The ISO 9001 standard’s requirements with regard to suppliers are very short and concise but carry a lot of punch. These requirements can be very deceiving and in fact are often misinterpreted and carried out poorly or partially. By implementing the clause correctly, an organization will get the full extent of the benefits sought out by the standard. I am going to explain in this article the intent of the standard regarding suppliers and the best way to accomplish supplier management.
In the first case of plastics, the absence of one of your primary raw materials would significantly affect the quality of your product; in fact, you may not be able to provide the product at all. Similarly, in the case of chemicals, the absence of water, for example, would be considered a critical problem if your product requires cooling or heating provided by water. In essence, the absence of these suppliers will make it harder for you to provide the same quality product or service as required by the customer.
These few examples also illustrate that I’m not talking about suppliers of coffee, food, office supplies, air conditioning, etc. Those would be considered products or services that would not directly affect the quality of your products or services. For example, in the absence of coffee or office supplies, could your products still be manufactured? In the absence of air conditioning, could you still provide your services? Of course. It could be argued that coffee indirectly helps improve employees’ performance in the morning. It could also be argued that air conditioning helps employees feel more comfortable while at work. To a certain extent, this could be true. However, unless your product or service requires a controlled environment, it will be up to you to consider your air conditioning repair company in the supplier program. Essentially, these types of suppliers affect your products or services indirectly and don’t need to be included in your supplier quality program.
The second aspect to remember here is that there is no difference between a vendor and a supplier. Some companies use the term “vendor,” such as in “vendor-approved list.” Other companies call them “supplier,” such as in “supplier-approved list.” Vendor or suppliers are synonyms and therefore interchangeable. I’ve seen some organizations call vendors those that provide you with products, and suppliers those that provide you with service, but that is not necessarily true. A vendor could supply a product or service just as a supplier could