Approved Supplier List


Question

I would like to know how supplier status in the Approved Supplier List (ASL) should be managed so that there is complete traceabilty.  For instance, a vendor status is changed from approved to not approved in the ASL for reasons other than substandard performance which is documented in an audit report, how should QA document such change to ensure that these changes are tracked. Could QA make changes in the ASL without notifying the Purchasing Department and without any documentation?

Answer

Thanks for contacting ASQ’s Ask the Experts program.  Concerning your questions, about supplier status traceability, and ASL management, the following response is provided.

Dependent on the number of suppliers involved and the availability resources, an organization may choose to utilize a single or combination of methods to monitor supplier performance and supplier status.  These methods may range from using an MS Word or Excel spreadsheet, Access database to a multi-user database.

As you are aware, ISO 9001:2008, Clause 7.4.1, requires the organization to establish criteria for selection, evaluation and re-evaluation of suppliers.  This clause also requires records of results of evaluations to be maintained.  This includes any necessary actions taken as a consequence of the evaluations conducted, such as the removal of a supplier from the ASL or changed approval status.

ISO 9001:2008 does not limit a company’s ability to remove a supplier from the ASL.  This is an internal decision based on the company’s established criteria.  So there could be various reasons for removing a supplier from the ASL.  Likewise, with changing a supplier’s status from pending, approved to not approved.  As mentioned, ISO 9001:2008, Clause 7.4.1, requires records of supplier evaluations to be maintained, and any actions taken as a result of the evaluation to be retained.

The a primary purpose of the ASL is to ensure the placement of purchase orders or contracts are limited to those suppliers that meet the company’s established criteria for supplier selection, evaluation, and re-evaluation.  For this reason, Purchasing must be included in any changes made that may affect their use of the ASL.

Generally speaking, Purchasing is responsible for maintaining and updating the ASL, which includes ensuring the current status of suppliers of products and services are identified.   The company’s internal audit process is typically used to assess Purchasing’s conformance with established criteria for supply chain management.

In summary, I would not recommend that changes be made to any QMS process without the involvement of the QMS process owner and management as applicable.  ISO 9001:2008, Clause 5.4.2, sub b., requires top management to ensure that the integrity of the QMS is maintained when changes are planned and implemented.  If changes are made to the ASL, Purchasing should certainly be involved.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Bill

Bill Aston, Managing Director
Aston Technical Consulting Services, LLC
Kingwood, TX 77339
Office: (281) 359-ATCS (2827) or Toll Free: (888) 968-9891
Website: www.astontechconsult.com

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