The performance of a supply chain can dramatically help or hinder a company’s quality performance. At RMS, part of our vision statement is “Responsiveness is a culture, developed through people who are passionate in their work, backed by top-quality vendors and a network of expert resources.”
Supplier quality is determined by the supplier’s ability to deliver goods or services that will satisfy the customer’s needs. RMS devotes significant effort to identifying, qualifying, and working continuously with our suppliers so that they understand our requirements and we understand their capabilities. Our supplier quality management system is based on a proactive and collaborative approach to working with our potential and existing suppliers so that they can achieve the quality we need. It all begins with the vetting of supplier candidates using a process designed to qualify for the selection of those potential suppliers that can provide products or services that will satisfy our quality requirements. It continues through the entire life cycle of a product and for the duration of the relationship with that particular supplier. At one time, it was fairly common to use multiple suppliers for the same commodity or service, usually due to concerns about depleting inventory or a desire to facilitate cost negotiations. This has evolved into working more closely with a smaller number of suppliers in more long-term, partnership-based relationships.
At RMS, supplier candidates are required to submit a document packet detailing their company’s information and capabilities. They are also required to provide their equipment lists, any applicable quality certifications, and a copy of their Quality Manual. Depending on the candidate’s responses or the criticality of the product they will be supplying, the RMS supplier qualification team will determine if an on-site audit at the supplier’s facility is needed. If so, the team conducts a supplier qualification audit and sends a report to RMS management with supplier approval recommendations. Depending on the acceptability of the supplier candidate’s document packet and/or a qualification audit, an Approved Supplier List Acceptance approval is issued by the RMS Quality Manager and Director of Materials, and the candidate is added to the Approved Supplier List. Purchase orders can now be issued to this supplier for products and/or services.
The continued active status of the approved supplier is contingent on the quality and delivery performance periodically monitored by the supply chain team. An excessive amount of late deliveries or nonconformities will result in a review by the supply chain team of that supplier’s justification for continued approved supplier status. Nonconformities are formally documented and sent to the supplier to prevent any misunderstanding of why product or service quality is not acceptable. If needed, actions will be taken such as supplier meetings, visits, conference calls, audits, and documented corrective actions in an effort to help the supplier with process changes to improve performance. Ultimately, if the changes are not successful, the supplier will be formally removed from Approved status.
At RMS, a good supply chain is critical to our (and our customers’) success. We believe that providing parts and service on time and of good quality starts with The Right Stuff.