Vurpillat, R.J. (1986, ASQC) Brown & Root U.S.A., Inc., Houston, TX
Any organization which embarks on a program to cut costs and improve profits by improving the quality of production is doomed to failure unless that program includes control of purchased items and the suppliers. This paper will describe one company's program to improve the quality of purchased goods and services on a world-wide scale to the point where everything can be "removed from the box" and put to use with absolute confidence that it meets the requirements under which it was ordered that those requirements satisfied the needs of the eventual product.
The overall quality process is described as are the benefits anticipated to be derived from it.
Supplier Quality Management as instituted involves the solution of problems that are both internal and external to the purchasing or user organization. Although the internal problems can be many, three of the universal ones are (1) number of suppliers, (2) improper or ambiguous requirements, and (3) poor communication. The cause of these problems is usually some way related to lack of awareness, inadequate planning, poor education, all of which are magnified by - again- poor communications. Externally - the problems the purchaser or user sees are late delivery, products that don't meet requirements, and excessive cost.
The process whereby these problems are resolved to the benefit of everyone involved starts with a management willing to dedicate support, personnel, money, and hard work.
The solution to the problems of the supplier - customer relationship will result in mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual benefits.
Finally it can be seen from improving the process involving manufacturers, fabricators, contractors, and the purchaser-user that most every action has a customer supplier relationship; e.g., a boss (the customer) requesting work from a subordinate (the supplier), and the inner actions involved in the process can be used with equal benefits there too.