Vendor Evaluations

A potential client once told me that a previous auditor recommended the client improve his vendor evaluation process. The client’s vendor evaluations only pertained to product vendors, not to services such as the building cleaning service, electrical contractor, and even the ISO auditor who provided the service.

I’ve also heard a few others in the ISO world proclaim that it would be a good thing to include service providers in the vendor evaluation process. However I don’t agree with this. Some ISO auditors and consultants seem to think that business people have all the time in the world to work on little details such as formal evaluation of service vendors. Personally I believe that section 7.4.1 applies to products and services that you use in goods or services that you sell to your customers, not necessarily vendors you use to maintian your building, or other vendors where YOU are the final customer.

While it sure would be nice to have the time and energy to perform a formal vendor evaluation on such vendors, I believe most business owners and employees would much rather spend their time trying to make their company profitable.

I would be interested to hear the justification from someone who feels otherwise.


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5 Responses to “Vendor Evaluations”

  1. Cathy says:

    I don’t feel otherwise, I agree. But it hacks me off that, like you said, they don’t think we have anything better to do. I can’t be chasing every last detail, I have a business to run. If an auditor wants you do do things like that can you just get a new auditor?

  2. Timothy says:

    Actually, yes you can get a new auditor. I’ve only had to do that once in about 15 years, but yes you can ask your registar to send a different auditor. Or you can change registrars. I wouldn’t recommend you do this a lot, but you probably shouldn’t have to. Most auditors are reasonable people.

  3. Sandeep Patwardhan says:

    Dear Sir,

    I agree with what you say that the vendor evaluation can be justified / required as long as the product/service provided by that vendor is directly going to affect the product quality produced by an organization. But there can be situations where the unclean ambiance may harm / affect your product quality by say , adultration or infection. It may also affect the work efficiency of the staff, there by directly affecting the product/service theyprovide.
    So in my opinion it will be good to enter the names of the vendors who provide such services in the vendor inspection list

  4. Mo says:

    perhaps but that would be a good reason to perform cursory risk analysis about all processes being performed in a facility. You can then narrow down those that would have an impact and act accordingly for vendor evaluation. More often than not I would say that the first poster is correct.

  5. Timothy says:

    Sandeep makes a very good point, that there may be situations where, for example, a janitorial service can directly affect your product quality. Obviously every company has a different set of circumstances, and in such a case you would definitely want to perform some sort of evaluation for a janitorial vendor in such an environment. And there could also be security issues if the cleaning people come in late at night and have keys to the building. So it’s your call, people. If your janitorial vendor, or your office supplies vendor, etc, don’t affect product quality, and you’re pretty sure your auditor doesn’t have a problem with them not being evaluated, I say it’s OK to exclude them from the vendor evaluation process.

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