Press Releases

  • Sparta Systems Identifies Top Supplier Challenges For Manufacturing Industry at ASQ World Conference 2008

    Lack of risk-based analysis and performance-based scoring top list of critical issues impacting global supplier efforts

    Houston, ASQ World Conference - May 6, 2008 - Sparta Systems Inc., the maker of TrackWise® and the market leader in enterprise quality and compliance management software, today identified its list of the top supplier-related challenges facing the manufacturing industry at the 2008 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Houston. The list, compiled from conversations with Sparta Systems customers in the manufacturing, life sciences and food and beverage industries, outlines the most significant challenges facing organizations for gauging, prioritizing and mitigating supplier quality issues across the global organization.

    With reports of supply quality failures making front-page headlines daily, business-crippling consumer confidence issues are proving disastrous for global manufacturing organizations. Yet it’s clear that beyond the business consequences of poor supplier quality, choosing to procure parts, ingredients or components from unreliable suppliers is literally becoming a life-or-death concern, with reverberations being felt throughout the manufacturing industry in the daily news media and beyond. More than ever companies need to be proactively addressing their supplier quality issues with tools and processes that prevent incidents from arising before they have a chance to do significant damage to businesses or – more importantly – consumers’ well-being.

    Simon Jacobson, Senior Research Analyst at AMR Research, stated in his November 2007 “Market Outlook: Make Quality a Strategic Priority Now,” “Highly publicized recalls, ever-increasing regulatory oversight and customer demand for quality products have moved quality management from afterthought to strategic requirement. Quality management’s role in creating a predictable product supply is vital in today’s highly competitive world. It’s also an integral component of risk mitigation. Organizations that do not deeply embed quality management into their manufacturing and value chain operations weaken their competitive standings in the market and expose their brands to great risks.”

    Knowing this, successful global manufacturers should be aware that the top five supplier quality challenges currently facing the greater manufacturing industry are:

    Reticence to Implement Performance-Based Scorecards – In addition to risk, companies that face greater regulatory scrutiny have implemented a systematic approach to grading and assessing suppliers that evaluates performance, material quality and operational stability. Yet no such system exists for companies in less regulated industries, creating a need for a scorecard system across the greater landscape that ensures accurate grading and ranking of suppliers based on criteria that directly impacts quality. Such a system will result in reduced costs for the organization, as less time and effort is spent using unreliable suppliers and dealing with aftereffects of a flawed finished product.

    • Inefficient, Decentralized Reporting – Due to the daunting audit process faced by all industries across the greater manufacturing landscape, companies dealing with numerous suppliers are forced to provide detailed reports of their supplier relationships. Yet even some of the largest organizations have failed to implement a centralized system for tracking these relationships, instead relying on rudimentary methods such as Excel spreadsheets to track these issues. Only by instituting a centralized system for comprehensive tracking of supplier data can organizations streamline their reporting efforts and realize the benefits of a more efficient compliance process. 
    • Lack of C-Level Involvement in Supply Quality Management – As executives at manufacturing organizations both large and small are often tasked with overseeing multiple facets of the companies’ global operations, supplier quality is often left to siloed departments that lack visibility into the correlation between supply quality management and the companies’ ability to grow revenues. Executives need to take a greater role in ensuring that supplier relationships are effectively maintained and that the correct procedures are in place for gauging supply quality and evaluating processes. 
    • Constant Battle Between Supply Quality Management and Supply Chain Management – For years, the manufacturing industry has been in the midst of a struggle between supply chain management and supply quality management. With the lengthening of the supply chain resulting from expanding global footprints, companies are constantly faced with the quandary of ensuring quality in their products from the supplier. The quality of supply procurement and manufacturing must be linked directly to the supply chain – so that a balance can be achieved between quality and speed of the broader manufacturing process. 
    • Lack of Risk-Based Analysis for Supplier Quality – Organizations in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries use comprehensive tools for analyzing and grading suppliers based on the level of risk they pose for the greater manufacturing operation. Without a risk-based solution in less regulated manufacturing sectors, too much valuable time and resources are allocated to assessing the risk factor of reliable suppliers that pose no threat to the larger operation while giving less scrutiny to more suspicious suppliers than they should realistically be receiving. 


    “Our customers rely on Sparta Systems to proactively identify and address the key issues affecting supply quality management before these issues present themselves as a threat to their global business growth,” said James E. McGowan, President and CEO, Sparta Systems. “This list represents the most pressing challenges facing the manufacturing industry as we view it today, and Sparta remains committed to addressing these and other supply quality challenges so that our customers can continue to expand their operations effectively. Successfully doing so will ultimately allow these companies to grow their bottom lines and help to foster consumer confidence in the global manufacturing industry.”

    About Sparta Systems

    Founded in 1994, Sparta Systems is the world’s premier provider of cloud and on-premise quality management software. We offer the solutions, analytics, and expertise that speed up quality and compliance. Our solutions help to lower risk, increase efficiency, and keep consumers safe while allowing manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors to collaborate in a seamless and integrated environment. Sparta is privately owned and headquartered in Hamilton N.J, with offices across Europe and Asia. We support close to 1 million users across 700+ implementations, in more than 30 countries. Companies in life sciences, consumer products, discrete manufacturing and more, rely on Sparta.

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