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Topics: Procurement Management, Quality, Resource Management
Vendor quality issues
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Quality is very important in any project, as no one will be interested to buy a poor quality product. As a project manager, it is our responsibility to define the quality standards to be used in the project. This will ensure that the project’s deliverables and end results meets the customers expectations.In short, a project manager have to handle vendor related tasks, such as dealing with contracts, negotiation, and quality etc. But sometimes the vendor may not follow the quality standards and deliver a low quality product. Do these matters frustrate you about being a Project Manager? How do you handle this situation?
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PM's don't always define quality standards, thank goodness. But to your point, this is an example of why every single detail must be included in the contract or procurement documentation, and the PM must always be across that.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 10, 2017 9:50 AM
Anish Abraham
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Sante,.I agree that PM doesn't always define quality standards.
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I think procurement manager is responsible for dealing with vendor and all requirement are clearly mention in procurement statement of work and procurement documents and on basis of that PM and project team work. Inspection is done to check the validity of quality asked in contract and if there is any shortcomings, vendor is leagally bound to correct it or face leagal consequences. Project management is team work.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 10, 2017 9:59 AM
Anish Abraham
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Mansoor, My understanding is that the project manager need to be involved in the entire process of procurement management. Anyway it also depends upon whether the project manager handle most of the procurement, or some of the procurement. Like you mentioned depending on the organization, the procurement department may deal with most of the procurement.
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Gentlemen-
I beg to differ in your assumption a PM does not define Quality standards for Procurement Items and Vendor selection. It has been my experience:
1) the MOST successful Projects I have Managed were Projects where I defined the Quality Standards through Procurement Contracts, and selected Vendors. I typically conducted 90% of the Procurement with my team within 6 months of mobilization.
2) I find problems with Procurement "Departments" in companies I have worked for- they do not have the Technical Skills to identify Quality and Procurement Specs. Those skills are usually ONLY found within the skillset of the PM. To allow those "specialists" to perform those activities unsupervised is antithetical to Professional Project Management. The includes design professional Procurement.
3) I resolve most Quality issues by close monitoring of the manufacturing or Vendor processes during fabrication- long prior to hitting the Project. I accomplish this through the use of my staff, or 3rd Party Inspection services.
(For example-when your structural steel components come from China- The PM must receive Daily reports from the Inspectors at the Manufacturing facility to assure Steel Chemistry and Welding viability!)

My Opinion!
M
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 10, 2017 10:28 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Mark, for your valuable and detailed feedback. I manage IT projects and currently I'm going through the procurement process for my project. As you mentioned I agree, that project manager doesn't always define quality standards for procurement.
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Interesting Mark, yes that's why I qualified my statement with "always", as in "PM's don't 'always' define quality standards". It is my experience that the organization or PMO's usually set the quality standards, but then most of my projects have been IT, so not too sure about construction.Yes the PM can manage quality for the project, or manage/coordinate the resources performing the quality work, but "responsibility to define the quality standards" is a whole other ball game. Perhaps Anish meant define the quality management plan, or quality metrics, or level of quality. Quality is a fickle thing.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 10, 2017 10:34 AM
Anish Abraham
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Sante, you are right. I was talking about the quality planning, and according to my understanding the project manager should define the standards the project will be required to meet to be successful.
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Anish

What is "poor quality"? I am assuming you understand the difference between quality and grade and quality is about meeting requirements - so either we achieve the quality standards or we do not.
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Anish

I have noticed from this post and other posts that either you are tricking us to generate discussion (tricking in a good way) or do you think that the PM does everything on the project?

The PM should be part of a PMT and a PT (Project Management Team and Project Team, respectively).

In this post, the PM is and cannot be the only one dealing with quality and depending on the type of project.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 10, 2017 11:42 AM
Anish Abraham
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Mounir, I don't think PM does everything in every project. Anyway in my opinion it depends on the organization structure. In the past, I had to do many things I described above. Also, my only intention in posting these discussions is to share and learn from others.

Thanks for your valuable feedback and comments, I appreciate it.
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Mark

I think the challenge is that project management is not uniform across industries. As you would have noticed or known by now, most of the participants here come from software or technology background. Some have a good understanding of full-scale project management, others have only limited experience and are not exposed to the full spectrum.

In my workshops, we clearly notice issues related to procurement, quality, contracting is almost a foreign language to many from the IT world because they are not involved in it.
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I have worked on some projects wherein dependence on OEM product have been up to 70%, few occasions release quality (IT/Telecom software version) was having issues which were hugely impacting B2B or B2B2C business outcome.

Due to business concern, such OEM/vendor concerns become unmanageable and bad in taste for whole ecosystem of team while business target got impacted. Poor contract terms, articulation of unforeseen conditions, expected KPI and associated penalty clauses generally plays a key role here. Project manager should keep a eye on these aspects.
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Mounir, on the contrary, the IT world is heavily involved in contracts and procurements.
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Quality is a topic that must be defined at strategical level. All the organization strategy depends on quality. Quality is a subjective matters that organizations must transform into objective ones. From the point of view of project management what you stated is simple to manage because you have quality control and validate scope activities where the project stakeholders you assigned to those activities perform actions to cover what you stated. Quality control is over all the project deliverables. Project procurement deliverables included. So, if there are problems with project quality then there is a lack of planning. Review the plan (formal or informal plan) and you will solve it.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 10, 2017 11:43 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Sergio, for your feedback.
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