10 Items To Include In Supplier Audit Checklists

Ten items to include in the supplier audit checklist

Supplier audits consist of assessing both generic processes and specific processes based on the supplier category. Because the specific process questions vary per industry and even within companies, we focus on the generic items that apply to any industry in this blog.

To include your industry-specific checklists, the tool you use to define checklists should be easy-to-use and flexible so that your domain experts can add and modify the specific process questions.

In Poimapper, we have defined two different form builders to offer both ease of use to the occasional user and flexibility to the advanced user. With the basic form builder, it is easy to define and maintain basic checklists.  In the advanced form builder, you can include conditional logic for selecting which audit questions to show and scoring rules for every item and then automatically calculate the overall score of the audit.

Read more about our supplier audit solution here.

Ten items you should include in your supplier audit checklist template:

Human resources

The personnel of the supplier need to be adequately trained and certified. In particular, in inspections, staff must have qualifications, the scope of authorization and the period of validity defined.

Requirements and design management

Ensure the supplier can translate the customer requirements into a world-class quality product at a competitive price. Can the customer satisfaction of the supplier be guaranteed? The supplier must show how customer requirements are managed and considered in their product design.

Some specific questions could be

  • Ability to demonstrate that the supplier analyzes the customer requirements and that they are taken into account in the product and/or process design.
  • Is a process identified for design and projects (including milestones, functions and responsibilities)?
  • Is progress (issue, milestone, validation, etc.) communicated to the customer?
  • How is it proven that the designed product is compliant with customer requirements?
  • Are the product specifics identified which could induce risk during manufacturing and at final use by the customer?

On-time delivery capability and processing of customer orders

This is included to guarantee on-time delivery while ensuring the delivered goods’ quality.

  • How does the supplier manage the customer specifications, purchase orders, drawings, bill of materials, requirements and revisions?
  • How does the supplier manage the customer’s legal and safety requirements (legal, quality warranties, insurance and liability)?


To guarantee that suitable suppliers are chosen to supply components and raw materials used for the end products of the supplier.

For instance,

  • Are all the end product’s technical, safety, delivery and quality requirements included in the supplier’s orders?
  • Is there a quality assurance process for the key suppliers?
  • How are the new suppliers selected (assessment, rating)? Are the supplier performances followed (quality, cost, delivery)?

Supplier’s own Supply Chain

Include items that guarantee robust and state-of-the-art supply chain processes, on-time delivery and proactive management of demand changes. Make sure the whole supply chain of the supplier can meet the needs and proactively strive to improve. Questions can be related to:

  • Supply chain organization, communication and contractual commitments.
  • Demand and order management
  • Planning, execution, flexibility and crisis management
  • On-time delivery.

Inspecting incoming products

The following topics should be covered when inspecting incoming products:

Process and Procedure – to ensure inspection is done correctly, standardized, and formally.

Tools & Skills for Incoming Inspection – to ensure the tests can be performed correctly.

Physical Area – Is there a clearly defined incoming inspection area, including a designated area for non-conforming material?

Production Process

Before Production – to ensure the requirements are correctly translated into a plan that results in efficient production.

Start of Production – to ensure the settings are correct from the beginning of the process to guarantee a product that follows specifications and expectations.

Physical Flow – to ensure the flow through the production process is managed and controlled to guarantee efficiency and quality.

Tools and Maintenance – to ensure that the supplier avoids breakdowns resulting in delays or process failures resulting in quality failures

Environment, Health, and Safety

The specific environment, health, and safety checks may vary. Still, the supplier has to have a process in place to avoid accidents and ensure that the personnel is well-trained and healthy. Are the personal protective equipment used as expected?

The process of continuously improving safety and reducing waste should be in place. If dangerous products are handled, special procedures should be in place for managing them. Finally, the country-specific labour standards, as well as international ethical norms, should be strictly followed.

Quality Audits and Key Performance Indicators

A culture of continuous improvement should be in place and considered across the audits carried out by the supplier. The supplier should have reliable data available to develop action plans that will improve performance and, thus, customer satisfaction throughout the value chain. More specifically,

  • Are there Quality, Cost and Delivery indicators with defined targets?
  • Are the indicators communicated and explained to the workers?
  • Are action plans created to achieve and improve the targets? How is customer satisfaction evaluated?

The whole organization should be included.

  • Access rights must be in place to verify the supplier’s standards and procedures.
  • Is there a formalized audit schedule for process, product and supplier audits?
  • Are there action plans defined following audits?

Environmental, Social and Governance

This is a broad area and somewhat overlapping with the more traditional EHS area, but the topics included should be

  • Permissions and Regulations
  • Conflict minerals
  • Involuntary Labor & Human Trafficking
  • Discrimination, Harassment & Dispute Resolution
  • Child labor
  • Work hours & Wage
  • Security
  • Waste Disposal
  • Freedom of Association
  • Chemicals Management
  • Working and Living Conditions
  • Fire Protection & Prevention
  • Equipment safety.

Get a supplier audit checklist for free

To discuss details, including example checklists and your specific needs, contact us.  We can, for example, configure a comprehensive vendor audit checklist that considers your requirements free of charge.

    Smart Supplier Audit Checklists

    Supplier audit checklists are often built to cover all the potential topics. In most audits, only selected parts of a comprehensive supplier audit checklist are needed. In practice, the audit templates often become very large and complex to manage on-site.

    To tackle this and other challenges, with Poimapper, you can develop smart checklists that use conditional logic to show only topics relevant to the auditor and specific supplier. This streamlines the process and saves time. The audit should be divided and shared with several auditors in extensive audits that include many topics. Poimapper supports team audits with advanced synchronization and merging of audits carried out by several auditors. To learn more about how supplier audits can be done effectively, visit our supplier audit page.


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