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Audit cannot fix all 审核不是万能的

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商务部催某贸易公司交货,催了N多次,这期间贸易公司给了多个推迟货期的理由-设计有变更,环保督查关停上游厂家,春节放假,最后实在被催的不行了,从贸易公司销售代表发出一个无厘头的理由:工人停工,做不出货。这个时候,威胁说叫不出货就扣罚金之类的话是无济于事的。为了解决问题,商务部提出一个建议,“请供应商管理部门安排到现场去审核一下”,潜台词是请供应商管理部门出马去解决这个问题,当然最后这个审核是没有能实施,原因在于总经理觉得既然没有生产,审核也就没有基础了。问题是审核究竟是干什么的,到底有什么用,什么时候才管用?

The Commerce Department has urged one trading company to deliver the goods for several times, during which the trading company has provided many reasons for postponing the delivery time: the design had been changed; the environmental inspectors closed the upstream factories; they had holidays during Spring Festival, etc. As they have been hastened for several times, the sales representatives of the trading company had no alternatives but to provide a reason, or nonsense: the worker were on strike so that the goods could not be made. At this time, it is of no use threatening that they will be fined if they cannot offer goods. To solve the problem, the Commerce Department suggested that the supplier management department to examine it on the spot. The subtext is that the supplier management department was about to solve this problem. Of course, the audit was not conducted finally since the general manager considered that there is nothing for audit due to no production. The question is: what is the audit; what is the effect of audit; when will the audit take effect?

供应商审核不是万能的。

The Supplier Audit is not omnipotent.

见过多次的国外分公司的质量专业人士或管理人员新进入公司接手现有项目,安排来中国制造供应商的访问议程必不可少的一项就是工厂审核,内容可能是体系审核,也可能是过程审核,亦或者两者结合,也可能当中再加上一些安全或社会责任的内容,尽管后者都可能不在当初的议程中,加上去的说法可以是“这个也很重要啊,你不觉得吗?”结果出现了给供应商的多次审核采用了不同的标准,得出了多次不同的分数和评级,一会儿是“有条件批准作为供应商或者项目继续进行”,一会儿又是“限期30天整顿”,列出的问题项动辄4-5页纸,生怕供应商不知道他的专业知识的丰富程度,搞得供应商无所适从。的确,这就如同城里人到乡下,觉得什么都很老土,什么都需要完善一样。

I have seen many times that when the quality professionals or management staffs from oversea branches who newly joined the company and took over existing projects. One indispensable part of the agenda arranged for visiting Chinese suppliers is to audit the factories, probably including the system audit, process audit, or the combination of the two. Possibly, content concerned with safety or social responsibility will be included. Despite that the latter two may not appear on the original agenda, they can be added via a single sentence: “Don’t you think that it is also very important?” Consequently, different standards were adopted on multiple audits towards suppliers, resulting in different marks and levels for many times. Sometimes it shows that “it is conditionally approved or continue projects”, while sometimes it shows that “Max. 30 days for improvement”. The question listed is as long as four to five pages in case that the suppliers do not know how affluent his professional knowledge is, which makes suppliers quite confused. Indeed, this is like the city people who go to the countryside, as they regard everything as outdated and need improving.

外资企业在中国发展的10多年间设立了诸多的采购办事处,采购代表处,采购中心,目的各有不同,但相当多的给供应商质量管理的主要职责定位就是审核,一则请第三方审核费用太贵-初审是初审的费用,跟进是跟进的费用,二则用审核来评估工厂的准入,用审核来监督衡量工厂的改善,也用审核来决定工厂的淘汰。最后供应商管理的工程师做成了只会做审核。

The foreign-invested enterprises have set many procurement offices, procurement representatives and procurement centers within last ten years of development in China. In spite of different goals, considerable responsibility of Supplier Quality Management function is limited to Audit. For one thing, audit fees required by the third party seem to be too expensive— fees from initial audit and follow-up is separated clearly. For the other thing, audit is utilized to evaluate the qualification of factory, monitor and measure the improvement of factory, and determine the exit of factory. Finally, engineers in charge of managing suppliers are only able to audit.

在笔者看来,审核的确是帮助认清问题,发现问题以推动纠正和改善,但是需要有一些注意事项。(ISO9001 对审核的定义:为获得审核证据,并对其进行客观的评价,以确定满足审核准则的程度所进行的系统的,独立的并形成文件的过程)。

As far as I am concerned, the audit is conductive to understand the situations clearly and identify problems to promote the correction and improvement. Nevertheless, some notes are necessary. (ISO defines audit as systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled)

1.审核不能解决业务问题Audit cannot solve business problems.

如以上的案例,工厂已经给出说法是“工人停工,做不出货”,问题还不是很明确,为什么工人停工?是部分工人停工还是有组织的罢工?但至少有不好的苗头了,这个时候最稳妥的办法是需要透明的沟通,很可能是业务出了问题,业务出了问题自己内部是最清楚不过了,只不过愿不愿意告诉客户罢了,正所谓家凑不可外扬嘛。而对口业务的,当然是采购方给业务的部门了,不管是什么部门决定给业务到对方,请他们出马就对了。实际情况是采购方约请供应商第一时间到采购方来开会检讨,结果供应商不仅来了贸易公司的总经理,其次他也带来了其合作伙伴-制造工厂的总经理(贸易公司只是通过持股在参与制造工厂的管理,没有实质性的管控),原因就很明确了-两者有不同的发展观点造成了分歧,制造工厂认为近期采购订单降低,生产切换频繁,效率降低,利润下降,要求客户多下单以确保平稳生产,而要求客户多下单是贸易公司的职责,站在贸易公司的角度,他们比较容易理解客户的心情-如果货都交不出,怎么能让客户有信心多下单?这就是一个先有鸡还是先有蛋的问题。在经济下行的周期里,单纯的贸易公司最容易出的就是这类问题。既然原因的症结找到了,解铃还需系铃人,贸易公司自有其办法,毕竟拿下一张订单比丢失一张订单困难多了。在此我不讨论后面的解决办法,但单纯从审核的角度,是解决不了问题的,因为审核解决不了业务的问题,要不然以后的业务问题都请第三方来审核一下供应商好了,做审核他们最专业。

As cases above, despite that the factory said that, “the workers were on strike so that the product could not be made.”, the question is not clear enough. Why the workers were on strike? Whether the strike is organized or not? At least, it presents dangerous signals. At this time, the surest way for solution is transparent communication. It is likely that the business was problematic, but nobody other than the internal factory knows whether there is a problem or not, and it is merely about whether they are willing to confess to customers or not— Family shame should not be made public. The counterpart business, however, is the department for business allocated by purchasers. No matter which department decides to provide business to the other, it will be fine to invite them to handle it. In reality, the purchasers invite suppliers to conventions for self-criticism in first time. As a result, as for the suppliers, not only did they bring the general manager, but they also brought their cooperative partners— the general manager of manufacturing factories (Trading companies can only manage the manufacturing company via shares rather than substantial control). The reasons appear to be extinct: different development opinions owned by two parties give rise to divergence. The manufacturing companies think that as the recent procurement order reduces, the production handover becomes frequent, the efficiency decrease and the profits decline, they should require the customers to make more orders to ensure stable production. However, it is the responsibility of the trading company to ask customers to make more orders. From the perspective of trading companies, they are more likely to understand the customers’ feelings— if they cannot hand over cargos, how can they make sure that the customer is confident enough to make orders? This is the question of whether the chick or egg appear first. In the period of economy decline, the pure trading companies will be trapped in this trouble easily. Since the root of the reason has been discovered, the trading companies can develop solutions by their own— whoever started the trouble should end it. After all, getting an order is much more difficult than losing one. Here I am not going to discuss the solutions afterwards, yet simple in terms of audit, it cannot resolve the problem as the audit cannot solve the problem of business. Thus all the business problem can be resolved by inviting the third party, the most professional in this field, to examine the suppliers

2.审核的准则清晰The standard of audit should be clear

在上面的案例中,如果要审,请问按什么标准去审呢?是审财务,还是审产能,还是审质量?如果没有审核的标准和准则,审核就很难进行下去。做任何事需要有个名目,否则就不清晰,稀里糊涂。一个清晰的准则也便于供应商的提前妥善准备,否则审核完了,就“死”的很冤。在第二个案例中,常见国外的专业人士来中国审核,一个传统的五金厂,交付五金产品,可能那个五金产品的业务量对公司的影响比较大,因此被安排了按汽车工业的标准审核,实为不妥当。

In the case above, it the audit should be conducted, which standard should be based on? Should we examine finance, production capacity or quality? Without standards and criteria, examination will be hard to proceed. Anything should be in specific items or names, otherwise it will be ambiguous. A distinct standard helps suppliers prepare in advance, otherwise, the result may be undeserved after audit. In the second case, it is not rare that foreign professions come to china to check. A traditional hardware factory supplies hardware products. As the volume of business of hardware products exerted relatively significant influence on the business, they are checked according to the standards of automotive industry, which is indeed inappropriate.

审核的准则也包括审核完了需要有一个清晰了结论给对方。经常审核完了,结论自己留着,只告诉对方问题改善项,造成一个单方面的评估,如果评估是中立的,报告是客观的,建议还是将结论也一并提供给对方,虽然有时有点伤国人的脸面,但还是可以说的委婉一些了,甚至如果你表达能力好,能够让对方挨了骂还要感激你。想想如果去相亲,聊了老半天,最后觉得不合适,二话不说,扭头就走是不是很不客气,回头一点消息也没有,好歹也得告诉对方不合适的地方在哪吧。

The criteria for audit also includes a clear conclusion afterwards. More often than not, the conclusion will be left for their own after examination, and only the items need improvement will be told to the suppliers, which results in the unilateral evaluation. If the evaluation is neutral while the report is objective, it is suggestive that the conclusion should be provided simultaneously. Although sometime it will hurt face, you can express in a euphemistic way. Moreover, if you are adept at communication, you can even make them appreciate you after criticizing them. Suppose that you go to date, if you chat with someone for a while but find him/her inappropriate later, it will be rude for leaving at once without any messages—at least, you have to tell the other one why they do not match.

3.有提前的约定Appointment should be in advance

提前的约定就如同纲领。无论是什么样的审核,都需要在业务初期沟通清楚规则-尽管有少数规则最后没有被遵守。在前面提到的“有条件批准作为供应商或者项目继续进行”,或者“限期30天整顿”,如果在早期没有提前沟通,真正按照这个去落实的话,肯定会产生冲突,这等同于康师傅红烧牛肉面,加量不加价。如果审核完了不按照这个去走,就等同于规定只是走个形式,让别人下次对于这个审核不了了之。

Appointment in advance is like a guiding principle. Whatever the audit is, the rules should be communicated explicitly at the early stage in business —despite that the few rules are not be obeyed at last. Earlier I have introduced two sentence that “it is conditionally approved or continue projects”, or “Max. 30 days for improvement”. If they are implemented strictly without early advanced communication, the conflict will be caused. This is like the Master Kong Instant Noodle (Roasted Beef) that add more portions without increasing prices. If we do not follow it after audit, the audit will not be taken seriously next time—the rules are no more than a form.

无论是拿供应商审核做什么用途,准入也好,退出也罢,都需要在游戏开始前定好规矩。这些规定可以通过各种渠道来沟通,供应商大会,供应商手册,供应商质量协议,供应商项目要求,甚至项目初期的会议记录,等等。毕竟强扭的瓜是不甜的。

No matter how the suppliers use audit— entry or exit, the rules should be established before the game. These rules can be communicated via various channels— supplier conference, supplier manual, supplier quality agreement, supplier project requirement, even the meeting minute at the early stage of project, etc. After all, you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.

4.残疾人充其量只能是残疾人中的运动健将The disabled can only be the master of sports within the disabled.

在前期供应商选择不完善的公司,经常会出现一种现象,供应商进来了,从项目开始就不顺利,不是打不出样品,就是三番五次的提交,造成项目严重延后,终于磕磕碰碰样品勉强合格进入批量生产,然后要不就是批量抽检质量不合格,要不就是延期交货,很难做到保质又保量。这个时候就有人提出来要审核一下工厂,敦促改善,当然审核是可以的,可是改善的效果就不是那么明显了,生意都到手了,谁还会有当初那么强的动力加班加点去理会你的要求,试想有多少男孩子在追到女朋友变成太太之后还会每天送玫瑰献殷勤?

Companies that lack systemic supplier selection process at the early stage always present such phenomenon that the project appears to be unfavorable from the beginning, either failed at submitting production of samples or repeated submission that gives rise to the serious delay of project. Finally, the samples become barely qualified for batch production with some deviations, but the quality fails during spot check in batches, or the delivery date is postponed, so that it is extremely difficult to ensure the quality as well as quantity. At this time, someone proposes checking the factory to urge the improvement. Definitely, check is appropriate, yet the effect of improvement seems to be unconspicuous — as they have got the business, who else will possess the strong motivation like work overtime at beginning to take your requirements into considerations? Just imagine, how many boys will send roses every day to their girlfriends after their girlfriends become wives?

其次即便供应商愿意改进来获取更多的订单,改进也是需要投入时间和精力的,这个时候方法不得当,重点把握不好,很有可能投入并不会有多大的产出,无非是多了几个表格,还不知道能坚持使用多久。

Next, even suppliers are willing to improve in order to get more orders, improvement requires a huge amount of time and attention. This time the input may not generate abundant output if the method is improper or the focus is not grasped well— it is nothing but adding more forms with question of how long they can insist using these tools.

在这个点上通过审核来改进供应商的初衷很有可能是想把一个残疾人整改成一个正常人,这个有很大的难度,残疾人充其量最后也是一个残疾界里的运动员。

At this point, the intentions of improving suppliers via audit might be to turn a disabled person into a normal person. This is difficult indeed, as the disabled will at most become an athlete among the diabled.

审核可以发现问题,发现问题的解决思路可以有多种,但是审核不是万能的。

Audit can identify problems, and the solutions for problems can be various, yet the audit is not almighty after all.

 

Great acknowledge given to Ms. ZiZhu Wang (Akiko) from Guangdong Unversity of Foreign Studies for translation.

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