Auditing suppliers has the benefit of ensuring that all the requirements placed upon them are being met from material handling through the production process to finished goods. Depending on the type of product this can range from verification of self-certification right through to overseeing that a full quality control process is in place and being adhered to. This process of double checking a supplier has the benefit of identifying potential problem areas that may have been overlooked when the original assessment was carried out and the resulting processes were put into place.
For some manufacturers auditing is compulsory such as those providing zero defect parts to the aerospace and automotive industries for others it remains an excellent way of checking that the processes in place are robust, do what is needed of them and that they are efficient. A good organisation will use continuous assessment to ensure that ongoing their practices are the best they can be and an external audit can go a long way towards achieving this.
Auditing suppliers should not be limited to simply assessing whether regulations are being enforced but also consider if any or all of the processes in place currently can be streamlined and efficiency improved. Regular audits will ensure continued compliance with the regulations in force and will also review the supporting systems to ensure that they are the taking full advantage of any benefits that could be provided by new methodologies and technologies.