Supplier information is important to gather as analysis of this information results in overall supplier ratings. These supplier ratings assist an organization in choosing the optimal suppliers based on their requirements i.e. cost, schedule, quality, etc.
A supplier database should be used to collect and store this data. The data that should be stored is determined by the organization. It should be relevant, concise, and quantifiable in such a manner to be useful for analysis. The usefulness is what transforms data into information. As part of supplier information collection, audit information shall be included.
Below is a sample of the network flow of data into a central database:
NASA’s central Supplier Management System (SMS) (i.e. database) “allows for a consistent, agency-wide performance rating system for suppliers used by NASA.”5 Ratings are based on areas such as cost, quality, schedule and audit data. Analysis of these ratings can aid in the supplier decision making process. A SMS also allows for the feedback of information to suppliers.
Prior to investing capital funds into purchasing/developing a SMS please note the following:
- If period and recurring audits are planned throughout the lifecycle of a project, analyze the return on investment for implementing a central storage database to ensure that the investment cost is not prohibitive to the project.
- If the investment appears to be cost prohibitive, then consider alternate methods for storage and analysis of audit data.