Supplier audits - more security in the supply chain

Security in supplier networks has become a central key to competitiveness. Supplier audits are an important building block in supplier management. The audits support the implementation of uniform corporate guidelines and create transparency along the entire supply chain. They stabilize your internal processes and sustainably improve the future viability of your company.

Objective, comprehensible results and substantial decision-making aids

Targeted identification of potential opportunities and risks

Risk containment, legal certainty and qualification

Short-term relief in the event of internal resource bottlenecks

Description of the standard

Supplier audit - information on the audit approach

A supplier audit enables you to simplify the selection and assessment of new or existing suppliers. It also allows you to identify opportunities and risks within your company. With an audit, we not only evaluate the organizational and technical performance of your external suppliers. We also show the degree of fulfillment of agreed processes or rule-specific requirements.

The assessment approach "supplier audit" has gained massively in importance because, with globalization, companies are outsourcing important components of their value chain to an ever greater extent. As a consequence, the management of supplier relationships and knowledge of the supplier's current performance are of great importance.

Another aspect is the commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Supplier audits serve here as a comparison of the sustainability topics relevant and indispensable for your organization with the corresponding approach and processes of your suppliers. For this purpose, we develop criteria, methods and tools individually for your company that are suitable for CSR supplier assessment.

Approaches for auditing the performance of your external suppliers also arise in the context of a QM system within the framework of the well-known ISO 9001:2015 standard.

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What types are there?

What types of supplier audits are there?

Supplier audits can be divided into process and compliance audits as well as store checks. In a process audit, operational procedures and processes are specifically evaluated. The focus here is on compliance with previously defined processes. In compliance audits, the degree of fulfillment of defined requirements by the supplier is examined. Store checks are reviews or inspections of stores or retail outlets.

Process audits can also serve as a weak point analysis for your company, especially in risk assessment. This applies, for example, to supply bottlenecks or the possible failure of a supplier. In addition, auditing and evaluating potential new suppliers is a good way to qualify them according to your customer requirements and to stabilize your own manufacturing process.

Detailed access to the suppliers' value creation processes often reveals gaps and potential for improvement. Measures derived from this provide your company with significant competitive advantages.

Compliance audits focus on compliance with your regulatory obligations. However, requirements relating to sustainability issues such as human rights and employee rights, occupational safety or environmental protection are also market-relevant examples. The catalog of requirements can have the following character:

  • customer-specific
  • standard-related or
  • statutory

Store checks, also known as store audits or in-store checks, are reviews or inspections of stores or retail outlets. The goal of store checks is to ensure that a company's products are properly presented in stores.

During a Store Check, the assigned auditor visits each store and observes various aspects such as product placement, availability, pricing, promotional materials, and general compliance with company standards. The store checks conducted can take the form of checklists, questionnaires or specific instructions.

The data collected and findings from the store checks are used to monitor the implementation of the company's marketing and sales strategies, identify potential problems and take action to improve product presentation and sales performance.

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Added value

Why is a supplier audit useful for your company?

A supplier audit results in measurable advantages for your company. This becomes visible in the areas of supplier evaluation, supplier selection, supplier development and in the quality and compliance with specific specifications. This puts you one step ahead of the competition.

Your benefits from supplier audits are particularly noticeable through a high level of implementation orientation. Results from supplier audits lead to objective, comprehensible findings and substantial decision-making aids. This results in concrete improvements with long-term benefits.

The benefits of supplier audits result from:

  • Individually coordinated criteria catalogs and evaluation systems
  • Methodical and reproducible procedures for supplier evaluation
  • Targeted identification of potential opportunities and risks
  • Risk limitation, legal certainty and qualification vis-à-vis your customers
  • The continuous improvement process in the supplier relationship
  • Targeted safeguarding of your own manufacturing process
  • Short-term relief in case of internal resource bottlenecks, national and international
  • Establishment of long-term, resilient partner networks
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Audit planning

How long does a supplier audit take?

Supplier management is complex. Depending on the scope and depth of the assessment catalog, a supplier audit can take one day or several weeks. Your decision on the frequency at which a supplier audit is repeated also plays an important role.

As soon as we know your supply chain management and your ideas, we align our planning precisely and individually to the resources and requirements of your company. On this basis, our audits offer a variety of starting points for making the right decisions and implementing improvements.

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For which standards are supplier audits not permitted?

A supplier audit is not mentioned in the certification rules for IATF 16949 and VDA 6.X, i.e. it does not apply in connection with a certification company. This means that we as DOS are not allowed to offer such an audit and are not allowed to assign an auditor to do so.


What is the process of a supplier audit?

In the first step, we discuss your company, your supplier structure and your objectives with regard to supplier audits. Our offer is therefore individually tailored to the requirements and resources of your company.

Detailed preparation is particularly useful for larger projects in order to plan the schedules and implementation of audits at supplier locations. The planning also includes the interfaces to your suppliers, including the involvement of your internal auditors.

DQS' global network of auditors and experts along the entire supplier life cycle is used to conduct the audit. Our big plus for you: In addition to their technical and industry-specific competencies, our local auditors are also familiar with your culture and language.

After the audit, we present the results to you in detail in a personal meeting. These results are also recorded in a meaningful audit report including recommendations for action.


What do supplier audits cost?

Decisive aspects

The cost of a supplier audit or series of supplier audits depends on several factors. One factor is the scope and depth of the audit, and how many suppliers you want to have audited. The focus on national or international audits also makes a difference. 

For these reasons, the costs for a supplier audit cannot be given as a lump sum. Please contact us: We will be happy to work out an individual quote for your company.

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What you can expect from us

  • Industry-experienced auditors from the worldwide DQS network know your culture and language
  • Value-adding insights into your supplier management
  • More than 35 years of experience in auditing processes and certifying management systems
  • Meaningful audit reports include recommendations for action
  • Personal, smooth support from our specialists - regionally, nationally and internationally
  • Individual offers with flexible contract terms without hidden costs
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Request a quote

Your local contact

We would be happy to provide you with an individual quote for your supplier audit needs.