Every organisation depends on its suppliers.
For an organisation to provide a quality product or service its suppliers must also provide quality products or services. Before placing an order with a new supplier the organisation must determine whether the supplier’s product or service meets requirements, and can be delivered on time. The type of evaluation required depends on the product or service to be provided by the supplier and the effect of failure to meet requirements.
When an organisation evaluates a supplier they may consider whether:
- the description of the product or service confirms that it meets applicable requirements
- the supplier has demonstrated that it can meet its customers’ requirements
- a certificate is available confirming the supplier’s product complies with statutory and regulatory requirements
- the supplier has suitable personnel, equipment, facilities and infrastructure to be able to provide the product or service offered.
A quality management system (QMS) approved to ISO 9001 can give confidence that a supplier can meet requirements (if the certification body is approved for the relevant product or service and the scope of approval covers the product or service to be purchased). For a specialised product or service it may be necessary to ask further questions or conduct an evaluation visit before placing an order with the supplier.
ISO 9001 does not require an approved organisation to only order from suppliers approved to ISO 9001. Neither does it require an Approved Suppliers List (ASL) and demand that the organisation only purchase from suppliers included on the ASL. It does require the organisation to evaluate its suppliers, monitor their performance and maintain records. If an organisation obtains a product or service from a supplier where there is a significant risk of poor quality or late delivery they should take appropriate action (such as review and approval of processes, surveillance of manufacture, witness of inspection and test) to ensure requirements are met. Records of evaluation and performance must be maintained so that the organisation can select an appropriate supplier and determine the type of surveillance and inspection required to confirm requirements are met.
When a purchase order is placed with a supplier it is necessary to specify the product or service required, the delivery date, documentation to be provided, and additional information such as competence of personnel, requirements for approval and release. The purchase order must be checked and approved by an authorised person to confirm requirements are adequately defined prior to issue to the supplier. Documentation defining the product or service may be referenced in the purchase order, listed on a transmittal defining the applicable issue of each document, and issued to the supplier.
The organisation’s accounting system may include details of suppliers, and records of evaluation and performance, and it may provide a format for generating purchase orders. If the purchasing prcess within the accounting system does not meet the requirements of the QMS for evaluation and performance records, or it does not keep track of documents referenced in each purchase order, the organisation may usethe bradQual database as its purchasing system.
The bradQual database has been developed using Filemaker Pro to provide records of supplier addresses, evaluation and performance. It also creates purchase orders (which must be reviewed and approved prior to issue) and records issue of documents to suppliers. Financial data can be shared with your accounting system.