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Supplier Certification

Those suppliers who consistently meet performance standards set by the organization are often given a supplier certification by the buying organization.

Supplier certifications are “procedures verifying that a supplier operates, maintains, improves, and documents effective procedures that relate to the customer’s requirements. Such requirements can include cost, quality, delivery, flexibility, maintenance, safety, and ISO quality and environmental standards” (APICS Dictionary, 16th edition).

This allows for the elimination of some processes that require redundant or duplicate effort, such as receiving inspections, paper transactions, or more frequent auditing.  Suppliers at this level often receive additional considerations or benefits, such as portals to access inventory information and vendor-managed inventory programs (VMI), as well as additional business.

Process for Developing a Supplier Certification Process

The process for developing a supplier certification process includes the following steps:

Step 1: Define the requirements and process, including who will be performing each role, and the measurements to be used.  Many of the guidelines presented in this course can be used to determine the measurements.Step 2: Evaluate suppliers to be considered for certification. This can be from previous experiences, additional research, or requests to the suppliers for information.Step 3: Select suppliers to be certified. It is preferable to begin with a few to make sure that the process, qualifications, measurements, etc. will be sufficient.Step 4: Communicate the certification process, standards and measures with the supplier.Step 5: Document a formal agreement with the supplier that identifies the certification processes, standards and methods of measurement so that the supplier has clear objectives.Step 6: Conduct measurements against the performance standards to determine if the supplier meets the certification criteria.Step 7: Certify the suppliers who meet or exceed the criteria.

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