Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe (MTEE) use motivational techniques to achieve win-win situations
“An audit is not some big stick to wield with regard to your suppliers”

The automotive industry has faced significant turmoil for some years now, and also the years to come OEMs will face numerous challenges. The emission levels should for instance be further lowered and trends as autonomous driving and mobility as a service is becoming a reality now. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. It is now more important than ever to have a “fit” supply chain that is able to adapt well to all of these challenges, so that both quality and reliability of the chain is maintained.

Benefits of good auditing

Good auditing does not do you any harm. Whether it is concerning a standard audit – in which a change or problem is tested – or audits that are intended to support and stimulate supplier development. Fewer complaints in the supply chain, higher efficiency, a better collaboration with suppliers, being able to respond quicker to problems in the supply chain, being able to respond better to aberration in the automotive industry: the benefits are easy to enumerate.

Effective testing

Symbol trains OEMs and suppliers of this OEM to perform these audits as well as possible. During the training participants improve their knowledge, but they are especially taught  practical skills with which they can perform supplier audits. This also applies to Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe (MTEE). “Our Supplier Quality Development department is expected to be able to test suppliers regarding the standards that exist, including IATF 16949. This means that we not only need to know this standard well, but also that we must be able to test effectively against that standard. For a number of people within our department the latter was fairly new. We therefore invited Symbol – a renowned supplier with whom we worked regularly the past years – and asked for a multi-day training to provide us with, so that our entire department would reach the same knowledge level “says Paul Soetens, Manager Supplier Development at MTEE.

 Increase competences

Improving competence skills of the auditors: that is what Symbol’s training is about. This all starts with good preparation. An auditor must have great knowledge of the context of the supplier’s area, should bear in mind cultural differences and have the right information interpreted in the right way with regard to the audit. And an audit is obviously followed up with strong feedback to the management of the supplier, so that within this organization there is sufficient focus on the topics.

Focus on skills – do’s and don’ts during auditing

This and several other things were also discussed during the training at MTEE. Soetens: “Together with Symbol, we carefully mapped out which people were involved and what their level of knowledge was before the training commenced. From this point, Symbol has customized the training: the focus was primarily on acquiring skills (do’s and don’ts during the audit) and less on theory. What do you test during an audit? How do you handle that? And what do you do if a supplier does not want to cooperate, or else, if things appear differently than they are? Through role play, participants have practiced real-life audit situations that are commonly found. They are now obviously well prepared. This is important, because audits often have a “strange atmosphere” around them. During a good audit, there is interaction between the auditor and the supplier. There is a common objective, namely: improving processes . But many suppliers are not eager to be tested for their performance. The trainer has taught participants to audit in a motivating the way, and just show the supplier that he is supporting him in a mutually beneficial way. An audit is not a stick to wield with regard to your suppliers. If you do it right, it will benefit both parties. ”

Use motivational techniques to achieve win-win situations

Soetens is very satisfied with the training that his colleagues have followed. ” That’s the approach as I just described – motivational techniques that are being used, to gain a win-win situation – but also the right balance between theory and practice. Standards can be boring, and the variety and interactivity captivated the participants from start to finish. And now it is time for the next step. I compare it to driving: only after you got your license, you actually  learn driving well. The five participants all now have the certificate and are therefore officially certified auditor, but now they have to learn in practice and gain experience. They are actually still in their infancy. ”

“Strong and confident”

A number of participants have now completed the first audits. Soetens: ” I have noticed that knowledge of the standards has improved. I also note that they are not losing sight of the win-win situation at any point and that they continue to do that. This is what I think is most important, because it provides competent auditing and better cooperation with the supplier. Or, as one of my colleagues who followed the training told me: ‘I have now learned how to convince suppliers that it is also important for them to enforce the rules. That makes me stronger and more confident. I now also know how I can keep a professional structure during an audit, so that audits run more smoothly. ‘ That’s simply great to hear. ”

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