When selecting suppliers, cost and quality are obviously important considerations. Of equal importance are factors such as working conditions, environmental impact, approach to worker health and safety, and the possession and validity of recognised certification. Rawlplug regularly conducts audits of its suppliers to ensure conformity with our expectations.
Why Rawlplug conducts supplier audits
Our aim as a business is to provide high-quality products to our clients. The majority of our products are used in the construction industry or at home as part of home-improvement construction or gardening projects. Given the context in which Rawlplug products are used and the duty we have to our clients, we must be able to guarantee their safety and integrity. As such, we must have 100% confidence in every one of our suppliers and the main aim of supplier audits is to achieve this level of confidence. It is for this reason that we work only with proven, trustworthy, reliable suppliers.
In those instances when suppliers fail our audits, we act immediately to either support the supplier in improving its processes, or move quickly to replace the supplier.
Supplier audits also help us to determine and forecast our exposure to risk in the supply chain. Our audits enable us to evaluate the strength and stability of our suppliers and then calculate the extent to which they can be depended upon to support Rawlplug in its pursuit of its operational and strategic objectives.
But supplier audits are not simply one-sided exercises aimed at checking that our suppliers are compliant with Rawlplug standards and industry standards; we see supplier audits as an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and to explore opportunities to add value – both to Rawlplug’s operations and those of our suppliers. After all, it’s not just about the commercial relationship between Rawlplug and its suppliers; we know that, by building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships with our suppliers, we are contributing to the communities that they belong to. As a company that prides itself on its strong focus on CSR, we truly recognise the value of strong relationships with our suppliers.
The way we conduct audits
Rawlplug conducts audits both with potential new suppliers and existing members of our supplier ecosystem. The basic aim of these audits is to verify that the declarations our suppliers make to us are accurate and true.
Audits are conducted objectively and seek to establish the extent to which suppliers comply with the terms of the agreement that we either have in place with them, or are looking to implement. And while the main considerations are safety, quality and environmental responsibility, our audits also evaluate production processes, procedures, resource usage and technology (both type used and its application). The way we evaluate our suppliers is based on a combination of our own, Rawlplug-specific requirements and also the presence of recognised, industry standard systems and certifications.
In line with our belief that audits should be seen as a means of strengthening relationships, we endeavour to use these opportunities to educate our suppliers about how their products are used once delivered at our facilities and to inform them of any relevant developments at Rawlplug. This brings us closer to our suppliers and enables both parties to understand one another better. Through this enhanced understanding, we are able to optimise the way we work together, add value to our respective businesses and, most importantly, improve the quality of service provided to Rawlplug customers.
As part of Rawlplug’s supplier audit process, we typically study the presence or implementation of the following industry-standard certifications and practices:
- Quality Management System (QMS) ISO 9001 or ISO/TS 16949
- Environment Management System (EMS) ISO 14001
- OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Services) Management Systems.
In addition and where applicable, we check for product-specific certifications, such as Factory Production Control (FPC) European Conformity for products used in construction.