Most supplier problem resolutions do not start at the production stage. Many problems begin from working with suppliers whose managers or owners think they have special relationships with their customers’ management. Many production problems start when suppliers refuse to co-operate with their customers’ managers whom they do not know, or customer-appointed quality and technical experts to implement corrective actions.
AMREP had a biomedical device customer which had the device's plastic components manufactured in Singapore. These components were then sent to another contract manufacturer for the final assembly of the device. Most components were always rejected for assembly.
A customer material expert was stationed in Singapore to resolve quality problems relating to tooling and material usage. Attempted problem resolution always ended up in disagreements.
AMREP plastic and tooling specialists added in by the customer to track problems could never get detailed information on problems. Final assembly in Thailand was always delayed because of component issues
Supplier problem resolution can never be achieved when supplier management bypasses a customer’s quality representative and talks directly to his boss because of an established “special relationship” with the customer’s top management.
In our biomedical device customer case, our AMREP CEO and Chairman were brutally frank to our customers’ top management when they said, “ When a supplier is reluctant to cooperate and does not understand the meaning of customer’s money and customer satisfaction, it is time to look for another supplier in double quick time”.