Q: I have been tasked with implementing a dock to stock policy. Does an expert have any advice or information to share towards forming a dock to stock policy?
A: To begin, here is a brief definition of dock to stock (DTS):
Dock to stock is a receiving method whereby materials are delivered directly to point of use (storage or manufacturing), skipping the normal receiving inspection.
For most organizations, parts which are given a DTS status are those which have been “proven” to be compliant. It is common practice to perform a receiving inspection on the parts for a minimum of five deliveries (some companies choose 10).
After a supplier has proven to deliver a compliant product five times, that individual item/part number is given DTS status. It is then general practice for production/assembly departments or line personnel to verify compliance as needed. If a product is found to be noncompliant, it is put on a contingency list and must prove its validity again — usually through five to 10 compliant shipments before it is returned to DTS status.
Keep in mind that the DTS process is rarely used in some industries/companies. For example, a company certified to ISO 13485 (medical devices) would not use DTS due to FDA regulations — here’s an excerpt from 21 CFR 820.80 (b):
“Receiving Acceptance Activities: Incoming product shall be inspected, tested or otherwise verified as conforming to specified requirements.”
In short, determining how many acceptable shipments to qualify a supplier for DTS status is up to the company. Requesting a certificate of compliance with each shipment can tend to encourage a supplier to ensure their own quality, as does a yearly audit of the supplier’s facilities (if appropriate).
I hope using the guidelines above will help lead you toward your goal.
ASQ Senior Member, CQT, CQI
Chinese OEM Reduces Returns With Improved Product Testing, ASQ case study
Cost-Effectiveness Based Performance Evaluation for Suppliers and Operations, Quality Management Journal