Enterprise-wide quality goals cannot be met in silos. It is a continuous process where every stage in your product or service lifecycle must follow the prescribed quality standards. This is what makes an enterprise-wide quality management system a must if you are planning to become ISO 9001 compliant.
While you can have control over your internal processes, you also need to associate with suppliers who are ISO 9001 compliant or follow quality practices that meet your needs and requirements.
Supplier Management with ISO 9001
ISO 9001 is a complete quality management guideline that helps you with the purchasing process as well. It is a risk-based approach that also helps you assess your suppliers based on the following criteria:
- Top management commitment to quality
- Their customer focus
- Adequacy of resources
- Employee competence
- Process management across functions
- Quality planning
- Product design
- Service quality
- Order review
- Monitoring and measurement of its processes
- Customer complaints handling
- Corrective actions
- Continuous improvement
- Customer satisfaction
Your Role as the Customer
While you assess the risks of purchasing from a particular supplier, you also have a responsibility to follow certain guidelines when placing an order. ISO 9001 recommends the following:
- Specify your requirements to your suppliers such that they clearly understand your needs. Get inputs from your technical staff so that the specification is accurate, meets your stated needs and the intended use of the product or service. It should also meet all the applicable regulatory requirements.
- Specify approvals that confirm the quality of the supplied products and services that conform to your requirements
- Request a visit to the supplier premises to monitor or inspect on an ongoing basis
Implications of Supplier ISO 9001 Compliance
If your supplier claims to be ISO 9001 compliant or certified, which is good news, it means that they have a systematic approach to quality management. ISO does not certify organizations. However, it provides a set of requirements that form the foundation for the supplier to ensure consistency of products and services if implemented well. Such suppliers meet their customers’ needs and expectations and comply with relevant regulations.
As a customer, make your requirements clear as well as refer to the supplier’s documentation about the products and services specifications, drawings, national or international standards, and catalogs.
ISO 9001 also requires the supplier to ensure customer satisfaction, act on customer feedback and deal with any complaints. As a customer, you should be provided with a communication channel to register your complaints, if any. If it is not dealt with satisfactorily, it can be escalated to the certification body who will investigate the problems and facilitate its rectification. If that too does not resolve the matter, you can further escalate it to the accreditation body and the International Accreditation Forum as a last resort. This can be in parallel to initiating legal action.
A quality management system such as the one from ComplianceQuest, built on the scalable and cloud-based Salesforce.com, is ideally suited for supplier qualification and management. It meets ISO’s requirements of providing the requirements in detail to the suppliers to ensure quality of products and services supplied. It also enables communication of feedback and escalation where required. If you would like to manage your suppliers better, contact us here:
Find more information on our supplier management solution here:
Here’s also more information on our Supplier Readiness app, as part of our Work.com product line:http://www.compliancequest.com/supplier-readiness/