The 8 Top Supplier Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities

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Supplier Quality Assurance is the process of ensuring the quality of the materials and services provided by suppliers.

There are many types of supplier quality assurance roles and responsibilities depending on the industry. However, there are eight types of supplier quality assurance roles that are most popular in the supply chain industry.

1: Prequalification of Suppliers

The selection and prequalification process is a necessary step in the procurement process. It is a process which enables the organization to assess the suitability of potential suppliers for a project/product based on their capability to satisfy the design requirements.

Supplier Quality Assurance function plays an important role in the prequalification process.

2: Review Specifications

Specifications are requirements that may govern the quality, quantity, features, construction, and performance of the item being purchased. Suppliers are required to abide by them.

Supplier Quality Assurance gets involved in the review of specifications, before these are issued to the supplier, to ensure that these are complete and correct from the quality point of view.

3: Supplier Audits

In order to ensure compliance to specifications and purchases order, supplier audits are performed. Typically Supplier Quality Assurance performs the supplier quality audits.

4: Monitoring Supply

The supplier's execution of the contract is monitored and analyzed for any deviations from the contract requirements. It is the supplier's responsibility to produce the required materials and/or services to the specifications, standards, and schedule of the contract. Supplier Quality Assurance monitors the supplier performance during the execution stage.

5: Inspection and Testing

Supplier Quality Assurance gets involved in the inspection and testing of the products/services being procured. Many times the supplier is located overseas. In those cases the Supplier Quality Assurance hires a third party inspection agency in that location to perform inspection on their behalf. On completing the required inspections, a report of inspection is issued by the third party inspector to the organization's Supplier Quality Assurance group.

6: Training

For the long term success, the company needs to provide the training, support and guidance to the suppliers.

Supplier Quality Assurance gets involved in providing the training to suppliers. This training can be on the process improvement tools or the part/product related training.

7: Improvement

Supplier quality is a key component in a quality improvement process. If you want to get quality improvements, you need to know how to identify and influence suppliers to improve their quality.

Supplier Quality Assurance gets involved in the supplier improvement process.

8: Corrective and Preventive Action Verification

The supplier is expected to take appropriate corrective and preventive actions (CAPA) on the nonconformities or the problems identified during the execution of the purchase order. The Supplier Quality Assurance function verifies the effectiveness of these corrective and preventive actions.

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