The Need for Supplier Audits

Supplier audits are performed to ensure accountability, trust and foster a more transparent relationship between all the organisations involved be it in manufacturing, packaging, sourcing, distribution (right across the supply chain).

Most of the time this is a a positive business activity for both parties unless there are major issues with a supplier or there is further subcontracting which is hidden. The ability to meet the standards and requirements during the supplier audit ensures that suppliers can deliver exactly what the vendor is after as they are showing that they are accountable for performing at their highest potential through self-monitoring of all their efforts. Suppliers must realise these audits can go beyond product and can include environmental aspects, safe working conditions and corporate social responsibility.

When is it most beneficial to audit your suppliers?

Simple answer is – At all times. Namely there are few phases of supplier assessments:

  • Selection Audits – Auditing your suppliers during the selection phase will ensure that organisations can select the vendor that delivers exactly what they are after.
  • On-boarding Suppliers – It is also highly advisable to audit the vendor during the supplier onboarding process as this could help with the setting of any objectives and goals for the ongoing relationship.
  • Continuous Improvement Audits – If everything goes according to the plan and this relationship evolves into a partnership, then it is highly recommended to establish a consistent annual or quarterly audit to ensure that the agreed standards are being properly maintained.

The importance of Auditing the Suppliers

The aim of these audits isn’t to find fault but to ensure transparency and traceability across the supply chain. The consistent message while auditing suppliers is to ensure that there is a continuous improvement in the quality of the delivery of goods and services for all parties involved.

The audits will pinpoint exactly where the issues are, if any and the emphasis on CARs and follow-ups maintenance will close the loop and aid in fixing any issues. These issues and any potential hazards can occur at any stage of production and as such, they can be resolved most effectively if there is an accountability and transparency in place.

How are organisations going to be certain that their suppliers are performing at their highest potential if the audit is not being undertaken? They can’t, as only the audits that reveal all the necessary documentation will also reveal if there are any gaps in the production, misconduct or any contractual breaches. If both parties adhere to their contractual obligations and act in good faith at all times, and can prove it in a very positive and compliant audit report than this could only lead to fostering of mutual value-added relationship.

The role of the Checklists in Supplier Audits

The auditing of the suppliers also ensures that suppliers will continually strive to perform at or above the level agreed on in the procurement contracts. As such, any effective supplier quality management or food safety process will need to contain a very comprehensive checklist to ensure that they can keep relying heavily on the vendor’s product and services. These checklists will identify all CAR’s and under-performances that need be efficiently and comprehensively assigned, tracked and approved by the appropriate team members and the management. Furthermore, based on the trends and the benchmarking of all audit and adhoc CAR related data, the top management can set the proactive goals and ensure that the most strategic and competitive decision making is taking place in their organisations.

On the other hand, the suppliers themselves have to ensure the utmost adherence to the requirements that are set and the expectations that need to be met during the supplier audits.

To make sure that they are compliant, the supplier will also need to maintain consistent internal audit processes that will produce documents and reports to guide them to improve the various found non-conformance and to show how proactive they can be in rectifying any corrective actions.

iComplied compliance system now comes with pre-built supplier audit checklist that can enable both of the organisations in the partnerships to conduct for self-monitoring to ensure all of the standards are met.

If you’d like to learn more about paperless compliance for your internal auditing needs, iComplied offers an easy-to-use mobile platform at a reasonable price so that the upfront time and money needed to switch over to this new and improved method for conducting internal audits is minimal. Take control of your internal auditing and supplier audits by booking a demo, or registering for a free trial

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