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Quality Assurance by D. H. Stamatis

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57
7
Role of Supplier Technical Engineer
Overview
Perhaps the most visible customer representative in the customer–supplier
relationship is the supplier technical engineer. Although different companies
use different names for this representative, their function is always the same.
That function is to help communicate the needs and wants of the customer
and to make sure that the supplier has the ability to fulll these needs and
wants in the form of requirements. In case the supplier falls short of these
expectations, it is the responsibility of the technical engineer to help the
supplier catch up in its deciencies. Fundamentally, the role of the technical
engineer is to be responsible for
Plant support
Technical support
Supplier site management
Warranty reduction
Process development
New model programs
These responsibilities are fullled by encouraging and motivating the
supplier to
Act like a partner so that they can be a partner
Trust and be trustworthy
Communicate with consistency
Be fact based
Think value, not just price
58 Quality Assurance
Specific Responsibilities of the Stakeholders
In order for the supplier technical engineers to perform their duties, it is
imperative that all stakeholders understand their roles. These roles are the
basic functions that the supplier engineer has to live up to and optimize
daily. Minimum requirements for a supplier are
Deliver the right product, at the right time, in the right quantity
Meet the technical, nancial, and process capability objectives
Staff the program with sufcient resources
Complete product assurance and timing plans
Challenge seemingly redundant customer requirements
Minimum requirements for purchasing are
Identify suppliers who deliver the required product development
capability
Ensure technical resources are available to close deciency gaps
Verify supplier quality capabilities and utilize a metrics-driven
assessment
Facilitate a cross-functional sourcing consensus
Issue target agreements
Develop forward-model-sourcing strategies
Ensure supplier responsiveness
Drive adherence to the purchasing supplier relationship values (this
is an issue of trust)
Involve supplier technical engineer early in the sourcing process
Minimum requirements for manufacturing are
Participate in sourcing decisions, based on quality history and total cost
Provide shipping requirements, shipment windows, and packaging
requirements
Monitor supplier quality deciencies and communicate them to
the suppliers and supplier technical engineer as well as purchasing
Maintain historical data on supplier’s quality and shipping
performance
Participate in quality reviews at the supplier sites
Conduct quality reviews of selected suppliers at the customer’s man-
ufacturing plants
59Role of Supplier Technical Engineer
Provide technical/manufacturing knowledge and assistance to sup-
pliers that have major quality/productivity issues
Minimum requirements for engineering are
Provide customer requirements, program scope, and quality and
reliability objectives
Provide clarication on proposed direction
Establish a product assurance management process
Monitor and manage supplier execution
Participate actively in supplier technical and process capability reviews
Lead regular and periodic risk assessments
Lead problem resolution and continuous improvement efforts
Minimum shared responsibilities with purchasing are
Achieve common understanding of supply base
Recognize areas of concern
Understand which suppliers are doing it right
Work together to source new business
Deal with ongoing performance issues
Specific Categories of a Supplier Technical Engineer
Whereas the basic requirements are very critical to a successful program
between customer and supplier, the reader has noticed that all these require-
ments are very demanding in content and volume. Therefore, the responsibility
of a supplier technical engineer (depending on the size of organization) may be
divided into four categories with specic responsibilities. These categories are
1. Site engineers. This individual is primarily the process lead for any
issues between supplier and customer. This means that the engineer
a. Interfaces with supplier site
b. Utilizes manufacturing site assessment to improve supplier quality
c. Is responsible for ongoing part quality and product launch
Specically, a site engineer
a. Serves as a single point of contact for assigned supplier sites, and
is accountable for site performance for new product launch and
ongoing part quality.

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