Approving Supplier Processes

A UK luxury goods company selling in over 160 countries needs to improve their process for approval of supplier manufacturing processes.


This UK manufacturer of luxury goods has a well-earned reputation for delivering quality customer experiences and consistently review their processes in order to maintain these high standards.

It is essential, therefore, that not only their own internal processes are robust and effective but also their supplier network operates to the same high-quality standards.

Prior to expanding their manufacturing base to Asia and South America they performed a complete review of their supplier management processes and found high degrees of variation in the methods being used. They realised that for their expansion to be successful they needed to resolve these variations rapidly, in advance of the supplier management processes being deployed overseas.


PMI launched an assessment of the current, ‘as is’ process with a cross-section of the practitioner community, facilitated through workshops and observation. It was found that there wasn’t ‘one way’ in which the process was being operated. There were multiple versions of the process documentation and the documentation allowed too much scope for self-interpretation.

PMI used a ‘synthetic’ process into which best practice from all the different ways of operating the process could be fed to create the ‘best-known way’ to perform the process.  This method generated great results and helped to gain consensus amongst the process operators.

  • Practitioners were involved in a series of workshops in which they researched and surveyed the process to allow them to agree and document the best-known way.
  • The Engineers who were required to operate the newly defined process attended classroom events so that they could practice the skills they need to manage and continuously improve supplier processes.
  • Working with the engineers we focussed on the skills required to operate the process and developed easy to follow training and reference materials for them to take away and refer to after the training.

We worked with the management team to ensure they secured the cross-functional engagement which was critical to the success of the project. By getting this buy-in and a sense of ownership with the management and process operators it ensured they were able to affect change and the necessary process improvement to achieve their high output standards regardless of location, country or supplier.

The company now has a system that is clear and coherent that can be deployed – the process is mapped, the process can be trained, it can be confirmed that people are operating it, consistently, throughout their global community.


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