Securing materials and equipment is the first step in the supply chain. A company's competitiveness is directly influenced by the performance of suppliers. A supplier that does not perform well can add costs, cause serious delays and can damage your company's reputation. It is imperative to have a system to evaluate your suppliers. It will help you determine potential problems like low standards of quality, poor communication, and substandard resources. Every company needs to have a supplier evaluation model in place to measure a supplier's ability to comply with their contractual obligations.
Supplier evaluation will identify their strengths and weaknesses. Several criteria should be considered including quality, delivery, service, and flexibility. Generally, the most important factor is quality followed by delivery, service and then flexibility. An effective means of evaluating suppliers is assigning them to one of four categories based on performance: full partner, associate partner, high risk and incapable. A full partner meets or exceeds all expectations. An associate partner needs some work, but performs well overall. A high risk supplier must be carefully evaluated. They can be used for the production currently underway, but future contracts require consideration. An incapable supplier will be dropped as soon as possible as they cannot properly fulfill their obligations.
A full partner must be compatible with you company’s current and future business plan. They will always demonstrate high quality, on-time delivery, superior service and flexibility. The supplier participates in your automatic ordering system. They will provide full support quickly, and be available anytime for questions. A full partner should also assist with new designs and provide samples within one to two weeks. They will demonstrate an ability to develop new processes and be committed to research and development. They will not ship out-of-spec parts, and have well documented quality controls. They will optimize lead times and allow order flexibility within reason. They will show commitment to cost reductions and share their cost structures and pricing models.
An associate partner will meet most of the criteria of a full partner. The associate partner should demonstrate a commitment to improving quality and delivery. You can work with them to develop action plans to meet your goals. The supplier must fulfill the needs of your company. They should be willing to work toward meeting the criteria to become a full partner.
High Risk Partner
A high risk partner is not compatible with the goals of your company. Their current quality and delivery are acceptable to maintain current production, but there is no benefit in expending the resources to bring them to associate or full partner status. The cost and quality are below your company’s acceptable standards.
Incapable suppliers do not meet quality standards. They do not demonstrate the capability of improving quality, delivery, service or flexibility. These suppliers must be dropped immediately.
Evaluating the performance of suppliers using an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) model helps to determine the importance of each criterion and interpret the findings. You will determine what is most important for your company, and use that to rate your suppliers. Supplier can be measured based on the four main criteria: quality, delivery, service and flexibility. To determine the rest of the criterion you should consider whether the attributes are “soft” criteria (like supplier commitment or service) or “hard” quantifiable criteria (like the supplier's ability to fulfill orders). When thinking about cost, consider that the total cost of a product includes all the factors that go into getting your product to market in addition to its initial procurement cost.
For further information on how Accupoint can help your critical supplier management process, contact us today.