Step by step process to conduct a Supplier Audit

Understand the need for supplier audits and how to perform one in a step by step manner.

Have you thought about or already do supplier audits? They are an essential component of managing your supply chain. Conducting a proper supplier audit ensures that your suppliers meet your organization's requirements and standards. In this guide, we'll outline the steps involved in conducting a proper supplier audit.

Let’s talk about why do Supplier Audits

Supplier audits are critical for ensuring the quality and safety of products or services being provided by your suppliers. The following are some of the reasons why a proper supplier audit is important:

  1. To ensure that your suppliers comply with your organization's requirements and standards.
  2. To identify and mitigate potential supply chain risks.
  3. To improve supplier performance and product quality.
  4. To ensure regulatory compliance - Yup, this is important. 

How to do a Supplier Audit

Now let's dive into the steps involved in conducting a proper supplier audit.

Step 1: Define the Audit Scope

The first step in conducting a proper supplier audit is to define the audit scope. The audit scope should include:

  • The products or services provided by the supplier
  • The specific location(s) to be audited
  • The timeframe for the audit
  • The audit criteria or standards to be used

The audit scope should be documented in an audit plan or checklist, which will be used throughout the audit process.

Step 2: Pre-Audit Planning

Before conducting the audit, it's important to plan and prepare for it. The pre-audit planning process should include:

  • Identifying the audit team and assigning roles and responsibilities
  • Scheduling the audit with the supplier and providing them with the audit plan or checklist
  • Gathering any relevant documentation, such as supplier contracts, quality agreements, and previous audit reports
  • Conducting a risk assessment to identify any potential risks or issues with the supplier

Step 3: Conduct the On-Site Audit

The on-site audit involves reviewing the supplier's facilities, processes, and documentation to ensure compliance with the audit criteria or standards. During the on-site audit, the audit team should:

  • Review the supplier's quality management system, including documentation and record-keeping processes
  • Observe the supplier's processes and procedures, including incoming material inspection, production processes, and product testing
  • Conduct interviews with relevant personnel, such as quality assurance personnel and production supervisors
  • Perform sample testing of products or materials, if applicable

The audit team should document any findings, observations, and non-conformances during the on-site audit.

Step 4: Post-Audit Reporting

After the on-site audit is complete, the audit team should compile a report summarizing their findings. The post-audit reporting process should include:

  • Documenting any non-conformances identified during the audit
  • Assigning corrective actions to address non-conformances
  • Providing a summary of the audit findings to the supplier
  • Providing a summary of the audit findings to internal stakeholders, such as quality assurance and supply chain management teams

The audit report should be shared with the supplier and internal stakeholders, and any corrective actions should be tracked and monitored to ensure that they are completed.

Conducting a proper supplier audit is critical for ensuring the quality and safety of products or services provided by your suppliers. By following these steps, your organization can conduct effective supplier audits that help mitigate supply chain risks, improve supplier performance, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

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