Today, Doe & Ingalls is sharing the results of its 2011 Customer Satisfaction Survey with those customers who took the survey. As I was reviewing the results, I came across an important question in one of the comments. Because we have received questions along similar lines several times before, I’d like to share an answer here.
The question we got was essentially this: how does D&I impact quality for me? It’s a good question, considering that Doe & Ingalls does not manufacture or repackage product. The answer is multi-fold. Because it’s easiest for me to think in sequence, I am going to start with the upstream supply chain and work my way to our customers’ receiving docks.
Sourcing. Doe & Ingalls first opportunity to impact quality is through sourcing. We recognize that quality goes beyond meeting specifications and we work with suppliers who meet high quality standards. We try to source from suppliers with cGMP manufacturing capabilities and with their own strong quality systems. We have beefed up our sourcing in recent years to include more supplier visits and audits.
Procurement. Once a customer selects a product, our ISO 9001:2008 quality system is designed to ensure that the quality and supply chain requirements for the specified product are accurately and meticulously managed from supplier to D&I to customer. For instance, when customers place orders for material, they often have specific requirements that relate to quality, such as expiration dating and lot requirements. Our systems are built and people trained to effectively manage these instructions. Moreover, it is our responsibility to ensure that our suppliers can meet these requirements when we order products for our customers.
Receipt. When we receive material at our service centers, it goes through a complete inspection. Important information, like part numbers, grades, lot numbers and expiration dates are reviewed to verify that they match our purchase order requirements. Our warehouse specialists also visually inspect material to ensure there are no packaging issues that could impact product (if there are, we return the product to the manufacturer and initiate a CAR). If drums or totes have gotten dusty or dirty during transit to our facilities, they are wiped down on receipt.
Environment and handling. Material is then stored and handled in our state-of-the-art service centers in accordance with cGMPs and IPEC GDPs (Good Distribution Practices) that are incorporated into our Quality System. This includes features such as temperature control, pest control, and emergency backup power. This is important because, for some customers, we are an extension of their facilities and actually act as a “location” in their planning and inventory systems. In cases where product is opened, such as for our sampling or dip tubing services, we have controlled environments, such as cleanrooms, to prevent contamination.
Shipment. The same inspection and verification process that occurs on material receipt occurs again on shipment to the customer with the added scrutiny of verifying customer specific requirements. Documentation is also shared at this time via email, fax or with shipment. Materials are then shipped using carriers experienced in handling hazardous chemicals, with strong safety and service performance.
Corrective actions. Finally, for quality issues with manufactured product, we manage CARs with suppliers, assisting our customers to get their corrective actions quickly investigated and closed. When we see a pattern of supplier CARs, we work with the supplier to correct the issue identified.
So in the end, we do impact quality. Our sourcing process attempts to design quality into the supply chain. Then our role is to ensure that we provide the right material that meets specific quality standards and to maintain the product’s integrity until it is ready for production. We work with our customer to resolve any quality issues that may arise in their supply chain along the way.