Beyond ISO 9001, assessing the “ability to deliver” of the supplier

Beyond ISO 9001, assessing the “ability to deliver” of the supplier

The ISO 9000 family of Quality Management Systems standards is designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders while meeting statutory and regulatory requirementsrelated to a product or service.

The ISO 9001 standard was first published in 1987. Since then it has been reviewed and reissued several times. It details the basics of quality management systems and the requirements organizations have to meet to be certified. Today the ISO 9001 2015 model has become one of the most globally used management tools. Many customers require their suppliers to have an ISO 9001 2015 certification, which helps this model to enjoy demand.

However, the ISO 9001 2015 does not define specific requirements for the products or services you are purchasing. It is up to you to make your own needs and expectations clear to your supplier. You might, for example, have to refer to product or service specifications, drawings, national or international standards, or other documents as appropriate. That is why Qualification processes are very frequent among Buyer organizations.

In September 2015 the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the revised version of the ISO 9001 2015 which is based on the process model of the 2008 revision. It mainly puts emphasis on Context of the Organization, Leadership, Planning, Risk based thinking and other changes.

The ISO 9001:2015 documentation requirements are much less prescriptive and left more to the organization to define its own needs. In fact, ISO 9001 2015 is a useful basis for organizations to be able to demonstrate that they are managing their business so as to consistently achieve quality products and services. There are several ways in which your suppliers can claim conformity to ISO 9001 2015, and you need to ensure that the method chosen by them provides you with the necessary degree of confidence. When you are not satisfied with the performance of your suppliers, you must provide them with the appropriate feedback.

The limits of the ISO 9001 2015 management system certification are intrinsic to its applicability in countless fields and its extreme standardization. The market competition and the proliferation into many other sectors, have made the certification “mandatory” and no longer voluntary as it once was.

In fact, the aim for many has become the “obtaining” of the certification itself and no longer the measurement of the ability of a supplier to provide products and services (ISO 9001 2015, is simply a collection of minimum requirements dictated by common sense; that if respected should reduce the risks associated with the company). Moreover, the ISO 9001 2015 auditors – generally speaking – due to their need of being flexible in order to maximize their working hours, are becoming increasingly more generic. Competition has further pushed down the prices of the ISO 9001 2015 certificate rendering its value added much lower due to volume accountability.

Indeed, the ISO 9001 2015 certification has many shortcomings and Vendor Passport™ – delivered in technical collaboration by SupplHi and Lloyd’s Register – was born to serve as the perfect complement to this certification. It is the missing link between Buyers and Vendors, as it provides a full and comprehensive assessment of the manufacturer or service provider, starting from the manufacturing facilities (in case of a manufacturer) or premises / offices (in case of service provider) to the assessment of the different capabilities required “to deliver”: quality, engineering, procurement, Project Management, HSE, site activities, after sale, logistics, strategy, risk and opportunity management, organization and HR, finance, CSR and compliance.

Moreover, the Vendor Passport™ differs by ~20% according to the family of goods or services and it is delivered at each single manufacturing plant level/facility rather than at company level.

Currently, it can be executed by less than 10% of the Lloyd’s Register Senior Inspectors due to the high complexity associated with the inspection visits and the competence required for the specific goods and services. These competences are assessed based on an internal Procedure.

The Vendor Passport™ focuses both on the management system (without overlapping with the ISO ISO 9001 2015) and on the ability of a vendor to deliver a product or a service. In fact, it follows an assessment process similar to those carried out by End Users and EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contractors. Major players do not consider the System Certification to be sufficient to give a real measure of the ability of a vendor to supply certain products and / or services. Any list of potential vendors should always (ideally) contain suppliers qualified according to very different approaches with a collection of objective and always verifiable evidence.

As of today, each Buyer investigates the ability of a vendor in-depth to produce what he declares, according to internal methodologies that are very similar. For example, a vendor qualified by some End Users or EPC Contractors must demonstrate that they have all their supply chain under control (procedures, forms, …), meaning that in a sense qualifications must cover all the actors in the supply value chain across all supply tiers.

Lastly, it should be noted that the system certification surveillance visits have the “fragility” mentioned above, i.e. they must have low prices and consequently low value. This spiral is being disrupted with the Vendor Passport™, that combines the effectiveness of a repeatable and objective approach (based on ISO 19011 2011) which is performed by product and system senior experts. The Assessors who follow the products and the processes for the manufacturing aspect have a very deep knowledge of both the products and the associated management systems, which allows for high value addition.