Now is a good time to think about expanding your QMS to include supplier quality management and collaboration as your suppliers are just as important to maintaining good quality as what you do internally.
Being audit-ready takes on an expanded meaning when including suppliers. First, you need a way to track your supplier audits and any findings in your QMS. And when you are audited, your suppliers’ quality processes will be scrutinized.
Therefore, if you haven’t already provided secure policy access for your suppliers, this is a step that will ensure best practices and improved supplier performance. Your suppliers need to be part of your processes; a full-featured QMS allows an integrated approach. Open the door to your suppliers and enable them to access pertinent information.
Be prepared to hold suppliers accountable and have remedies in place for poor performance. Include them in workflows for supplier corrective actions. Working from the same basis can speed communications and let suppliers know what their responsibilities are.
There are numerous processes where having suppliers involved can make you more efficient and able to address problems earlier in the product lifecycle: