Supplier Quality Assurance and Performance Management.

Supplier Quality Assurance (SQA) is the process intended to ensure that a supplier reliably supplies goods or services that satisfy the customer’s needs. This process is collaborative to ensure the supplier’s offerings meet the agreed-upon requirements with minimum inspection or modification.

Effective quality assurance should incorporate a combination of process and product audits that manage external and internal checks and focus on supplier management, quality conformity of the product through its lifecycle, production and equipment quality and effectiveness, and pre-shipment inspections. In this article, we’ll take a high-level look at the overall SQA process and discuss key considerations that impact its effectiveness. It’s important to note that, while SQA applies to both products and services, we’ll simplify the topic here by speaking only to product-related processes.

The 9-Step SQA Process and How It's Measured

According to Joseph Moses Juran, the renowned quality management evangelist, the supplier quality assurance process can be divided into nine key steps as follows:

Among these steps, key metrics must be applied in order to evaluate and score supplier quality assurance, even before delivery. Common metrics include: the percentage of products that are in compliance within quality specifications, percentage of products that are delivered on time and are complete, and new product introduction (NPI), which measures the percentage of new products that meet time, volume and quality standards.

Benefits of Quality Assurance for Suppliers

Assuring quality in a competitive industry is not only a requirement – it has important benefits that can impact the entire manufacturing process. Here are just a few examples of the high-level benefits to suppliers:

Supplier Quality Assurance Across Industries

In our era of globalized networks, many organizations must continuously evaluate the supply chain to meet requirements that go beyond cost. In order to identify opportunities for improvement within the supply chain, organizations should apply a risk-based approach that examines both the criticality of a supplier and the probability of failure of a supplier. This can be achieved by implementing standardized risk and audit tools through an enterprise system.Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other end user-direct sellers manage the quality of parts received from suppliers, and they bear most of the liability for any quality or safety issues related to their products. As such, suppliers must provide product quality and performance assurance to those organizations, which can be achieved through a comprehensive quality system. Such systems help evaluate the parts or raw materials that come from upstream suppliers, as well as ensure all final products satisfy requirements.