A recent article posted to Supply Chain Digital “raises the point that all companies need to see evidence of suppliers’ own manufacturing and sourcing practices, particularly in health and safety, quality assurance and ethics.”
Due to the risks involved, retailers, associations and others are increasingly refining supplier requirements. Organizations wanting to sell products to these companies must ensure their suppliers meet code of conduct or other specific standards. Walmart is certainly one of the largest companies that comes to mind here and has changed the landscape of supplier compliance in many ways. When qualifying suppliers to Walmart sourcing standards, audits are performed that address global security, social responsibility and general quality management systems. An example preparation audit report performed for a potential Walmart supplier can be found here.
General topics relevant to most supplier qualification programs incorporate the following:
- Financial integrity
- Verification of insurance, as applicable
- Wages & benefits
- Child & voluntary labor & hours
- Safety & health
- Fire safety & prevention
- Bribery & ethics
- Environmental stewardship & sustainability
- Global security criteria
- Compliance w/ laws & regulations
- Quality assurance & control
Familiar standards are often used as reference points for development of these requirements. Examples include:
- SA8000 Social Accountability
- ISO 26000 Social & Sustainability
- C-TPAT – Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism – Security
- Canada Customs Partners in Protection (PIP)
- ISO 9001 General Quality Management System
- ISO 14001 Environment & Sustainability
As many organizations have already discovered, managing this level of compliance with various complexity is challenging. Utilizing a third-party to manage this process provides for a localized presence that reduces the associated travel costs and need for dedicated internal resources. In addition, experienced quality professionals are specialized here to deliver the results you expect.
A third-party quality organization like Pro QC International is familiar with various organization and association supplier requirements and can assist in the process of evaluating suppliers and working with them on corrective action / improvement plans and associated timelines to ensure that any follow-up is compliant. Contact us for additional information. We make this process easy.