As the volume and number of operations that enterprises perform outside the walls of their enterprise keeps growing, so does the need to reduce the complexity in order to control processes that can threaten the company’s reputation, market position and, most importantly, the health and safety of its customers. One of the first barriers to managing far-ranging operations is that hard-and-fast boundaries have ceased to exist. A company’s operations -- materials, parts, assemblies, ideas, even people are constantly moving along various nodes of a network, rather than flowing up and down a simple channel, or along a clear chain whose beginning and end are clearly visible.
SUPPLY SIDE: On the SUPPLY SIDE, the operation has what it thinks of as its “own” suppliers, who provide parts, material, information and/or services. However, these suppliers often have their own suppliers, who in turn have their own suppliers.
DEMAND SIDE: On the DEMAND SIDE, the operation has its customers, who might not be the final consumers and have their own customers, who also have their own customers.
Those who supply a company directly are called ‘first-tier’ suppliers, who are supplied by ‘second-tier’ suppliers, who might also supply a company directly, by-passing the first link.
It doesn’t require a lot of imagination to see how quickly the order implied by seemingly clear labels such as supply and demand, and by the numbering of tiers, becomes a tangle of relationship difficult to keep in sight, manage or to control. It’s even more difficult to be certain that each link will benefit from adequate production quality assurance, meeting standards capable of fulfilling the company’s promises to customers, and responsibilities to the community.
As the complexity has grown, so has the need for partnership with companies who specialize in supplier management systems that go far beyond what generic enterprise management software systems can provide.
Today’s environment demands not only vendor or Supplier Quality Management, but a real commitment to improving supplier quality. This is essential at each step of the way, at each link of the supply chain. However, in addition to managing each link of the chain, when processes flow around a multi-tiered network in which links are knit together in more complex patterns, manufacturing quality management demands an ability to select an appropriate quality control program, as well as quality compliance processes. These tools then power the targeted gathering and tracking of information which allow for data mining of supplier metrics. The results of this analysis support the functioning of the multi-tiered supply network and the supply chains that make it up. The information becomes knowledge for making strategic decisions, safeguarding the company from risk, and reducing costs overall. At the basic level of maintaining and controlling the supply chain, such information provides the basis for supplier validation and re-validation in the complex landscape of shifting demand and supply markets. Suppliers who know they are being validated on the basis of objective data can trust that their playing field is level, and their rewards are based on performance, and nothing else.
It is clear that in an environment in which supply chains are more complex, frequently spanning borders and continents, forming multi-tiered supplier networks is impossible without a powerful set of tools. Improving supplier quality and supplier quality assurance start with a precisely targeted, reliable, consistent, transparent and commonly understood supplier tracking software such as GSQA®.
Supplier variability across geographic regions and along the vertical rungs of the production ladder demands the power of the GSQA® Software as a Service (SaaS) approach. It builds the capacity for a robust, comprehensive approach to supplier risk management. It increases the ability of a company to anticipate and prevent dangers, supported by a “corrective action/preventative action” approach (known as capa systems). Although it is a specialized quality management solution which can be configured to respond to the specific needs of an industry or even company, (rather than a generic enterprise management software) GSQA® can complement and support other enterprise quality management initiatives (EQMS), and certifications such as ISO 9001.
Companies come into existence to provide a product or service to their customers. To achieve this goal, companies must juggle the demands of SUPPLY and DEMAND in a much more complex environment than in the past. To be reliable, consistent, stable and profitable enterprises, companies must fulfill many promises including guaranteeing the quality of their finished products (which includes the quality of the materials, ingredients, and parts used to make them.) These promises are made (actively or implied) not only to their customers, who often place their health and safety into the company’s hands, but also to suppliers, to the social, regulatory and physical environment, to the investors who have funded the company as well as to the employees who work there.
With GSQA® we believe that companies should be able to focus their efforts on producing their product, and rely on a partnership with a global supplier and supply quality management company that has built its reputation over the past fifteen years on understanding these quality needs, for state-of-the-art quality management software solutions.