Supplier audits are an effective way to identify and prevent any problems that may arise with your products, particularly regarding quality control. They allow any issues to be dealt with quickly, preventing them from becoming widespread. Audits may also ensure that processes are streamlined to give optimum efficiency, and can strengthen the relationship between a company and its suppliers.
Carrying out an audit
Gathering all the relevant information and documents that have been exchanged with the supplier should be the first step. This will include any contracts and delivery agreements that are in place, along with any complaints that may have been made in the past.
A checklist of what needs to be included in the audit should be standardised for all of your suppliers. This means that each is being evaluated on the same terms, and accurate comparisons can be made between them. It also means the current situation can be compared with the desired situation, and areas for improvement are easily identified.
It is also important to follow up with the supplier after an audit, to discuss which criteria have been met, and which are the areas for improvement. A time frame should then be mutually agreed upon for carrying out necessary improvements.
Improving supplier audits
While supplier audits are often carried out, they can be improved by taking a few extra steps, which can provide valuable information. Researching your suppliers online can show whether their other customers find them reliable, and also whether they are in compliance with regulations such as those from the FDA.
Find out whether your supplier is using outsourcing. While this may not impact the quality of your products, it is important to be aware of the situation, and to know what quality assurance agreements and checks are in place.