There comes a time where all manufacturers must face the issue of receiving shipments of nonconforming parts from suppliers, regardless of their efforts in quality control. So how does one handle supplier non-conformance? The following tips outline the best strategies to handle these situations.

Handling Supplier Non-Conformance

Whether you are dealing with a new supplier or a supplier you’ve had a long-term relationship with, there can be issues on non-conformance. This can happen for a number of reasons including staying competitive, time issues, and lower costs. Issues of non-conformance can lead to increased long-term costs, prolonged production or delays, and sacrificing relationships with customers and market standards.

If your business is experiencing an issue with non-conformance, rest assured that there are a variety of strategies to exist in rectifying these situations. Some strategies include:

    • Increased communication:

This involves having immediate, open communication with manufacturers in order to alert them of non-conformance as soon as possible. Establish a standard means for communication such as a web-based tool to alert the manufacturer of the issue in order to correct the issue.

    • Explore the root of the issue:

We already discussed some of the reasons why non-conformance happens, but it’s different for every company. Find the root of the issue in order to truly remedy the situation.

    • Find a short-term solution:

Have a system in place to decide on a short-term corrective action in which all parties (engineers, suppliers, manufacturers, decision-makers) can have access to.

    • Prevent future issues using data:

Use cause-analysis, tracking, and auditing to keep track of data and prevent future issues.

    • Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) integration:

Use SRM tools along with product deviation strategy to prevent future problems.

    • Understand that deviation happens:

As much as manufacturers strive to prevent non-conformance, inevitably, it can happen. Ensure that your manufacturer has a process they use to deal with these issues.

    • Follow-up:

Establish a timeline and set a date to follow-up with the supplier about the non-conformance issue. For example, you could audit the process after three or six months to determine compliance.

    • Sever ties:

If problems continue to persist, it may be time to re-evaluate your supplier and choose appropriate action to proceed in the future.

Non-conformance is a prevalent issue that must be addressed carefully and immediately. By taking appropriate action, maintaining communication and following specific protocol, the issue of non-conformance can be rectified. Ensure that you implement the aforementioned strategies to arrive at a solution that is suitable for all parties involved.