Original Date: 02/26/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Supplier Excellence Program
General Dynamics Armament Systems implemented the Supplier Excellence Program that allows products from qualified suppliers to go directly from dock-to-stock. The Program promotes supplier responsibility for total quality management, ensures a consistent qualification process, and allows General Dynamics Armament Systems to eliminate source inspections and significantly reduce incoming inspections.
In the late 1990s, General Dynamics Armament Systems (GDAS) developed the Supplier Excellence Program (SEP) as a way to reduce the number of incoming and source inspections. The Program promotes teaming and commitment between the company and supplier to maintain high quality and delivery performance standards. Program requirements which must be met by the supplier include: an approved quality system; a supplier rating of 98% or above; a one-year delivery history with at least six acceptable lots; acceptable delivery performance; and no open Supplier Corrective Action Requests or Alerts from the Government Industry Data Exchange Program. Qualified suppliers then become authorized, after product qualification, to stamp the packing slip indicating that their product has met all specified requirements and may be sent directly to stock or assembly lines.
The qualification process begins with the supplier completing a production lot and all the necessary tests and inspections. The lot material is then submitted to GDAS along with a qualification report supplement, first piece inspection report, lot inspection planning, manufacturing route sheet, material and special process certifications, and a stamped packing slip signed by the supplier representative. GDAS then reviews the documentation package and lot material, and appraises the purchase order quality requirements. Qualification status is either: Pending Qualification; Qualified and Approved for SEP Representative release; Re-qualified/Reviewed due to change notice or twelve-month lapse in shipments or manufacture; or Disqualified due to nonconformance. The supplier also updates and maintains a product list which indicates the product’s qualification status. GDAS also conducts annual SEP audits on suppliers to ensure that quality systems and processes are maintained.
The SEP creates a teaming environment with suppliers, promotes supplier responsibility for total quality management, and ensures a consistent qualification process. Since implementing the Program, GDAS has eliminated source inspections and significantly reduced incoming inspections. Approximately 25% of the company’s supplier base has been qualified and approved. By allowing qualified material to go directly to stock or assembly lines, the company reduced its overall quality cycle time by 80%. The SEP is a key activity which supports GDAS’ Supply Chain Management approach.
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