Supplier assessments can be postal questionnaires or formal assessments at the supplier’s premises.
Postal questionnaires are used when suppliers must be selected. A questionnaire is sent to the supplier to get information about:
- Company details
- Experience with relevant systems, applications and industries
- Project team members
- The actual quality system
When a postal assessment is successful and the supplier is a real candidate for the project, a formal assessment at the supplier’s premises takes place. The assessment is done by Subjects Matter Experts and Quality Officers of he regulated company. Subjects for inspection with documented evidence are:
- The quality system
- Employee training records
- A skills or capability matrix of the employees
- The organizational structure of the company
- Good Engineering Practices (GEP) procedures in use
- Available environment and equipment for the project
- Examples of similar projects
Important is the contact with potential team members during the assessment. Reference visits may also be required to get a feeling about the supplier’s quality.
When starting a relationship with a new supplier always start with small project. This will allow you the get to know each other. When there is no fit between the companies the relation can be terminated with large negative effects. Another option to get to know each other is to start a prototype phase before starting the main project.