As a follow-up, we reached out to our senior auditing manager in China, Jean Champlain, and asked what he thought having visited hundreds of suppliers all over the world.
Per Champlain, information that should be evaluated when considering new suppliers can be generalized as follows:
Verifying legality is to verify if the new supplier is legally operating in the country of consideration, including having an official business license and/or other legal certifications.
Verifying quality answers the question of whether or not a new supplier can ensure the quality of produce or service with an effective QMS, not just an ISO 9001 certificate.
Verifying capability is checking if production processes have suitable machines and inspection / test equipment.
Verifying capacity is to check if the new supplier has enough manpower and machines to handle planned and unplanned production orders from the client.
Financial / Credit History
Verifying the financial stability ensures legitimacy and provides a snapshot of their standing against partners and local governments.
Champlain also notes that many clients/vendors, such as Wal-Mart, BJ’s, Dick’s, etc. are also interested in social practices and environmental protection of the applicable suppliers. These requirements are also a consideration when evaluating new partners.