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Applying the Principle of Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships in ISO 9001

An organization and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value. (ISO 9004:2009)



It is generally necessary to establish documented procedure and the supporting documents to control the effectiveness and efficiency of the purchasing function. Being a key function, quality objective must be established a monitored. The following requirements provide the opportunities to build mutually beneficial supplier relationships.


1. Supplier Evaluation

These must be evidence records on supplier’s evaluation as per ISO 9001 Cluase 7.4.1 “Purchasing Process”, and the updated list of approved suppliers for reference. Suppliers are evaluated on their ability to supply product and services in accordance to the organization’s requirements. It is required that the criteria for selection should be established and documented.


2. Supplier Re-evaluation

Active supplier, particularly for key inputs that will impact on product requirements must be re-evaluated as per ISO 9001 Clause 7.4.1 “Purchasing Process”, at least once a every year. Such re-evaluation activity will give the organization the opportunity to establish mutually beneficial relationships with its suppliers.


3. Outsourcing

Where the organization chooses to outsource any process that affects product conformity to requirements, there must be control over such outsourcing processes as per defined in ISO 9001 Clause 4.1 “General Requirements”. Outsourcing partner considered as suppliers and the control requirement of ISO 9001 Clause 7.4 “Purchasing” applies.


4. Information Requirements

Reliable, complete and accurate purchasing information is important in managing effectively the purchasing function and there must be evidence records to show approval of products, procedures, processes and equipments, qualification of personnel and meeting any other requirements of QMS. These requirements are defined in ISO 9001 Clause 7.4.2 “Purchasing Information”.


5. Improvement Opportunities

It is also necessary to show evidence of analysis of data for monitoring the stability and process capability of purchasing process. Analysis of data provides opportunity for prevention of occurrence of potential nonconformity and for continual improvement of the purchasing function. This requirement is defined in ISO 9001 Clause 8.4 “Analysis of Data”.


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