Impact of Supplier Evaluation on Product Quality

Thais da C. L. Alves1, Panthil Desai2, Kim L. Needy3, Ashleigh Hegwood4 & Sean Musick5

1Associate Professor, J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management Program, Dept. of Civil, Constr., and Env. Engineering, San Diego State University, USA, [email protected]
2Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Civil, Constr., and Env. Engineering, San Diego State University, USA, [email protected]
3Dean, Graduate School and International Education, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA, [email protected]
4Industrial Engineer, Former University of Arkansas student, Fayetteville, USA, [email protected]
5Director, Performance Excellence, MEI Technologies, Inc. (MEIT), Houston, TX, USA [email protected]


Supplier evaluation and engagement are regular topics in the Lean literature at large. It is well known that Toyota extensively works with suppliers to develop their work and capabilities, and provides challenges and feedback to suppliers so that they can achieve the quality requirements defined by the company. In the construction industry, companies conduct evaluations of suppliers, but practitioners cite numerous reasons why supplier evaluations are not constantly shared with suppliers. Moreover, the topic of supplier evaluation and how suppliers’ ratings affect the delivery of products free of defects to construction projects has not received much attention by the IGLC community. This paper presents results of a study, which underscores the importance of conducting supplier evaluation as a means to assure quality products are delivered to construction projects. Findings show that suppliers with low ratings, or who are not evaluated, are assigned more hours of inspection, as are suppliers who subcontract portions of their work. This practice translates not only into additional budgets required to inspect suppliers, but also additional management-related costs.


Lean construction, supplier evaluation, nonconformances, quality.



Alves, T. C. L. , Desai, P. , Needy, K. L. , Hegwood, A. & Musick, S. 2017. Impact of Supplier Evaluation on Product Quality, 25th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 11-18.

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