A: Third Party Inspection, or TPI, is the term used for independent and impartial inspection services provided by a qualified inspection agency. These services are hired by the buyer or purchaser of equipment to ensure that the manufacturer meets the purchase specifications. The scope of work is determined by buyers and purchasers. The inspection may range from a less complex pre-shipment inspection to a more stringent inspection requiring to witness tests like hydro-static, mechanical, performance etc., material certificate review, dimensional control, NDE inspection/test review, inspections of packing, marking and loading. The plan and scope of work for inspection is defined through inspection and test plan (ITP).
A: The third party inspection (TPI) services are needed by the customer ( buyer or purchaser) once they are purchasing an equipment from a company or getting an item/assembly made from a manufacturer to ensure that the item they are buying or getting made is good in all respect before it is shipped to them. Customers hire the services of a TPI service provider like AQSS to this job for them.
A: There can be several instances when companies require the services of a third-party inspection company.
- An organization may employ the services of a third party inspection company when working with new suppliers. The TPI companies have inspectors with expertise in wide range of industries and product categories. It is more practical for an organization to hire an expert inspector to evaluate supplier products against the performance criteria and to work with the supplier based on the TPI company’s evaluation.
- If a company’s in-house quality verification team is falling short on the benchmark results or due to volume of work resources are not sufficient, you need a third party inspection company to remove the inefficiencies.
- If a company purchases premium items or such item/assembly if it fails will have significant impact/damage like high-end electronics or industrial item, assembly/equipment. In such cases company will need hands-on experts to examine the quality and technical specifications of the goods delivered.
- Experts advise that it is better to assess the goods at different stages during production than to solve the issues with the supplier, when the product is already shipped. It is less costly and convenient on both ends. Repeated product quality issues reflect flaws in the production chain, which requires immediate rectification and the unbiased eye of a third-party inspector.
- It may not be cost effectiveness for the company due to travel expenses of full time employee specially if part/assembly has many steps and activities involved in its production process which may take many days or weeks.
A: These inspections are not mandated by any specific law however most companies consider third party inspection a well-justified expense. TPIs are performed by independent companies with strong expertise, working on the ground every day. They provide a unbiased opinion on functionality of equipment and allows a buyer to keep a close eye on quality and consistency without having to be on site. Based on the terms of purchase, work may not proceed till verified by an independent inspection agency.
A: Supplier assessment/audit or second party audit refers to the process of assessing and approving potential suppliers through quantitative and qualitative assessment. Also referred to as supplier evaluation, the purpose of supplier assessment is to ensure a portfolio of in class suppliers is available for use. This assessment may be applied on current suppliers in order to measure and monitor their performance for the purposes of reducing costs, mitigating risk and driving continuous improvement. Supplier assessment/audit (at the time of initial selection and/or later) is undertaken to ensure that supplier’s systems, practices, and procedures are defined, controlled and implemented as per the customer requirements. Supplier audits/assessments can be done on-site or remotely.
A: These terms have been used interchangeably in the industry. Another common term used for supplier assessment is supplier evaluation. The basic theme behind supplier audits and supplier assessments is to evaluate and qualify suppliers based on their ability to supply high-quality parts, materials, components, and ingredients. The consistency, reliability and durability of your product depends largely on critical suppliers in your supply chain. Buyers want to make sure that their suppliers have the systems and processes in place to meet their demand for high quality material, parts and components and conform to applicable regulatory requirements.
Independent supplier audit and assessment by an external audit and assessment agency further helps the purchaser or buyer in making decisions about their buyers and help restore confidence in their capabilities.
A : supplier audit and assessment is an effective way to evaluate a particular supplier and the risk it presents to the buyer organization. Many factors that contributes to a manufacturer’s poor quality and reliability stems from supplier related activities. The following benefits can be realized by conducting supplier audits and assessments:
- Helps to ensure that all suppliers in the supply chain have same set of standards that a buyer organization follows. It brings reliability and consistency across the supply chain and help an organization deliver quality products
- Ensures that supplier has effective document management in place specially for addressing nonconformance and risks associated with the business
- Identifies gaps in supplier’s quality process, design process, manufacturing process, order processing and shipping process allowing a buyer or manufacturer to close the loop on any deviations, nonconformances or delays.
- Provides a comprehensive look at supply chain performance to identify performers and non-performers and allows a manufacturer/buyer to work closely with the supplier to reduce cost of poor quality
- Helps enforce the same set of standards across the supply chain for all suppliers to ensure consistency. Especially important for critical suppliers in the supply chain.
- Improves collaboration between manufacturer and its suppliers. Access to supplier-related activities provides an open exchange of information and complete transparency on both sides of the relationship.
- Identifies high-risk areas and helps mitigate any safety occurrence before it affects the supply chain.
- Improves customer satisfaction as a manufacturer’s supply chain improves and end product improves.
A: Supplier audit and assessment services may be engaged by any organization that is experiencing disruptions in the supply chain mainly due to poor quality, delays in shipments, conformance with manufacturer or buyer specifications and other process related issues. It may also stem from the fact that the manufacturer or the buyer wants to implement a comprehensive supplier audit and assessment mechanism to ensure that their supplier systems and capabilities align well with their own management system and there is a seamless flow of materials, parts and components throughout the supply chain.
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