As a supply chain management specialist in automotive parts for the aftermarket, FPS’s approach to excellence, quality control and ethical business practices are under constant scrutiny. A sizeable portion of responsibility in maintaining FPS’s reputation for quality rests on the shoulders of the QC team.
As well as checking product quality as they enter FPS warehouses, the QC team also keeps an eye on quality, right from the source.
In order to create a uniform QC process across all suppliers, the QC team created an audit document two years ago. The document was created to ascertain and verify a supplier’s adherence to quality, environmental, health and safety certifications. All suppliers, component and non-component, have to fill out the document and provide copies of their certifications declared on the document. The objective of this is to allow FPS to determine that the basic quality standards are met if not, exceeded.
If a supplier has been certified QS9000 or TS16949, it gives an indication that they are trying to serve best practice procedures throughout their business, not just their products.
This form of due diligence helps FPS verify that all supplier certifications are authentic and current. Due to common oversight, suppliers are sometimes unaware that certain certifications need to be periodically updated. This process allows FPS to build relationships with suppliers to help reinforce the quality standards along the supply chain.
The audit document is periodically updated to ensure that all measures for quality is up-to-date. Recently, the QC team has added an ethical section to the document to ensure that all suppliers are abiding to the Modern Slavery Act of 2015.
By having suppliers declare that they have documentation or a policy in place for ethical trade and code of conduct, FPS in its supply management capacity is able to do its part in the bid to abolish modern day slavery.
Some suppliers from emerging markets may not have the right certification in place to demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices. In these cases, the QC team have measures in place to keep an eye on their year-on-year progress in this endeavour.
Last year, FPS conducted their first supplier factory audit to get a more robust picture of the factory’s quality control processes. A technical manager and category manager toured the factory to document various criteria and their level of satisfaction in an organised manner. This allows FPS to develop a more tangible measure of how a supplier has progressed in attaining best business practices.
What’s to come?
In the coming future, FPS is looking to conduct more company audits to get a more comprehensive look on the quality of products and their source. As a supply chain company, FPS continues to work on galvanising all links to ensure seamless delivery in excellence.