The Revolutionary Supplier: Advancing the Cause


Pence, John   (1991, ASQC)   Bell Communications Research, Piscataway, NJ

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9683    May 1991    pp. 451-455
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Article Abstract

The author has identified four buyer/supplier categories: (1) the buyer selects the supplier on the basis of price and availability alone; (2) the buyer inspects the supplier's incoming products; (3) the buyer's company works with the supplier to employ statistical process control techniques and other quality tools to improve performance; and (4) the buyer and supplier form a partnership, and both are committed to quality. This paper concentrates on the most advanced of the four.

In the most advanced phase, the supplier takes the initiative for quality and is responsible for the quality of the product; the buyer performs little inspection of the incoming product. The buyer deals with a fewer number of suppliers than in the other three categories, but the suppliers are "revolutionary" suppliers who engage in continuous quality improvement and employ quality tools such as the Surveillance Management Process (SMP) and Quality Program Analysis (QPA).

"Revolutionary" suppliers display winning characteristics through attitudes, actions, and results. They share the customer's concern for quality, promise only what they can deliver, respond quickly to customer needs, and look for ways to continuously improve product quality.


Procurement,Quality assurance (QA),Quality management (QM),Continuous improvement (CI)

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