowns or government confiscations. Factory audits help verify factories' legal standings. Auditors check business and export licenses, certificates, etc.
Financial Risks, Potential Scams, Etc. Attached to Unverified Suppliers
Overseas production is frequently associated with some increased risk of scams. Some of the most common scams involve money transfers and deposits. A professional quality audit will involve a review of financial records and bank details
Production and/or Shipping Delays Caused by Lack of Organization:
If a shipment delay on your supplier's end compromises your own reputation, that can spell big trouble; adequate quality audits evaluate factory organization to ensure timely production and shipping. ISO9001 standards are used to create audit checklists and ensure compliance
Quality Issues Stemming From Limited Factory QC Checks
When factories do not perform adequate QC checks, product problems usually bleed down to suppliers and end-users. Auditors look for established, internal QC processes when they evaluate a factory; independent QC teams and sampling plans are usually good signs
3 Ways a Supplier Audit Will Help Your Brand
- It will save you money: When you audit your suppliers regularly, it makes it easier to pinpoint and solve repeated problems and track performance; supplier failures are easier to prevent and lose you less money
- You'll know suppliers comply with your standards: You count on your suppliers to comply with your standards-- but a supplier audit will help ensure that you're putting your faith in the right place
- You can ensure continuous quality improvement: Ongoing audits promote continuous quality improvement; when your supplier consistently needs to offer products on-time, defect-free, and according to standards, they're more likely to perform high-quality work in the future
AQF: A User-Friendly Approach to Quality Control