Any company that relies on suppliers and vendors to provide services or products must also bear the responsibility for managing their supply chains adequately. Meticulous supplier quality management is particularly essential for regulated companies. For example, the FDA mandates that all manufacturers must “establish and maintain procedures to ensure that all purchased or otherwise received product and services conform to specified requirements” (21 CFR Part 820 Subpart E – Sec. 820.50). In this case, “establish and maintain” means that the procedures have to be documented well enough to stand up to inspections and audits. To ensure that supplier documentation is properly maintained in a secure location, a robust (yet easily accessible to authorized personnel) electronic supplier quality management system (QMS) is critical to success.
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Tracking supplier information, parts, materials, and services can be the most difficult facet of supply chain management. In addition to those illustrated in the graphic above, common supplier quality management problems that companies face include:
Software systems that have been specifically designed to manage supplier quality give users in all departments—quality, IT, management, or even authorized external users—a single interface to access all current and pertinent supplier documentation. Using an electronic supplier quality management system, companies are able to monitor Approved Vendor Lists (AVLs) with ease and make all supplier-oriented processes easier. Consider the supplier-related tasks that your organization could benefit by automating, such as:
A user-friendly interface that provides a “Supplier View” of all the documents and records related to each supplier is immensely beneficial for manufacturing professionals that need real-time verification of whether or not a particular vendor is approved. A top-shelf supplier quality management software system should also have built-in configurable templates that include custom fields and options such as numbering series and lifecycle as well as dynamically filtered analytics reports and virtual folders.
Consider some of the divisions in your company that could run more efficiently with a supplier quality management software solution. Some of those departments may include:
If your organization uses products and/or services from suppliers that could potentially impact product quality, you need an effective and comprehensive supplier management program to manage all of your supplier-related information. To learn more about electronic supplier quality management systems, visit the MasterControl Resource Center or contact a MasterControl representative.