DAVID WEEKLEY HOMES RECENTLY PRESENTED its first “Partners of Choice” awards to 11 national account suppliers that their toughest critics—the builder's own rank and file—singled out for their consistent performances.

The awards, which the Houston-based builder handed out during its national accounts meeting in August, were based on a quarterly rating system that polls Weekley's 700 employees about vendors' field execution. This National Trading Partner survey, which the builder initiated in March 2004, involves all levels of management in all 14 of the builder's markets. Every three months, one-quarter of Weekley's associates are asked to go online to rate suppliers they interact with on a dozen performance criteria.

To qualify for the award, vendors had to be in the survey four consecutive quarters and receive scores from a minimum of 75 surveys. Their products also had to be used by Weekley in multiple markets. Four suppliers—Moen, Elk Supply, Silestone's Cosentino brand, and Suncoast Post-Tension—received cumulative scores of “single A” for either quality or service. Seven vendors—James Hardie, Simpson, Dow Chemical, Honeywell, Trus Joist, ABC Supply, and Trane—received “double A” scores for both quality and service.

This exercise, says Bill Justus, Weekley's vice president of supply chain services, provides suppliers with direct feedback about how they're doing and how to fix problems.

Eventually, Weekley plans to use these surveys to develop performance-based vendor contracts. Suppliers are already getting the message: For its annual meeting, Weekley prepared a DVD of interviews with employees about why they gave vendors different scores.