SQEP is Caterpillar’s process for assessing and recognising suppliers’ quality performance, and combines industry-recognised systems (ISO/TS16949:2002) with demonstrated results. This latest award builds on a strong history of success for the company’s Skinningrove site, which received Caterpillar’s Gold award last year and Silver for the three years before that.
The Caterpillar SQEP awards track a number of performance metrics over a 12 month period, which get increasingly more stringent as suppliers move from Bronze to Silver to Gold. These metrics include minimum delivery performance, measured by ‘delivery on time in full’ and quality, measured by the defective rate measured in parts per million (PPM).
The SQEP process is overseen by a formal monitoring and audit program supported by the Caterpillar Purchasing and Quality team and a cross functional team representing the supplying facility.
Two things that helped Tata Steel win this award are its vendor-managed inventory (VMI), through which it holds stock locally to supply Caterpillar and its inspection and shot blasting facility in the US, which allows it to spot quality problems and eliminate them before the product reaches the customer.
The award assesses numerous internal processes throughout the whole supply chain including steelmaking in Scunthorpe, the Special Profiles mill in Skinningrove, and the Tata Steel team in the US. Tata Steel has achieved close to 100 per cent delivery performance throughout the year on over 200,000 steel bars, which have been shipped to locations around the globe, including the US, Asia, Canada, Brazil and the UK.
Peter Gate, Acting Head of Sales and Marketing, Tata Steel Lifting & Excavating, says, “We are delighted to have been awarded Gold status for the second year running. We have worked with Caterpillar for a number of years and this demonstrates the importance and recognition of our collaborative approach. Caterpillar continues to evolve and grow as a business, so we are realistic about the need to work hard to maintain this status with them in 2015 and look forward to meeting the challenge together.”