How to assess your suppliers with EQMS

Posted by Annie Grace on Mon, Jan 30, 2017

Under clause 8.4 of ISO 9001:2015, "Control of externally provided processes, products and services", your organisation must:

  • establish criteria to evaluate external providers' performance
  • document the results of the evaluation or re-evaluation, and
  • document any necessary action. 

If you are currently using spreadsheets or paper forms to manage your suppliers, you're going to run into difficulty. 

Supplier Management Pre-Webinar Survey 2016

Successfully assessing your suppliers is essential if you're to be serious about delivering a high-quality service while mitigating the huge risks involved in any part of a supply chain. If a key supplier can't deliver on time, how will that affect your business? What costs will delays have for your budgets – and your reputation?

An effective quality management system will enable you to conduct comprehensive assessments of your suppliers at every stage of the lifecycle, from pilot and trial, to onboarding, to continuous improvement. A supplier who isn't delivering on agreements will cost you time and money, and could impose further risks on your supply chain too.

EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager is designed to make assessing your suppliers easy. You can even take the app, iEQMS Auditor, to your supplier's site and conduct an audit offline without having to duplicate any work later on.

A full audit of your supplier at the trial and onboarding stage of the process allows you to anticipate and mitigate potential pitfalls that supplier might bring. From there, regular audits and performance reviews ensure your business is receiving the very best service at the best price, at all times.

EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager provides you with real-time reporting at any time, presenting information in visual graphs on a need-to-know basis, so you can tailor data to your audience. Keep track of your suppliers' performance, maintain positive relationships, and ensure best practice by implementing a comprehensive audit and review system.


What you should do now

Download our ISO 9001:2015 Supplier Management Toolkit to learn how Carillion Direct Sourcing uses EQMS to conduct thousands of audits.


Carillion EQMS Audit for Suppliers


Tags: Audit Management Software, Supply Chain Management

Should I audit our extended supply chain?

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Nov 04, 2016

In this week's Friday Feature, we ask Richard Green, Managing Director of Kingsway Consultancy Services, whether companies should carry out audits on the extended supply chain. 


Wistia video thumbnail - Extended supply chain audits

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Video Transcription: 

Should companies be carrying out audits on their extended supply chains? 

"My preference is always to conduct second party audits ourselves, certainly for business critical materials for suppliers. I would always make the time to go and visit the supplier and assess not just the product and the service, but also the management system that is delivering that. 


I would make sure that the management system is resilient and that it is operating how I would want it to operate. I don't think that anything has happened recently to remove that requirement. 

I would still stress for business critical requirements that there is no substitute for going out to your supplier and having a proper look at how operations are being managed and how the products or services you are buying is being developed." 

Supplier management



Tags: Supply Chain Management

Has anything changed since the horsemeat scandal? – Managing suppliers – Friday Feature

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

Since the horsemeat scandal in 2013, where traces of horsemeat were found in products sold in a number of UK supermarkets, there has been a rise in the number of products recalled by 26%. 

Gavin Reese, a partner with RPC, a London Law Firm, said "The horsemeat scandal set off reverberations across the food industry, and now a couple of years of tighter measures and an increased scrutiny have clearly made a big difference.

But are all organisations taking the necessary steps to check supplier quality? 

For this week's Friday Feature, we asked Richard Green, Managing Director of Kingsford Consulting Services Ltd if he believes organisations are putting in place the necessary controls to manage supplier quality. In the video, Richard Green also offers advice for organisations to manage suppliers. 


Wistia video thumbnail - Attitude towards supply chain management

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Video Transcription:

Following various scandals in recent years regarding traceability issues, have you noticed a change in attitudes or greater vigilance in managing supply chains?

"I would love to say yes, but I believe there has only been marginal improvements in supply chains.

I think the issue is that many organisations still expect their suppliers to effectively check everything. Companies think that if they have a contract, they do not need to check what is coming into the business. But even if you have a contract to work with another organisation, it still means that you need to be checking what comes in. 

There have been some significant changes around managing external providers in the new version of the standard so that is going to make audits more interesting.

There are a lot more checks and balances in respect to what you need to be doing as an organisation going forward to verify that the suppliers and their suppliers are doing what they are supposed to be doing."


Supplier management

There is always a lot of effort put into onboarding suppliers, do you think there should be as much effort put into ongoing supplier management? 

"Absoloutely, especially if you are dealing with many suppliers.

Some multi-national organisations deal with thousands of suppliers and certainly for organisations procuring products from certain areas of the world that are perhaps not adhering to the Standards that you would really wish them to be adhering to. Certain parts of the world are still quite notorious in terms of quality and supply. 

And it is really difficult when you are dealing with so many organisations to get all of the checks you need completed.

I recommend that organisations: 

  • rationalise down the number of suppliers you have, but do not just go with one as you will need some sort of contingency plan,
  • foster a partnership arrangement with your chosen suppliers - they are not just supplying you with products and you have a real relationship with them
  • involve the supplier in setting the quality gates in their own business so then they know where their products are likely to fail."


What do you think? Do you believe organisations are more vigiliant with suppliers? Leave a comment below! 


For more webinars, news and information about ISO standards and optimising processes, please download the ISO 9001 Toolkit.

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Tags: Supply Chain Management

80% of Organisations Don't Meet ISO 9001:2015 External Provisions' Requirements

Posted by Emily Hill on Mon, Feb 29, 2016

Before the ISO 9001:2015 Supplier Performance Management Webinar, we sent a survey to find out how Quality Professionals rated their supplier management processes and whether their existing processes met the new ISO 9001:2015 requirements for managing external provisions. 

This is the first in a three part series discussing the key findings from the survey.

The following article highlights how the revised ISO 9001 standard will require some organisations to update their supplier monitoring processes. 

You've evaluated your potential suppliers. You've selected a supplier. And you have specified your requirements from the supplier. 

Your supplier has now become an extension of your business. 

All your ducks are finally in a row. 

Time passes by and your supplier makes the odd mistake here and there, but nothing which your supplier has not dealt with straight away. Perhaps your supplier innovates and provides you with something better. Your supplier adds value to your organisation in ways you had not previously considered. competitive-advantage-through-supplier-collaboration-and-supplier-relationship-management.jpg

You may think that if you are happy with your supplier, you do not need to monitor them. However, during this time you have lost control and visibility of what processes your supplier is using.

Why did they make that mistake and should your documentation be updated to stop this happening again? What new processes is your supplier using? How is the supplier adding the extra value to your organisation? 

Your lack of visibility into their processes exposes your organisation to risk. Although we outsource what we do not have the time, expertise or resources to manage, it is important you understand their processes. What if your supplier ceases to exist, increases their pricing or can no longer supply you products, and you loose them?

The value they were adding to your business will instantly be lost. 



The Issue:   

A small minority of Quality Professionals (6% according to our survey), have already mastered supplier monitoring and follow a systematic process for checking that the supplier is doing what they have previously defined. They have complete visibility of the processes used, understand the competencies of their suppliers and are being pro-active by asking "How can we innovate in our processes?"

However, a large majority of Quality Professionals (80% according to the survey), feel their supplier monitoring and re-evaulation processes are average or ineffective. They do not have a systematic process for monitoring suppliers, do not know what criteria to measure the supplier against or how to get that data. Records are outdated and there is no evidence that processes which have been previously defined are being followed. 

Whilst most Quality Professionals do believe the suppliers used by their organisation are good or excellent (74% according to the survey), they are not sure how to quantatively assess supplier performance on an ongoing basis, resulting in a lack of visibility at both a strategic and operational level. 



Supplier Monitoring

Without an effective supplier monitoring and re-evaluation process, your company will not meet the new requirements for ISO 9001 standard

Organisations must supply evidence that they keep records and demonstrate that the practices specified are being followed on an orgoing basis. To do this, organisations must audit suppliers, update supplier records and manage CAPA in a centralised system. 


For more information about the new ISO 9001:2015 requirements for managing external provisions, please download the free supplier performance management webinar. 




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Tags: ISO 9001:2015, Supply Chain Management

ISO 9001:2015 Supplier Management Transcript

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Feb 26, 2016

Please find below the transcript from the ISO 9001:2015 Supplier Performance Management Webinar. 

You can download the entire webinar recording here. 


 About this Webinar: 

Until recently, ISO 9001 only explicitly required an organisation to keep records of the criteria for selecting, evaluating and re-evaluating suppliers. The latest revision to ISO 9001:2015 now requires an organisation to not only record the criteria, but to also record the result of these activities, including performance monitoring. 

The shift towards greater emphasis on supplier performance monitoring may require your organisation to review supplier management processes. 

In this webinar, Robert Oakley and Mike Bendall present the changes to ISO 9001:2015, the challenges and a best practice approach for managing suppliers. 


The transcript: 

Welcome to the webinar.

I’m Robert Oakley and together with my colleague Mike Bendall we are your hosts for the next hour and our topic is optimising sustainable supplier management. We are both Directors of Qualsys Limited, a developer and vendor of Governance, Risk and Compliance solutions in the form of our flagship EQMS application. Our business was formed in 1995 so we have extensive experience of working with organisations to optimise all manner of business processes including supplier management.

Over the next hour we want to give you our perspective:

  1. How to pro-actively manage your suppliers and the benefits in terms of supplier quality and compliance  
  2. Best practice approaches to improve supplier quality by identifying your best suppliers and removing weak performers to strengthen your business and build competitive advantage. 
  3. Improve Supplier Performance Visibility by eliminating information silos and making supplier data visible to everyone who needs it. 
  4. How to ensure supplier mistakes are not repeated and issues are resolved in a closed-loop process.
  5. Provide details of additional Information and resources to help you get the best out of your suppliers.

I will kick off looking at what Supplier Quality Assurance really means, why it is important and relating this to the recently updated ISO 9001 standard. We will take a look at your feedback from the pre-webinar survey that many of you completed and see how you think you fare against the requirements of the standard.

After a look at the requirement for and benefit of record-keeping I will hand over to Mike Bendall for an exploration of best practice approaches to supplier management.  

We will answer questions at the end. I know we have had a number of questions already so we will provide our feedback on these and we will handle more if we have time. 


So, what does Supplier Quality Assurance mean in today’s World?

Joseph Juran, the renowned Quality Management guru came up with this definition in his Quality Management Handbook in 1951 and it still stands the test of time.


Juran worked as a freelance consultant and spent time training the Japanese in his approach to Quality Assurance. He advocated training across all layers of management and allied this to scientific analysis of suppliers' performance as the cornerstone of his ethos.

Of course these days there is recognition that supplier quality is important. New competitors spring up at a moment's notice to challenge our product quality and prices. We buy components, ingredients and services from all over the world to source quality at the best price.

Supply chains can extend around the World to complicate our desire for traceability.

And with suppliers all over the World the logistics of ‘just in time’ and lean initiatives become a headache for procurement departments.Supplier performance in terms of parts per million metrics or corrective action thresholds are recognised controls.

Compliance with recognised international standards is mandatory for many sectors and regulation impacts us all to protect the consumers of our products and services.

The more sophisticated buyer wants to ensure that he protects his business so he demands more detailed information about your products and services and expects guarantees and warranties.




The pitfalls of poor supplier management are all too evident. The horsemeat scandal of 2013 that hit Tesco and other retailers and the BP oil spill of 2010 were both attributed to poor supplier performance but where were the controls and the processes?

Ultimately these businesses paid a high price for a lack of control over their supply chain.

With supermarkets stocking 35-40,000 products, has the risk to the consumer really diminished and are the safeguards in place?

Not all organisations are as reliant on their supply chain.

Some may purchase minimal products and services that have minimal impact on their own end product or service. It is up to us to identify our strategic suppliers.

The key to understanding the level of exposure to failures by these suppliers is a robust approach to assessing and quantifying risk. 

The focus on risk has been a major feature of the latest version of the ISO 9001 Standard.

Thankfully we have a new beefed-up ISO 9001 standard to guide us. As always, the publication of the standard has given rise to seemingly endless debate about interpretation but the standard certainly addresses supply management in more depth, or, as it is termed in the standard, external provisions.



Clause 8.4 of the standard focuses our attention on our responsibility to control externally provided processes, products and services. Sub-clause 8.4.1 scopes the extent of our responsibility and unlike the previous version of the standard, it is explicit about all the circumstances where we need to ensure that external provision conforms to our requirements.

The standard also tells us that the areas of activity where we need to define and apply criteria to ensure the supplier has the capability of satisfying our requirements.

This is not optional as the standard obliges us to keep documentary evidence of associated activities and ‘necessary actions’.

Sub-clause 8.4.2 clarifies the controls needed to ensure external provision does not adversely impact our own products and services.

Externally provided processes must fall under the control of our Quality Management System and we are obliged to determine and apply controls for the provider and their product or service. We certainly need to consider if they have sufficient internal controls and if their products or service will impact our ability to meet regulatory demands. 

Lastly the sub-clause insists that we have verification processes in place to ensure the external provider will consistently meet our requirement. Sub-clause 8.4.3 is explicit about the scope of the information we share with our suppliers. 

As you might expect we are obliged to define the requirements of the process, product or service we are buying in. But this is extended to cover other areas such as the required competency of the supplier’s staff and an explanation of the verification and validation processes that we have employed to check that provision meets the requirement.


Survey Results: 






















We were interested to see how you felt you stacked up in relation to the demands of the IS0 9001 Standard.

The Standard demands that you define and apply criteria for four distinct areas of control:

  • Initial Supplier evaluation
  • Supplier selection
  • Supplier monitoring
  • Supplier re-evaluation

The majority of you had processes for evaluating suppliers and 67.1% have a defined process for supplier selection.

However, once selected, it seems that there is a tendency to leave suppliers alone with only 40.7% having a defined process for supplier re-evaluation.  There is also a lack of monitoring that seems to concern you from reading a lot of the anecdotal comments you added to the survey. 

Some of you senior management might contend that you may not have what we earlier termed strategic suppliers but have they carried out a thorough and systematic risk assessment?  The horsemeat scandal certainly caught out many large organisations that appeared completely blind to the potential problem.

It was interesting to see that there are only 10% use a commercial database solution for managing suppliers.  Naturally we were pleased that there appears to be potential for our EQMS solutions but it is of concern to see that supplier data is locked away in information formats that are difficult to interrogate and provide no automated alerts or real time management information. This restricts the availability of information that supports rapid decision-making.

We also sensed a real concern from you about senior management commitment to supplier management.

Over 55% of senior managers don’t have any regular reports to review supplier performance which reinforces our view that once suppliers are in the club you assume that they will continue to perform effectively.

Interestingly, when we asked you how effective you are at managing various aspects of your supplier relationships you are clearly best at managing problems and errors.

We would contend that if there was a greater focus on effective monitoring and regular re-evaluation, you wouldn’t need to be as good at rectifying problems.

Here are some of the challenges you told us you are facing:



The changing nature of global business is certainly presenting a range of challenges.  Just before we move on to look at some of our recommendations we thought we would introduce the audience participation bit with a couple of polls.


Poll 1: Do you believe your existing Supplier Management processes satisfy the requirements of ISO 9001:2015?

supplier management best practices

Poll 2: Do you believe your existing Supplier Management processes satisfy the requirements of your business? 



Record Keeping: 

One of the key changes to the ISO 9001 Standard in relation to supplier management is the explicit requirement for record keeping.

There is the obvious contractual documentation and information that describes the nature of what is being provided by your supplier.You are now expected to record the criteria you have used to evaluate and re-evaluate suppliers. You need to keep assessment and audit records, tracking performance over time.

The Standard is less prescriptive about commercial information such as expenditure and cost of poor quality, but you need the information to support decision-making.

Capturing as much of this information in a database as possible allows you to interrogate the data to support decision-making. 

Realtime dashboards and reporting allows you to make faster, better decisions about suppliers which can ultimately provide you with tangible competitive advantage in your marketplace and avoid potential problems.

Carillion is one of our customers that has used our solutions to revolutionise its purchasing in China. Access to real time analysis of supplier audits means management can make instant decisions based on up-to-date, accurate information.  An earlier reliance on paper-based reports, transposed onto spreadsheets meant that there were often issues with its 2000 strong supplier base as management information was just too late to be af any value.

Read the Carillion case study here

Regulation often dictates that records must be kept for a given period of time and a database facilitates easy search and retrieval.

Here’s a supplier record in our Supplier Management Application:


It provides common access to information to you, your staff and potentially your suppliers. 

  • Centralised
  • Manages the complete lifecycle of evaluation, approval, monitoring and re-evaluation
  • Configurable to include the data fields you require
  • Inclusive and transparent
  • Critically it is driven by a database that provides ongoing analysis and alerts to ensure that critical tasks are not forgotten.


Supplier Assessment:  

In compliance, with good Quality Management practice we recommend following a Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle, and therefore start with planning the requirements for the product or service that we require.


The output from this process will be a comprehensive specification, including standards and tolerances that must be met, for the product or service. This specification will be verified and approved.

The ISO 9001:2015 standard requires that you provide this information to prospective suppliers so that they are clear what it is that you are asking for.

Once you have a specification you should also undertake Risk Analysis (FMEA):

  •   Identify any risks associated with the product or service itself.
  •   Identify any risks associated with producing or delivering the product or service.
  •   Quantify these risks using a consistent methodology.
  •   Identify the Controls required to mitigate unacceptable risks.

This information will inform the details of your supplier evaluations and the controls you need to impose on your suppliers. In particular you should consider risks associated with Single Sourcing. 


Supplier Evaluation:

Now we are clear about what it is that we want we can move on to Supplier Evaluation.

The purpose here is to identify potential suppliers who are capable of meeting our requirements.

We recommend starting with a standard supplier checklist, to promote consistency and ease of reuse. However, the findings of your evaluation should be analysed with regard to the risks you identified earlier.

Supplier capability and capacity are critical. 

Can the supplier supply what you want, in the volumes you require and in the timescales necessary?

The importance of other factors may depend on circumstances. For example, environmentally sustainable sourcing may or may not be a factor and the chance of child or slave labour being used may or may not constitute a real risk. If they are important you will require evidence that standards are being met.

The ability of a supplier to control their own production or delivery processes should be relatively easy to assess. It may be more difficult to define the requirements for their control of sub-contractors. For example, the risk of counterfeit products or materials entering the supply chain may be important, as may the potential effect of an extended supply chain on materials that must be stored under controlled conditions. Again, any risks must be mitigated by requiring your supplier to routinely supply evidence of supply chain conformity throughout the duration of supply.

At the end of this process, it is not sufficient for the contract to have identified both potential suppliers and risks associated. 


Supplier Selection

supplier_assessment.KPI png

The next step is Supplier Selection.

Your evidence for this will be the requirement which you provided to the supplier (ITT, RFQ etc), the supplier response confirming that they can and will commit to meeting the requirement (if necessary with details of how) and a contract agreement.

The contract should not only detail specifications, volumes, lead times and payment.

It should also detail the agreed processes that will operate between you for the duration of the contract.

For example, what is the process? Should either of you change the agreed specification or the delivery schedule? What product traceability evidence must be supplied and when? What constraints are there on the supplier to use staff with appropriate skills and get them regularly retrained or re-assessed? 

If this Joint Quality Planning is agreed before the start of the contract you have a basis for managing an ongoing relationship. 


Supplier Monitoring

Once the contract commences you will need to monitor supplier performance and in particular issues that arise due to suppliers.

Some issue management processes will have measurable costs. With others this will not be so easy. If you cannot quantify these costs and provide evidence of how they were incurred then you may have difficulty recovering them.

Think about where hidden costs may occur in your own experience. Is there a way of capturing them? If not, is it worth putting a process in place to do so?

One process to consider that has been very effective with our customers is the provision of online checklists that can be downloaded to a tablet for final source inspection. Competent supplier representatives can be delegated to complete these prior to shipping product or commencing service provision. This means the results are immediately available and any potential issues can be identified before it is too late.


Closed Loop Processing


Once you have identified the things you need to monitor you need to consider how to do so in a way that captures critical information, alerts interested parties as to what to do about it and enables easy progress monitoring, all preferably in real time. Paper, electronic paper and spreadsheets only tend to work for small organisations where one person is responsible for end to end process management.

Systems based around on-line databases with workflow are key to this:

  • Issues may be logged as they occur
  • Responsible managers are automatically alerted
  • Decisions and approvals are recorded
  • Necessary tasks can be scheduled, issued and monitored through to completion
  • Information is collected and retained in one place for subsequent analysis and planning preventative action
  • Management reporting is automatic, not an administrative overhead
  • Records are automatically retained for audit purposes
A couple of additional features to consider:
  • Can these systems be shared with your suppliers, or even customers, to promote efficiency and transparency?
  • Do they integrate together so that, for example, a record of a supplier approval is also linked to records of:
    • Any audits and inspections of that supplier,
    • Any agreements or correspondence with the supplier,
    • Any issues or failures of that supplier
    • And any risks identified with that supplier.

Once you have effective supplier monitoring in place you then have the information to support appropriate supplier review and continuous improvement. Ongoing supplier re-evaluation effort can be tailored and proportionate to supplier performance and risks reviewed.




Joseph Juran was very focused on the human aspects of Quality Management and seems one of the more enlightened QM Gurus as he advocated close collaboration with suppliers even back in 1951 in his QM Handbook. Nowadays, it makes perfect sense if:

  • Staff, customers and suppliers have access to the same information.
  • Common taxonomy and clear definitions.
  • Transparency.
  • Agreed and explicit targets.
  • A commitment to improve.


How do we achieve this? 

Many of our customers have online portals for suppliers that explain their requirements, commercial terms and more.  Suppliers can load their information and the more sophisticated portals even automatically request updated information at the requisite point in time. One of our customers, Sodexo, a global provider of outsource services, has a portal which requests updated ISO 9001, Employers Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance certification on the registered expiry dates.

In summary we hope that you have found this webinar to have been valuable and that you take away some ideas as a result of our time together. Pro-active supplier management offers rich potential for competitive advantage if you can find and keep the suppliers that offer the best quality at the best price.

Regularly updated information about your suppliers informs your understanding of the risk associated with your suppliers and provide the basis for a strong, long standing and mutually beneficial partnership.


Download the webinar for access to the webinar recording with the extended Q&A session. 



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  Eqms WORKSHOPS - GRC Solutions

Tags: ISO 9001:2015, Supply Chain Management

ISO 9001:2015: Optimising Sustainable Supplier Management

Posted by Emily Hill on Wed, Feb 03, 2016

Until recently, ISO 9001 only explicitly required an organisation to keep records of the criteria for selecting, evaluating and re-evaluating suppliers. The latest revision to ISO 9001:2015 now requires an organisation to not only record the criteria, but to also record the result of these activities, including performance monitoring. 

The shift towards greater emphasis on supplier performance monitoring may require your organisation to review supplier management processes.

If you're interested in learning more about supplier management best practices, recommendations for a sustainable supplier management system and to unlock value from your suppliers in 2016, join us on 23rd Feburary at 10am for an online webinar. 

Read more about this webinar below. 



During this webinar, you will learn: 

1. Pro-Active Supplier Management:

We will examine the benefits of pro-actively managing supplier quality and compliance and how this results in long-term financial gains. 

2. Driving Continuous Quality and Compliance Improvements:

We will review the best practice approaches for identifying your best suppliers and removing weak performers so you can unlock value from your suppliers. 

3. Improve Supplier Peformance Visibility:

We will explore how you can eliminate information silos, boost performance and productivity company-wide by making supplier data visible. 

4. Eliminating Recurring Supplier Issues:

We will advise how you can streamline workflows to ensure supplier mistakes are not repeated and issues are resolved in a closed-loop process.

5. Q&A Session:

You have an opportunity to ask any questions about optimising supplier management systems.


Essential Information: 

Where: Online 

Time: 10am - 11am 

Date: 23rd February 2016

Who: Anyone responsible for managing supplier quality and compliance.

How: Sign up here



Robert Oakley: Director at Qualsys

Robert has overall responsibility for the commercial operations of Qualsys, including sales, marketing and finance.

Since joining Qualsys in September 1998 – after a 17-year, board-level career in the leisure sector – Robert has helped develop the business to its current position with a portfolio of bluechip customers, a healthy recurring income stream and a solid foundation for future growth.


Mike Bendall: Services Director: 

Mike joined Apricot Computers plc in 1984, going on to fill a variety of senior positions. In 1990, after the company had become ACT, Mike progressed to the position of business development manager, securing large consultancy and service contracts with a multitude of government departments.
Mike left ACT in 1995 to establish Qualsys with colleague Mike Pound, negotiating with Parity Solutions Ltd for the rights to the EQMS software; the core system of the Qualsys business.



Download the Webinar Here



  Eqms WORKSHOPS - GRC Solutions

Tags: ISO 9001:2015, Supply Chain Management

Supplier performance management: Auditing at Carillion Direct Services

Posted by Emily Hill on Tue, Jan 26, 2016

Nigel Mangnall, Head of Quality and Compliance at Carillion Direct Sourcing, working from Shenzen, China, kindly shared how he has optimised supplier management practices over the past two years by harnessing auditing technology. 


About Carillion Direct Sourcing  - Global Sourcing Solutions

Carillion plc is one of the UK's leading integrated support services and construction companies. Carillion Direct Sourcing is their extensive sourcing operation with operations in the UK, Middle East, North America and Asia.

Carillion Direct Sourcing provides a range of services, including vendor sourcing, technical project management, embedded logistic and container management. With a large portfolio of suppliers, managing the quality of products procured is critical to a sustainable supply chain and their reputation. For this reason, Carillion Direct Sourcing also conducts factory audits for quality, environment, social accountability, engineering and quality assurance in dynamic and challenging environments.

Harnessing technology to support Carillion Direct Sourcing to capture, automate and monitor ongoing supplier performance has been essential to their success. 

In this interview, Head of Quality and Compliance at Carillion Direct Sourcing, Nigel Mangnall, discusses how he has utilised technology to accelerate growth, embed a culture of quality and to improve supplier relationships. 

managing supplier performance

Interviewed by Gemma Baldan, Key Account Manager and Emily Hill, GRC Digital Marketing Executive at Qualsys. This podcast, Slideshare and interview transcript is ideal for auditors, procurement professionals or managers who want to gain more insight into efficient auditing practices and wish to improve supplier performance. The interview discusses how EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager has improved service delivery, implementation and offers evidence to justify the business case of deploying EQMS.

We have included a Podcast, Slideshare Presentation and the Interview Transcript



Listen to the podcast:

In this 20-minute podcast, Nigel Mangnall shares his advice, stories and experience of the performance of his suppliers and his workforce by using EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager.

Click here to listen to the audio.




View the Slideshare presentation:

In this Slideshare presentation, we summarise 17 key lessons Nigel Mangnall has discovered after using EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager for two years. 

Auditing the Supply Chain with EQMS Audit Manager:



Read the interview transcript:

Please note that it has been edited for clarity

This is the transcript from the interview with Nigel Mangnall in January 2016. 


How would you say Audit Manager helps CDS (Carillion Direct Sourcing)?


The best thing is that it helps me to keep control.


Previously, with the paper system, we sent engineers out, and although they knew what to do and what to check for, it could be four or five days down the road before I saw a report.

So, I would be reliant on receiving an email or a phone call if they had a problem. With EQMS Audit Manager, it is no later than at the end of the day that QE's can get back to WIFI. That means I can see a report as soon as those results are uploaded.

EQMS Audit Manager helps me to keep control over what is going on, especially when you consider that my staff are Chinese and it is difficult for them to start to talk with confidence to a Westerner.

"I can look at personal performance and I can review suppliers' performance."

EQMS Audit Manager is a database so it helps me to monitor what is going on. I can look at personal performance and I can review suppliers' performances. This helps me to know whether suppliers are getting better, worse or staying the same.


We have a rather large audit, which EQMS Audit Manager copes with. I was surprised about that.

The audit covers the quality side of the business, the business side of the business, the environmental side, health and safety, and there is a certain amount of risk assessment, compliance, and corporate social responsibility. All of this covers the audit of a factory. And it works.

QE's take EQMS Audit Manager into the field and they get their way through the audit without any problems. 



At the beginning of this project, you talked about your requirements for a system that ensures products are being made to a certain standard.

If something is going wrong in a factory or if some of the goods aren’t perfect, then it is important to get the supplier to fix it there and then. So you are now using findings and actions in the iEQMS Auditor app. 


If it is a very large value or if the risk is high enough, we will send an engineer to that company and he will be there for five days a week. This is a daily inline audit.

It will be a patrol inspector who makes sure that what should be happening is right and that ensures we can nip any problems in the bud.

"We have tied in all of our sourcing team so ultimately there is someone responsible from the supply chain who gets that action if you like and gets that action from the supplier."

The problem I had before we had the findings on the app was that the Quality Engineer then had to be sure that he had a laptop as well his i-pad. He then had to be able to get online to actually raise the finding. As you can imagine, the Quality Engineer could be away for 10 days, so it was very difficult for them to report faults in findings.



Once QE's could do this on EQMS Audit Manager, it was a lot easier. We now know when we get a big project that we can classify the types of findings that we are going to be raising or we suspect we are going to be raising. This means we know if we are getting repeat problems and we now have a fair understanding of what a supplier is like.

On other projects where orders are of lesser value or we have worked long enough with the factory, we would do the PSI. Again, if they are raising findings that are in the AQL then they just close them out. If they are out of acceptable quality levels, then we can obviously stop the shipment. So it works both ways.

We have tied in all of our sourcing team so ultimately there is someone responsible from the supply chain who gets that action from the supplier. It is a closed loop. 

"You've set that question in stone and it can't be forgotten." 


What would you say are the top three benefits of using EQMS? 


The benefit for engineers is that you can not forget something. You send an engineer with a piece of paper and a checklist, and he can get distracted on the way.

With EQMS Audit Manager, the Quality Engineer has got to look at his i-Pad and he’s got to physically see a question. This means that before he leaves, he can instantly see that something hasn’t been addressed and things can not be left. You’ve set that question in stone and it can’t be forgotten.

Another benefit for me is that it is data and I like big data. As long as I can get people putting in the data in the same way, then it is good data I can use to understand what is happening with my suppliers and my staff. This means that I can monitor how well my staff are performing and how well my suppliers are performing. 

For me, I think the other benefit is that because I have 12 quality engineers, I can use EQMS Audit Manager as a calendar so that I know where they all are. I used to have an Outlook Calendar where they all had to put their movements on. But in many ways that has now become defunct as I can now look on this schedule and I instantly know where they are. 


3 EQMS Benefits: 


  • QE's can't forget anything
  • Data is entered consistently. 
  • I know where QE's are. 




When you first decided that there was a need for EQMS, Gemma told me that you led the project, you were the game changer, can you offer any advice for others in the same situation?


My sincere advice is that you really need to take your time with it. This is because you don’t realise how big and powerful EQMS Audit Manager is. 

"This means I can look up data for anything from how many suppliers we have in a certain category and a type, how much work we have done and how many findings we have found against certain suppliers."

So my best advice is to take your time. Take each section in the order that Qualsys tell you to look at them. Think very hard about what fields you need and what data your company needs in that section. And plan time to learn it.auditing_in_factories-for-supplier-management.png

I think it is important that you don’t sit there and think it's all come in from Qualsys and it is perfect and we’ll go. Although you will be able to use it, you will end up finding better ways to use the system.

That is my advice, learn the system step by step. 



Previously to that, before you got EQMS, is there any advice you would offer to other Quality Manager's on how you can get people involved in putting together a proposal for getting EQMS? 


I looked at a lot of very Chinglish reports. They are all very large and full of pictures. The main issue was getting the time to look at the reports. In two weeks time I would say...

"Please tell me we didn’t ship that! ... and we had..."

So, Colin, my Director and I, had a discussion. We knew there were systems like EQMS Audit Manager out there. I looked through 4 or 5 suppliers. I looked through free apps. And EQMS narrowed itself down and we were still here. That is in essence how it happened.

Once I understood what it was I was looking for, the more it narrowed itself down. optimise supplier performance


Did you have to go and present what you wanted to Colin and say I think we needed this because, or was he understanding from the beginning?


Once we knew what we wanted and we got to saying we’re going to potentially do this, I did write a justification report.

Then I just gave that to Colin and I guess he gave it to the board at CDS and requested to spend the money, because obviously we needed iPads.

"Without a doubt, EQMS saves me time."

I didn’t have any trouble with it. Without a doubt, the system saves me time. I look at the time that my quality engineers have now, and I know they have more time than they had before.


Do you think they can do more in a week now than before they had the app?


Yes, because I can give them more work. Generally speaking, if I had sent someone out for four days, they would’ve spent two days of that writing it up. And nowadays, at the end of each day, he will be spending the last half an hour of the day just sending it through. EQMS Audit Manager allows them to focus on the actions and the findings, rather than focus on writing the report.

"It allows them to focus on the actions and the findings, rather than focusing on writing the report."

Because the Quality Engineer is not thinking “I’ve got to create a report”, it’s just a case of “That’s already done, what have I got for tomorrow?” He quite simply has to make sure actions are closed.


That makes sense. So percentage time saving for an engineer, what do you think it might have saved him?


I think it would save four hours an audit.


So it’s probably four hours an audit plus your time writing it all up.audit_findings_kpi_dashboard eqms


Obviously the audit is the audit, and the Quality Engineer has to ask the same questions. The biggest saving is obviously that I’ve got it there and it is clear. I don’t have to rely on it being retranslated or rewritten. Because, again, what I suffer from is a handwritten checklist in Chinese.

"The biggest saving is obviously that I’ve got it there."

At the start of our process, we develop a product specification which has every area we are going to check. From that, comes the audit checklist. Previously the audit would have been hand written in Chinese. But at some point that needs to be retranslated back to English to create a report. Now, I don’t have any of that.


Everything is in English, so it’s all there.


Half of our office does material sourcing so we start with a request for a product. They will ask several supplier's for quotes and then request samples. We'll send off the samples for the customer / project manager to approve it.

In the meantime, we’ll then create a product specification. The specification then gets approved by the supplier and by the customer. From that, the specification requirements and audit questions go onto EQMS.

"The Audit QE’s can’t change their minds, they can’t go somewhere else, it’s fixed, nothing is lost in translation or misunderstood."


So, with EQMS now, all those questions are in and fixed. The Audit QE’s can’t change their minds, they can’t go somewhere else. It’s fixed. Nothing is lost in translation or misunderstood. That is where EQMS helps a lot. When Quality Engineers click “Finish, Synchronise,” that is the audit finished and synchronised. It’s not a case that they’ve got to spend the night uploading photos from their camera and writing up all of the auditing findings. They don't need to work out of hours so it saves a lot of time. 


Did you used to have to pay overtime everytime they worked through the night?


It depends. If I want a report and they’ve not left the factory until 6 o’clock, then I had to pay them overtime because I need the information. 

"The system removes a certain amount of ambiguity."


In terms of quality, how would you say the system has helped you to improve quality standards?


The system removes a certain amount of ambiguitiy. I can take a QE who has never done an inspection before, and tell them to look at something previous on EQMS. From that, QE's can look through that product specification and the product questions so that they can get an understanding of why that question is there.

EQMS Audit Manager enables them to view detail for each of the questions. It is all together in one place and they are not having to look through an archive full of folders somewhere on our system. That helps from a quality perspective.supplier-auditing


And that also helps to standardise the way you do things.


What also helps from a quality perspective is that the system helps to justify the score. We have a rather large audit so EQMS helps to justify the score given. 

"Before, the scoring was subjective."

Previously, the scoring was subjective. With the system, it helps to prevent it from being subjective, because we can tailor the system and give a reason why.


It is accurately measured.


More about EQMS Audit Manager: 

EQMS Audit Manager is an integrated auditing system which improves business management procedures, policies and actions. The auditing system is used by a wide variety of organisations to get better control over information, management and compliance. 


Auditing on the iPad


Tags: Audit Management Software, Supply Chain Management