There are many benefits of conducting a supply audit and choosing an astute, dependable supplier, according to Michael Wilson with AFFLINK, a recognized leader in supply chain optimization, serving correctional and related facilities throughout the U.S. “This is an essential procedure that should be performed annually for larger organizations. It helps identify, eliminate, and in the long-term, prevent supply chain problems.”
Keys to the supply audit process, according to Wilson, are the following steps:
Create a supply audit team.
Their job will be to review current suppliers as well as investigate alternative suppliers should that be necessary.
Review current suppliers.
The team should investigate the following: Have there been supply interruptions? Has one product been ordered, but another one delivered? Have there been complaints from department heads about working with the current suppliers? Have costs fluctuated without an apparent reason or explanation? Is necessary documentation provided with all products purchased, including regulatory compliance certifications? Have there been invoicing issues such as incorrect invoices? “Many times, the supply audit will reveal a pattern that was not noticed before. For instance, invoicing errors or the delivery of the wrong products all too frequently are not good signs.”
If considering a new supplier, the first step is to visit the supplier’s website. The site will likely be an e-commerce site, “but that’s not what we are concerned about at this juncture. The appearance of the site and how professional it looks will often reflect the supplier behind it.” Wilson adds that the site should also include ample content – words, videos, as well as graphics – that are educational and instructional. “We want to look for a supplier that is not here to just sell us something. We want a supplier that is going to guide and educate. The [website] content should reflect this.”
When looking for a new supplier, check the reviews of the company. See what other customers, past and present, say about the company. Look, for example, if reviews mention problems such as invoicing errors or the delivery of wrong products mentioned earlier. “Once again, look for patterns. If two or three reviews mention the same problem, that would likely mean many other customers have also experienced this problem.”
Read employee reviews.
Often overlooked in a supply audit, correctional administrators should visit sites that allow current and past employees to discuss their experience working for a distributor or supplier. While these sites are designed for job seekers to learn more about a potential employer, “they often provide insight into how a company operates. If there are negative reviews, look to see if and how the company addressed those negative comments.” In one case, a company had several negative reviews from past employees. However, with each negative review, the company responded, “we tell every person hired, this is a fast-paced operation and it’s not for everyone. Some people thrive on it; others can’t wait to leave.” When the audit team reads employer responses like this, they should take such negative comments with a grain of salt.
More about AFFLINK can be found here.