Supplier Issue or Factory Issue?

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    My supplier has a good quality improvement methodology and they use a 100% outgoing machine inspection method for fragile components.
    Now MY question is…. the factory who receives their goods are complaining about the quality in production and claims that they have a good handling of these fragile parts and says that it is a supplier problem. The fingerpointing is way too much.
    What kind of method/data should be used to identify who the biggest contributor to defect is and end the fingerpointing?
    Best Regards



    This is a very classical issue in mfg that everyone tries to pinpoint at one another.
    Below is powerful tools that you should do :
    1. Send your personnel to your supplier. Together with the supplier staff, do a proper MSA on the outgoing machine which is said to be 100% error-proof.
    2. If it’s not proven, then you can omit your supplier from the list of possible causes. The do a thorough process mappin to identify the most contributing areas to the defects encountered.
    For all above, make sure you use consistent defect criteria to judge good/bad product
    Good luck!!


    Jered Horn

    Let me add a couple thoughts to what has already been suggested…
    First of all, “100% outgoing machine inspection” is NOT “a good quality improvement methodology”.  What that means is they have a process where they know they will produce defects and they wait until the “outgoing” process step to attempt to catch those defects.  Yes, MSA needs to be conducted on that inspection machine.
    Next, it sounds like you’ve got yourself a supplier that forgot the “the customer is always right” creed.  They, really, should be taking the responisibilty to show or prove to you that 100% defect-free product is arriving at your factory.  And don’t forget the potential for damage during shipping…that should be their responisbility as well.
    Now, as the customer, who is feeling the pain of this issue, you need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible.  Perhaps you can tell your supplier that you are going to run an experiment and see if the same issues you’re experiencing now continue when you try a different supplier.  I expect, if that’s something you can do relatively easily, silly finger-pointing will stop and the problem will be identified and resolved quickly.
    Just my opinion.  Good luck.



    As others have stated, an MSA will be a critical step. The supplier isn’t going to be too happy with the challenge, but it should be expected.  Also, I would look at sampling incoming product – audit the samples for the quality characteristics you have deemed necessary.  This will not only confirm any supplier issues, but may also indicate any transportation issues.  I’m not a big fan of inspection, but it shouldn’t take too much effort to see if you or your supplier is the issue.  My gut tells me it’s a little bit of both, but the measures will show the truth.



    When you refer to a MSA, are we talking about performing a Gage R&R study? Could you please enlighten me on this.
    And thank you all for your professional opinion



    There are a variety of tools to be used such as Hypothesis Testing, DOE, Regression, among others.
    BUT before you use these tools, and focus on supplier alone as the sole factor, consider also your warehousing and supplier in-transit. the fragility of the components can have high variability the moment these are moved and/or stored.


    Heebeegeebee BB

    You might consider a Gemba of both facilities to do the following:
    Standards/Work instruction review to see if a gap exists in methods/processes between outgoing and incoming.



    You may want to consider the “Hawthorne Effect” during your inspection process, whereby the process/people knowing that it is being inspected, will raise the quality of outputs. If this positive change is permanent, all well and good, but not if it is just for a short period of time. You may want to thus implement an inspection process that is unobtrusive and covert.



    Let me add my thoughts :
    The, “100% outgoing machine inspection” is NOT “a good quality improvement methodology”, as this process is a time consuming and add to overhead cost. And try to find the other issues involved in  supplying defect free products.
    For  taking the responisibilty to prove   that 100% defect-free product is arriving at supplier’s factory, the potential for damage during shipping is the responisbility of supplier and buyer. Promote positive supplier relationships through courtesy and impartiality in all phases of supplies, i.e., production-inspection-packing-despatch-logistics-unpacking-and finaly putting in use., and remove the ambiguty with mutual understanding keeping an interest of win-win situation.

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