Build Stronger Supplier Relationships 


Build Stronger Supplier Relationships 

As a quality assurance professional, you are likely to have noted some of the major changes in the industry and how they have related to your job specifically. The move from a simple transactional approach that did not require any amount of fostering to a more supplier-oriented relationship that requires commitment, buy-in, and collaboration between you and your buying office.

It also can not go unnoted that there are also much more stringent guidelines and compliance criteria to adhere to.  With this in mind, it is important to note these changes and make adjustments where necessary. As this will keep you at the forefront of global trends and keep you competing in a global market. In this blog post, we will explore some of the historic global sourcing trends and what the changes in these trends can mean for you and your supplier relationships.

Through the years the technological revolution has optimized every sector on the planet, the shift from a transactional approach to procurement to a more strategic, holistic approach to the entire supply chain, with an emphasis on stronger supplier relationships to fully optimize the entire supply chain.

The Evolution of Global Sourcing


how to build long term supplier relationships .jpgLet’s take a dive into some of the historical trends with regards to global sourcing. A brief overview will provide us with why we keep up with these trends and what these trends mean for today. They underpin the way in which we currently view and conduct sourcing, so it is important to understand how sourcing has evolved.

In the early 60’s there was a great focus on purchasing although this was still a clerical based position, as we moved through to the 70’s there was an acknowledgement of the enormity of the task so it became its own department, a department solely focused on purchasing and all the procedures that go into that. As history goes, politics, the environment, and government affect every element of the economy and the manner in which it functions, shifts and changes.

The oil embargo in the late 70’s pushed the agenda of purchasing into the hands of businesses, this made purchasing in the 80’s take a more strategic look into quality, quantity, timing, reliability, and strategy. As I am sure you are aware, the 90’s was all about reducing costs, sometimes at the expense of quality. Although there was also a greater emphasis on developing long-term supplier relationships, with long-term contracts.

This era also birthed good supplier relationship management. The progression of technology felt its way through each decade making the systems of sourcing that much easier and a more efficient procedure, not to say that the complexities of sourcing did not grow alongside that. Today we see technology at the forefront of our sourcing strategies, allowing room for efficiency, transparency, accountability in order to work towards a more unified,  productive and strategic approach to sourcing.

Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more about implementing a global quality assurance system.

What do these changes in sourcing mean for you?

Global Sourcing Long term supplier relationship.jpgGlobal sourcing as a whole has made it essential for companies to improve their internal processes in order to continue being successful and at the forefront of global trends. This is not always possible with the speed at which technology evolves. You might find that it may be beneficial for you to adopt specific strategies to become more adaptable and dedicate time to continuously research changes that occur in order to keep on top of this ever-changing industry.

Below is a list of sourcing strategy patterns that may resonate with you:

  • Technology oriented sourcing: Technology can have a transformational impact on your supply chain and your management systems, allowing for technical innovations to your sourcing strategy, will assist in keeping you ahead of global trends.
  • Cost oriented global sourcing: The goal here is to save costs. This strategy can be useful for standardized products with easily accessible suppliers.
  • Competition oriented global sourcing: A strategic competitive strategy with the goal being to gain new product ideas by looking for a broad range of good suppliers to increase competition.
  • Partnership oriented global sourcing: This approach highlights the collaborative approach of engaging suppliers in long-term partnerships allowing room for information sharing, there is also investment in the end product or outcome this ensures full client satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to constant improvements along your supply chain.

The above-mentioned strategy patterns to global sourcing assist in defining a clear vision for you and your sourcing strategies.

IKEA faced a local supplier ban, which meant that local suppliers were unable to supply to them which forced them to source product outside of their country of origin, Sweden. The key thing to note here is how they fostered and took advantage of creating long term, strong supplier relationships during this time which allowed them to sustain their low-cost home furnishing position in the market.

There is now more of a collaborative approach between suppliers and buying offices, there are mutual benefits, thus the emphasis on creating long-term sustainable and stronger supplier relationships to increase productivity and alleviate some of the supplier related pressures. How have these changes affected you specifically? How have you adjusted the way in which you operate to adopt these kinds of strategies?

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5 Top Tips to Motivating Your Quality Control Team

Building cohesion with your buying office and quality team may seem overly obvious or a task that may not even seem absolutely necessary in achieving your supply chain goals, but the benefits of this task are often under-estimated. Working within a team is an inevitable part of the tasks you are involved in.

The supply chain key performance indicators will be what your quality control team is measured against, and this will outline whether you and your team have achieved your objectives effectively and efficiently.

The intended objectives are to achieve high-quality outcomes owing to the effective and innovative functionality of the team. There are various attributes of high-performance teams and in this blog post we will take a deeper look into what the essentials are in effectively managing this team, through instilling a productive ethos within your supply chain.

Learn how to cultivate a well-functioning and highly motivated quality control team by following these 5 top tips!

1. Lead from the front

quality control team needs strong leadershipA team that is led by someone who has a strong sense of leadership can drive the team towards the finish line in a successful manner and ensure that they are achieving the supply chain goals. A strong leader needs to be able to ensure that everyone is on track to achieving the goals as set out. They need to build confidence within the team.

The leader is also responsible for managing all relationships and removing any issues that may hinder the effective functioning of the team. Lastly, the team needs to see you in the trenches, alongside them, digging deep. This creates a sense of solidarity and unity with your team.

“Which business leaders do you look up to? Let me know in the comments below…”

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2. Create a list of goals and objectives that need to be achieved 

This is something that comes up regularly, and something that can not be stressed enough. Defining clear objectives and goals that are expressed and communicated from the top on down can have significant effects on building cohesion between you and your buying office.

Clear objectives and guidance will help to manage your team’s expectations and will give your team a united way of working towards achieving those goals. This will also assist as a way of measuring their success or understanding where they may be failing and where to begin fixing it. This also provides a solid grounding of why and how they should be working together in order to ultimately achieve that.

3. Use reporting as a form of accountability

A quality control team for accountability
Regular, daily reports are important for tracking team progress. The data collected and presented in your weekly meetings should align with your quality control plan and should make recommendations and adjustments where necessary. This will help you and your team understand what goals are on track to being achieved, what problems may need to be addressed and what things need a more strategic focus.

The more accurate and concise your reporting is, the more focused your quality team can be in fixing potential problems and even avoiding potential risks. If your supply chain key performance indicators are not aligned with all departments of your supply chain, failure may be inevitable as each department is working to achieve fundamentally different things. One misaligned objective has far-reaching implications for the success or failure of the entire supply chain operation.

4. Internal Conflicts should always be resolved quickly

Any team will at some point hit a spot of conflict when there is a misunderstanding or your goals aren’t aligned. As the team leader, you need to be able to manage this and resolve any conflict that may arise in a timely manner, so they do not become lingering problems that begin to infiltrate into the ethos of your team and quality of the work that is produced.

5. trust your team

Quality Control team
Creating a sense of trust and motivation within your team may sound too emotive for you, but everyone has a desire to be motivated. This creates a sense of ownership and a deeper sense of responsibility and control over their work.

Improved team trust leads to an energized team, an energized team can lead to procedural innovation within your buying office which is exactly what you envision as a Quality Assurance director.

Following these 5 tips will help you to nurture a highly motivated quality control team that are aligned with your supply chain strategy, guaranteeing increased operational efficiency for your brand!

“Have you been able to implement any of these tips within your supply chain?”

“How have they helped you?” 

“What else is important for team building and motivation in your organization?”

Get in touch with our API quality experts!


4 Supply Chain Solutions For Global Brands

Supply chain managers often read supply chain news and yearly trends in order to remain competitive and to determine how they can implement best practices. As we analyze these trends we often look towards global brands and to the way in which they manage their supply chains to achieve their goals. It can be hard and expensive for larger companies and organizations to quickly implement new strategies and adopt new processes in order to stay on top. To remain globally competitive there are particular strategies that are implemented to achieve those successes. In this blog post, we look at what supply chain solutions can be used to create more transparency, collaboration, and efficiency.

Supply Chain Management Challenges

Supply chain managers face a host of challenges and pressures to constantly keep up with all the moving and evolving parts. Here we list three of the biggest challenges that brands currently face that without being able to manage these effectively can have detrimental effects for you and your brand.
  • Managing Suppliers – As a supply chain manager you are responsible for knowing all there is to know about your suppliers, from how many suppliers you have to how many are needed specific to your brand. As with any supplier-related problems you need to be able to handle delays, this goes with the territory. Every interaction you have with the supplier needs to be effectively planned thought out in order to create consistency and a smooth running procedure.Supply Chain Solutions Supply Management .jpg

This can be done through clear communication, a set of agreed upon objectives to work towards, ensure that regular meetings are held in order to address any complications and progresses that are being made. Following these steps may seem obvious, but this can also be a time consuming until you are able to integrate this effectively into your strategy. This helps to build a stronger supplier relationship and will have long-term benefits for all involved.

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  • Risk Mitigation – Adopting a supply chain risk mitigation strategy may be the way to go to avoid the risks that arise. Risk mitigation strategies can include anything from supply chain flexibility to requesting internal supplier related processes to ensure all systems, procedures, and potential risks may be flagged with ample time to rectify if needs are.

Supply Chain Solutions Risk Mitigation .jpgIf we take a look at Targets mistake of launching the toddler sized Barbie SUV country-wide, the problem they faced was that their distribution centers were receiving inventory faster than they were distributing it to stores across the country. This meant that there were Target stores that had empty shelves with none of the promised items in store. They attributed this to inconsistencies between actual inventory and the computer records. A mistake like this will have cost millions in revenue loss, but also detrimental to both Target and Barbie. As a supply chain manager, it is up to you to ensure you suppliers and distribution centers operate on the same system to mitigate risks like this occurring.

  • Supplier relationship management– (SRM) works on a set of processes that drive consistent, clear interactions between the supplier and buyer, SRM programs build new capabilities that enable strategic sourcing and procurement to make the most of the supplier relationships. Effectively applying SRM as a part of your strategy can help achieve greater quality in your product, faster time to market and results for your bottom line, this owing to the successful implementation of an SRM system.
  • Management Inventory – Managing inventory is all about balance, always ensuring you have enough inventory on hand to be able to account for any unforeseen delays so that you do not go “out of stock”. On the other hand, you also do not want to have too much inventory, whether your product is perishable or your product goes out of style, a mismanaged inventory can have vast implications for both brand and supplier. Therefore an efficient inventory control system is crucial.Supply Chain Solutions managing inventory .jpg

If we take a look at Walmart, despite the precision and technologically advanced supply chain management system, they are continuously failing to restock popular products creating a disruption between the customer and their brand, also resulting in revenue loss. They have attributed this to a shortage of staff within their distribution centers, with not enough people to manage the vast amounts of inventory coming and needing to go.

Implementing these supply chain solutions effectively will assist in alleviating some of the challenges and pressures that are experienced on a daily basis. These solutions should enable you to keep up with global trends and remain a strong competitor within the industry. Do you have any thoughts or experience on specific supply chain solutions that have had impact on your supplier relationships?

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4 Supply Chain Best Practices for Regional Brands

We live in a fast-paced environment with trends coming and going, before there’s even been a moment to catch up. As a regional quality director with increased supply challenges, one may need to begin looking to how global brands are managing their supply chains to start transforming local operations to remain a strong competitor at the top of current trends.

In this blog, we look at what supply chain best practices you can begin implementing from a regional context.

Collaborative Strategic Sourcing 

This approach highlights the collaborative approach of engaging suppliers in long-term partnerships with active involvement in the decision-making process which allows room for feedback and information sharing from your suppliers. This creates an investment in the end product or outcome which ensures full client satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to constant improvements along the supply chain. The more strategic you are with the optimization of your supply chain the more you are then able to reduce various risks that come up along the way.

Decision Making supply chain solutions.jpg

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming essential for all supply chains to adopt. Suppliers who adopt CSR are taken into stronger consideration over and above those who do not. Brands increasingly want to partner with suppliers who can provide them with environmental compliances and want to know what green initiatives they run to partner with.

One of the best ways to begin understanding how to implement these solutions regionally is to look at a global brand that has had its fair share of supply struggles. Herman Miller is a good example to do this with. Supply chain solutions - CSR.jpg

Miller is seen as instrumental in paving the way with greening the supply chain from using a green design for their products, to ensuring they use less harmful chemicals within the products. The only way they were able to do this was through gaining supplier buy-in. They asked their suppliers to begin complying with the zero-waste policies within their procedures.

Herman Miller has used greening their supply chain as an opportunity for innovation. They have been able to create new uses for material and product that were otherwise disposed of to the benefit of their product and brand. These kinds of innovations have huge benefits as they continue to pave the way as a strong globally competitive brand with green initiatives at the fore of every process they follow.

As consumers increasingly dictate what manufacturers make, the power of adopting CSR and green initiatives as part of your strategy can have global results for your brand.

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Third Party Quality Assurance

Your supply chain is directly linked to your brand image; it is, therefore, imperative that you have an efficient supply chain management strategy. You may find that your brand could benefit from adopting third party QA. The challenges experienced along your supply chain are often full of complexities, through outsourcing all of your procedures to a compliant QA company your brand’s image is taken care of. The QA solutions that are offered are tailored specific to your needs and the ever-evolving changes.


Global brands are known to adopt various technological solutions to Supply chain solutions for regional brands .jpgeffectively manage their supply chains. Regionally there is the thought that this may be too expensive to apply. When it comes to technology, it is too easy to jump to the first software you find.  It is essential to understand what you need technology to do for you, so that you may select the type of technology that is best suited to your needs. By doing this, you are ensuring that this is not overly costly for you and maximizes its efficiency for you.

These are only a few of the supply chain best practices that can be implemented regionally. Always review your procedures to work out what will work best for you, don’t find yourself in a position where you have adopted the first solution you’ve come across with no noticeable evidence of the benefits it has for you and your quality procedures. The point is to optimize your supply chain for the best possible outcomes for your brand. What solutions do you use to optimize your supply chain?

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Where Regional Brands Fail and Global Brands Succeed

Over the years there have been shifts in the supply chain, where gaining a competitive advantage through your entire supply chain can be essential to your success. It has become virtually impossible for a company on its own to reach this position. Today we see the power of the market in the customer’s hands, therefore without an agile, flexible supply chain, you may not be able to keep up with the demands of the market. It is an ever-changing landscape, that is defined no longer by the designer. In this blog post, we take a look at where regional household goods brands fail and what successes they can take from global brands.

Regional Failures

There are many reasons that can cause a regional retailer to experience supply chain failures, here we dive into a few of these reasons:

1.Risk Management strategies – Risk is a part of any and every supply chain. Regional retailers often put out fires all along the supply chain instead of preventing fires thr ough risk prediction. Many companies do not understand the value of having a risk management strategy, there is often the misconception that it is a costly strategy to have in place, while there is a cost to implementing this. Take into consideration what risk can cost you, more or less than having a strategy in place? This is multi-faceted and requires a strategic approach.

2.Delivery delays – With customers defining market trends and the speed at whichRegional household goods brand - delivery delays.jpgthey need products. You may find yourself at a loss with a delivery delay. Contingency plans are essential to ensuring your product gets to market. A contingency plan allows you to manage this without causing your brand any damage. These kinds of delays cause customer dissatisfaction pushing them to buy your product elsewhere.

3.Inventory Management – Inventory management is a complex procedure from ensuring you have enough inventory on hand to ensure you don’t run out of inventory in your warehouse. Both sides of this coin can have detrimental effects for your brand. Regional brands do not often know how to manage this balance effectively rendering the product either unwanted or leaving customers unsatisfied. Regionally inventory management is often done manually; this causes inconsistency with too much room for human error. This kind of procedure can often be costly and time-consuming. 

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Global Success

Global brands, have much larger and more complex supply chains to navigate and therefore face the same potential failures regional brands do, but this larger, more complex web of intricacies requires an efficient, well communicated operating procedure for every step of the process.

Regional household goods brand risk management.jpg1.Risk Management – Global brands take every procedure into account when understanding possible areas of risk. From sourcing to logistics to inventory management, each of these areas affects one another. If there is a problem with sourcing, it inadvertently affects the logistics of the entire operation. Therefore a brand such as Amazon needs to have a Risk Mitigation strategy that spans the entire operation.

An example of a risk strategy would be the adopting visibility tools that are used to keep track of various shipments in real-time that also enable you to take action in the case of a delay.

2.Delivery Delays – Global brands use software with real-time updates on their shipments. This technology helps to identify any problems or deficiencies in a timely manner. While this may not be preventative, it does make sure there are no surprises. To prevent these kind of mishaps, using a Transport Management System which promotes cross network communications.  

 3.Inventory Management – When it comes to managing inventory on a global scale it is safe to say that softwareRegional Household goods brand - inventory management.jpg should be used. Automating this processes allows for transparency and an up to date inventory procedure.

Zoho Inventory is software that enables you to manage and keep track of your orders and inventory with real-time updates, keeping you ahead of your supply chain.

The above challenges don’t have to mean the end for your brand.

Begin assessing which of these strategies will provide the biggest benefit to your supply chain, while some of them may cost you to put in place, ask yourself whether or not it may be worth it in the long run. We cannot predict the future or the way in which supply chains function under pressure, but you may want to find yourself in a position where you have the best possible strategies to deal with whatever challenges may come up, minimizing the potential risks your entire operation may face.

The above-mentioned failures are to enlighten the perception around these specific strategies, with clear communication, an effective strategy and a plan of action you are likely to begin addressing those pressing supply chain challenges that you face.

“Are you a brand that has struggled with the above mentioned?”

“Were you able to address your challenges successfully?”


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QA Procedures To Optimize Your Supply Chain Efficiency

Do you need to optimize your current quality assurance procedures? Are you unsure of how to get started? Determining the current position of your quality systems may be a difficult one to get your head around with complex procedures to analyze and the newest technology that is just too expensive to get your hands on…In this eBook we look at how you can optimize your current systems through strategy and thorough analysis and planning, that will put your brand in a position for opportunity and growth.

Download our FREE guide on optimizing your quality assurance systems. Doing this will not only increase your brand’s product quality, but it will also enhance the credibility of your brand increasing your competitive advantage.

Check out our comprehensive guide on optimizing your quality assurance systems. 

In this guide you will be able to:

  • Clearly define the quality challenges that you are currently facing
  • Clearly define solutions that you can apply to your current systems for improvement
  • How can you implement the solutions into your quality systems
  • We also take a dive into how global brands are adopting different quality solutions and what things we can learn from them

You don’t have to spend a fortune trying to get the latest and greatest technology to plug into your supply chain.

It’s all about being strategic and analyzing the unique challenges and needs within your supply chain and then adopting a technology to suit exactly that.

quality assurance procedures

IKEA, for example, needed a way to reduce their supply chain costs, so they did, through analysis and planning they came up with a concept called Cost-per-touch, this method is based on the number of “touches” a product receives throughout the entire supply chain process right up until a customer buys the product. This concept allowed them to reduce their costs, but also helped them achieve a better inventory management strategy.

This concept through strategic planning and analysis was also innovative in its application.

It will be important to keep an eye on what global brands are doing so that you may make continuous improvements to your supply chain to maintain that competitive advantage through a fully optimized QA procedures.


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A Supply Chain Management System To Optimize Supply Chain

Global retailers have large complex supply chains, to efficiently manage these they have to adopt a variety of tools and software to ensure an effective supply management system. In this blog post, we take a look at a few of the tools global brands use to manage this supply chain complexity.

1. Technology

Using technology as part of your supply chain management is becoming essential to remaining globally competitive. It can be used to for real-time tracking of your orders, to real-time inventory updates. The analytics that you receive enable visibility, early forecasting of potential risks and early identification of systems that may not be working. Technology is used to simplify your supply chain, thus reducing operational expenses and overall timing.

  • Dako, a UK Furniture retailer uses Transportation Management Software (TMS), such as STREAM which is a particular technology that can be used to track shipments, map routes and also keeps track of inventory in real-time, minimizing supply chain challenges.

Supply chain complexity - supplier partnerships .jpg2. Strategic partnerships

By creating an emphasis on supplier relationships, it becomespossible to establish collaboration with the moving parts of the supply chain. This is done through clear communication of goals and expectations, through stakeholder buy-in which creates a vested interested in the outcome of the quality of the product. This, in turn, fosters a relationship which results in system innovation and supply chain transparency.

  • Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) is driven by consistent, clear interactions between the supplier and buyer, SRM programs build newcapabilities that enable strategic sourcing and procurement. Effectively applying SRM as a part of your strategy can help achieve greater quality in your product and a faster time to market.

Supply chain complexity - warehousing.jpg

3. Inventory management tactics

Managing inventory is all about balance. Making sure that you don’t have too much inventory thus face the risk of increased storage costs and a longer time to market having an effect on your return. You also need to make sure you don’t have too little inventory forcing people to shop elsewhere for a similar product. Both sides of the equation can have detrimental effects for your brand. Here we look at two inventory management tactics that are applied by two of the biggest global retailers:

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  • Cost per touch:  This strategy is employed by IKEA, and is centered around the idea that each time a product is touched within the supply chain process, it is charged accordingly. This tactic empowers the customer and also brings them into inventory management. This system has encouraged customers to go as far as collecting their product from the nearest IKEA warehouse as well as building their item at home, therefore reducing the number of times the product was touched and reducing the end costs.

`supply chain complexity quality control .jpg4. Quality Control

Often times the quality department or team is over-looked when trying to optimize the supply chain for procedural efficiency. As a good quality control manager can help to minimise human errors within the production processes. The aspect of quality affects nearly every step in the supply chain process from raw material inspection to the final product. You may want to take into consideration the value of these departments working together as they can provide overall supply chain process efficiency, saving you time and procedural expenses.

5. Focus On Core Competencies

Your brand may not have the expertise to effectively manage quality systems. Therefore it may be of benefit to outsource the management of your quality procedures to a trusted quality provider. There are many benefits to this approach from the time it takes to testing a product as they have the right technical skills which has a faster turnaround time to also having great cost benefits.

The above tactics help reduce the amount of moving parts that encompass the supply chain, with fewer moving parts, one can reduce potential risks and costs over time. This creates an efficiency and a level of quality in the supply chain that was never there before.

A supply chain management system consists of complex procedures; the above tools seek to simplify these through greater visibility and transparency creating a level of quality and efficiency that is globally competitive. Which of these tools have you adopted? What is the greatest efficiency that you have experienced through adopting any of these tactics?


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How purchasing departments benefit from better quality management systems

The harshest judge of the quality of a product is your customers. As a households goods quality manager, it is your responsibility to ensure the systems and procedures you have in place, run as smoothly and effectively as possible. 

In this blog post, we look at the role of a quality manager and the benefits of adopting quality management systems as a part of your supply chain strategy.

It may be necessary, to begin with, an appropriate definition of the role of a quality manager to help put perspective on how they can assist purchasing departments with their quality systems;

A quality manager’s role is “concerned with monitoring and advising on the performance of the quality management system, producing data and reporting on performance, measuring against set standards.”  

Understanding the role of a quality manager leads into understanding what a quality management system (QMS) is:

“A QMS is a set of policies, processes and procedures required for planning and execution of a product or service.”

Quality management systems - Management-1.jpg

The purchasing department of any organization has many functions from procurement of raw materials all the way through to the load testing of various household goods through to policy compliance. Each of these components requires the leadership and technical skill and know-how of a quality manager to ensure the entire procedure is run effectively and according to set quality standards.

Quality managers can improve the quality systems within purchasing departments by ensuring there is a set of quality standards and metrics that need to be achieved, these standards can be anything from load testing results, to the delivery times of material or of the end product. It is essential to work closely with purchasing departments to develop relationships and collaborate with suppliers. This will have results for the quality of your systems and your end product.

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ISO 9001: 2015

ISO 9001: 2015 is an example of a QMS, which is a set of requirements a supplier needs to comply with to consistently meet specific requirements and that they also meet a specified set of regulations.

Applying this ISO standard can have significant benefits for your brand, let’s take a look at some of the key benefits it can have:

1. Improvement of your credibility and image

Quality management systems .jpg Every brand strives to increase their credibility within the global market, this standard can help you maintain that competitive advantage, as suppliers who have this standard are often selected over and above those who do not.

2. Improvement of customer satisfaction – At its very core this standard is about the improvement of customer satisfaction, through thorough planning and efficient implementation where the end user is satisfied with the functionality, quality of the product to the way in which it was delivered.  

3. Better process integration – By understanding and analyzing your processes you will clearly be able to find improvements that need to be made. These are based on hard that is collected to make these improvements to your procedures.

4. Improve your evidence for decision making – Evidence-based decision-making is based on hard data. Decisions can then be made based on data which can allow for proper allocation of resources and in turn having cost benefits for your brand.

5. Create a continual improvement culture – By instilling a continuous improvement cycle within your buying office, you will not only increase your outputs, but also the quality and standard of your procedures and end product, and also creating that customer satisfaction.

A Quality Management system is essential to ensuring quality household good products and the processes that come from your purchasing departments.

This will provide accountability and sustainable relationships with your suppliers as they strive to meet a set of global standards. This can have far-reaching implications for your brand.

What is your experience in adopting a QMS within your purchasing departments?

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10 things you will learn from a third party quality provider

Do you feel that no matter how much you plan, the maze of complex logistics is always catching up with you? Successfully running your quality systems is key to the success of your entire operation.

As you try to stay on top of your logistics, resources, planning and strategies within your supply chain, you may have never considered the hiring of a third party quality provider. In this blog post, we endeavor to look at how you can benefit from hiring a third party quality provider:

1. Expertise – A third party quality provider has a wide array of clients creating an extensive network and a wealth of knowledge that will all be put into providing you Third party quality provider - expertise.jpgwith efficient quality procedures. They are also up to date with the latest developments in the industry along with the best practices to follow. As a result, you have all the expertise and knowledge about your quality procedures at your disposal; this can be invaluable to your quality and logistics procedures.

2. Efficiency – A third party quality provider has the infrastructure to manage all the logistics you require from all the certifications and documentation to the technology that is needed to ensure you receive a delivery on time as well as a product of a high quality. Apart from just managing the logistics, they also come with all the technical experience from having local product inspectors and an extensive network to create that efficiency in the logistics that you require.  

3. Technology –  The use of appropriate technology and software to optimize your supply chain may be too expensive to have in-house, therefore leveraging the technology that a third party quality company can provide may be the way to go. They can save you time and minimize your risks through inventory tracking, warehouse management and can furnish you with quality compliance certification according to your specification.

4. Accountability – Upon meeting with your provider, it will be important for you to agree upon a set of expectations that will need to be achieved, a document like this will help to hold you both accountable to the operating procedures and their successes. It will also be important for your quality provider to show whether or not they can deliver on these set expectations.

5. Innovation – With their expertise, they are able to meet and fit your needs in the way they see best fitting allowing them room to innovate to achieve the best possible results for you and your operating procedures.

6. Optimization – Along with the technology and software that they use, they are able to identify potential risks before they happen and are able to continuously make improvements along the way. Continuous optimization is key to the success of any quality and supply chain procedures. 

7. Network – The network an outsourced organization has can be extensive, providing your company with the best value for your money as well as a tried and tested networks to conduct your operation effectively and efficiently.   

8. Risk reduction – Through the resources and technology they have, they are able to minimize the risks you would normally experience. They will have the ability to identify potential risks early on, allowing enough room to mitigate if needs be.

9. Flexibility – Outsourcing has the flexibility to adjust to the rapid changes, movements, and complexities that are experienced within the supply chain. To manage those kinds of changes internally may even be the cause of risks within the supply chain. 

10 things you will learn from a third party quality provider - International Logistics

10. International Logistics – International export and import require a fair amount of logistics and management to make sure your product gets to you safely and in good condition. An outsourced company is capable of managing all of your international logistics from factory inspections and compliances to the testing of your product internationally. 

Outsourcing your quality and logistics procedures will have effects for your bottom line but can also create the opportunity to enhance your brand’s quality, credibility and efficiency helping you to maintain a competitive advantage within the market. As you consider your current logistics and quality processes you may look at the benefits of outsourcing this next time round.

Ready to begin optimizing your quality procedures today?


2 Ways To Ensure Supply Chain Compliance

Supply chain compliance is becoming one of the biggest challenges faced by all retail professionals. Among small, medium enterprises’s it likely hits a little harder, with limited resources and where costs are always a make or break factor. Often-times you can only afford a supplier lacking certain levels compliance documentation, which in turn requires you to monitor them even more stringently, but can you afford the resources to do so properly? Your supply chain is dotted with complexities that can expose your organization to risk. This risk as you know needs to be avoided and planned for with actionable steps in place to mitigate any kind of exposure or threat to your supply chains operations.

So let’s do just that… 

In this blog post, I endeavor to highlight only two of the most common supply chain challenges that many regional retailers currently face, but also what you can do to begin achieving that desired supply chain compliance for your brand so that you may begin safeguarding against avoidable areas of risk. So let’s dive in;

First Identify your challenges

Identifying the challenges that you face within your retail supply chain is always the best place to begin, here I list two of the most common challenges that are experienced among many a local retailer;

1. Supplier relationships –  Your suppliers are the key to your entire operation.

Take a moment consider that…

Supplier collaboration can foster growth, if allowed they can also help you to create operational efficiencies which enables you to get your product to market a lot faster. 

This relationship will act as an incubator for out of the box, innovative thinking as your supplier begins to take real ownership of the end products and their quality. The way in which you engage with your suppliers from the very beginning, will set the tone for your operations going forward.

Careful assessment is needed when signing on new suppliers, this is often the point at which compliance problems begin to seep in. You need to ensure that all the appropriate factory technical documentation is in order when selecting a supplier. A bit of due diligence in this area will guard you in the long-run. This will ensure that you have a defined and agreed upon set of operating principles where everything is done in compliance with these operating principles and standards.

2. CSR and environmental impact – Through adequate evaluation and a good a supplier relationship you will be able to determine CSR and environmental impacts. This is either done through a social compliance audit and an environmental audit which is either done in-house or through a third-party quality provider, such as API.

An environmental audit will provide insight into things like by-product waste of the factory, how they dispose their waste, who disposes their waste and what levels of CO2 are being emitted and whether or not any of this can be reduced or are even being addressed. The results will help you to determine their impact on the environment and whether or not they are compliant with local and/or international environmental laws.

A social compliance audit provides insight into things like child and forced labour, overtime and possible wage related disputes. This things are not only unethical, but should your brand be aligned with these practices, you will be destroying your brands reputation and image. 

The results of the above audits will enable you to make an informed decision about the type of supplier you wish to align your brand with. 

Supply chain compliance and environmental auditing

Let’s take a look at what Walmart did; They created what they call the Sustainability Index, which is essentially a scorecard for suppliers to be reported on from various social and environmental production factors. 

Walmart has said that by the end of 2017 that 70% of its products will come from suppliers who participate through this Index, and as a benefits they will be endorsed as a sustainable partner and proud Walmart supplier.  


Supply chain compliance is an important issue to address, with many local retail brands realising that compliance needs to be a top priority to be achieved in order to achieve a globally competitive advantage in the market.

So how do we go about achieving just that?

Good supplier relationships for supply chain compliance

1. Supply chain visibility –  This refers to the data visibility made available within your supply chain; from where your raw materials come from, to your factory’s technical operations right through to your inventory management strategies.

All of this data needs to be made available and visible to your consumers to create a sesnse of openness and trust within your supply chain operations.

**When bringing on new suppliers be sure to ask for access to all of their compliance documentation from health and safety, to environmental and technical information. 

2. Supply chain transparency – This is where your organisation begins to analyse current quality and compliance procedures. Transparency and visibility need to work hand-in-hand the data provides insight into the operations and the operations provide the data to be analysed. 

Supply chain transparency endeavours to take a deeper look into your systems and processes, understanding what makes them work and also not work. This approach to your supply chain operations allows you to mitigate risk early on, but also identify any areas that may need improvement, therefor adopting a continuous quality improvement cycle. 

As mentioned earlier, consumers actively research any retail brand’s supply chain and its processes from raw material to the moment a product reaches the floor to right before they make that purchase decision. It is crucial for your brand to ensure clean and compliant operational procedures if you are to achieve a globally competitive brand. 

Supply chain compliance need not be another complexity that your retail brand needs to face, through actively engaging and applying the above suggestions to your operations they will indeed help you on your way to a successful and compliant supply chain that puts your brand in a position of growth and also mitigates against any unnecessary risks.