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Method for supplier development Disclosure Number: IPCOM000029124D
Publication Date: 2004-Jun-16
Document File: 5 page(s) / 83K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method for supplier development. Benefits include improved functionality, performance, and cost effectiveness.

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Method for supplier development

Disclosed is a method for supplier development. Benefits include improved functionality, performance, and cost effectiveness.


      A typical process to approve a supplier for high volume manufacturing is comprised of the following steps: (1) supplier selection, (2) supplier qualification, and (3) high volume manufacturing (see Figure 1). The lack of a systematic process to develop a supplier’s operational systems related to commercial, technology/engineering, manufacturing process control and quality functions leads to an unacceptable cost and time investment by a customer in developing a supplier to deliver expected results. The result can be business disengagement with a supplier because the customer is disenfranchised by the slow progress of supplier development and improvement. The issue of supplier development is typically addressed in one of two ways:

•             Reaction to issues

•             Uncoordinated development processes

Reaction to issues

      Both customer and supplier react to issues as they impact the business relationship, time to market, and product quality. Commercial, technology, and quality barriers within the supplier’s system are not proactively identified by either the customer or supplier. Barriers are not addressed prior to the issue impacting the supplier’s ability to ship product on-time or within cost and quality goals. In many instances, the customer has not adequately communicated these goals to the supplier.

Uncoordinated development processes

      Supplier development processes are not coordinated across functional groups and are primarily serial in nature. The identification of deficiencies within, and development of, supplier operational systems on a par with industry leaders are conducted independently of one another. This approach is less effective and development gaps go unnoticed until their impact is felt. Systems are generally not optimized for time-to-closure and the use of both supplier and customer resources.

General description

      The disclosed method provides a structured, holistic means of managing a supplier’s development to meet or exceed the expectations identified by the customer, the supplier, or both.

Expectations may be related to commercial, technical, quality, and other applicable systems.

      The method includes identifying, documenting, and tracking-to-closure supplier development opportunities for multiple key functional areas pertaining to a supplier relationship. Gaps in the supplier’s systems are identified through an audit or assessment process. The method provides the singular management of multiple key functional areas that are often managed independently of one another.

              The key elements of the method include:

•             Supplier development team comprised of quality, engineering, commercial, and management representatives from both the customer and supplier

•             Suppli...