All companies, regardless of their size, have a certain number of suppliers, who must ensure the criteria of quality, food safety, and compliance with legislative aspects.

Suppliers are responsible for supplying raw and auxiliary materials, directly influencing the quality and safety of the final product. For this reason, to ensure consumer safety and satisfaction, it is advisable to carry out a supplier audit.

Auditing your suppliers before signing contracts will help you reduce risks and avoid possible quality problems. In this blog, you will be able to know how this type of audit plays a determining role before trusting a new supplier with the quality of your products.

What Is Supplier Audit?

The supplier audit is a continuous improvement tool in order to evaluate the supply chain, is one of the main parts of quality inspection. They provide transparency to companies since the way of working, infrastructures, systems, and processes of suppliers are exhaustively controlled.

The supplier audit consists of a face-to-face visit to their facilities to evaluate their manufacturing capabilities, quality management, security and regulatory compliance, thus detecting if the manufacturing process of your products will be the one you want. Audits promote trust between supplier and customer. They also ensure compliance with quality standards and regulatory requirements related to products, thus reducing the risks that may arise in the supply chain.

For the proper functioning of an audit, an established order must be followed. The phases that form this type of audits are the following:

  • Preparation – Prior to the audit, checklists are developed that will help to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the audited company. For this, checklists or standards developed by entities such as GFSI or the client’s own can be taken as a reference.
  • Audit development – All the information, evidence, and testimonies are collected and a report is prepared with all the findings found to draw conclusions and be able to present the final results. Findings found in past audits should also be taken into account and the necessary corrective actions that have been implemented should be verified.
  • CAPA Plan Verification – After the delivery of the report with the findings found, the implementation of the corrective actions is verified. For an effective application of these actions, it is necessary to understand what is the root cause of the problem. Only in this way will we achieve continuous improvement in our system.

What is the Benefit of Auditing My Suppliers?

What can auditing suppliers bring? The supplier audit will allow you to determine the performance of different suppliers and their ability to fulfill your orders, thus avoiding quality problems which will allow you to minimize business risk.

Conducting supplier audits can bring a number of advantages that are described below:

  • Good manufacturing practices are guaranteed by the supplier.
  • Reduction of risks in the supply chain until receipt.
  • Transparency of supplier processes fosters trust between supplier and customer.
  • Know the level of competition of suppliers.

When To Conduct Supplier Audit To My Partners?

It depends on the needs of your business. Some of the supplier audits we have conducted for our customers have been performed when:

  • They need a new supplier for a specific product/part/part/material.
  • Your current provider is not working well.
  • Supply contract is about to be renewed
  • Face changes in model, design or production methods
  • In itself, an audit of suppliers will allow you to guarantee that they work under the commercial needs you want as a client, also strengthening the relationship between both parties, thus allowing the continuous improvement of processes and products.

How To Develop Your Supplier Audit Plan?

Audit planning is a key aspect. Thanks to them we have a global vision of the amount of work that the company faces. To plan audits, the following aspects must be taken into account:

  • Select suppliers. If the number of suppliers in a company is high, they may not all be able to be audited in the same year. For this selection, factors such as manufacturing volumes, history, potential risks, number of incidents, etc. can be taken into account.
  • Schedule audits. Audit dates must be specified for each supplier. In the same way, an agenda must be organized with the schedule of the activities to be carried out for each audit.

6 Essential Points to Evaluate in a Supplier Audit

On-site vendor audits should help you determine:

  • Profile of the industrial plant and its experience
  • Ensure the current conditions of the plant and the conditions of its Workforce.
  • Review of Facilities, machinery and equipment which will give you a complete picture of how they operate.
  • Check the status of your licenses, certificates, etc. (ISO 9001, ROHS, CPSIA, Proposition 65)
  • Review your Quality Management System to confirm if it is the right one.
  • Confirm that environmental and social conditions comply with established standards.

Get Supplier Audit Help from IPQCCO

If you need support for Supplier Audit, IPQCCO has trained and certified auditors, with knowledge of international standards, to evaluate critical control points to properly understand and qualify your supplier. In IPQCCO, we have expert technicians with high knowledge and experience in the development of audits according to different standards of quality and food safety of the product. Thanks to our team we can offer our support in:

  • Development of the supplier management plan according to your risk criteria.
  • Conducting audits of your suppliers according to:
    • ISO standards
    • Customer’s own standards
  • Development of customized standards for the client.