If you are planning to outsource your supply from China then you must remember the first rule, which is never completely trust your Chinese supplier.
It is necessary to check each and every step of his process of manufacturing. Always verify what statement that they may give.
Although, it may sound too cynical, but if you discuss within your business network in your own country, where many of your business colleagues must have dealt with Chinese suppliers, they will share a few spine-chilling stories.
So, don’t take seriously all that assurance given by your Chinese supplier, but always go for factory audits in China before you tie up with them.
Let us discuss about factory audit that you should perform while outsourcing your supply from China.
What is a factory audit?
A factory audits in China is nothing but assessing your supplier’s factory. The basic objective of performing a factory audit is to confirm whether the manufacturer is capable enough to deliver your intended products as per your specification.
Factory audit will generally restrict to a certain single product. Suppose a factory manufactures both e-bikes and electric skateboards.
If you are looking forward to buy only e-bikes then you must only audit that particular manufacturing process.
You may either send your own engineers or any third party whom you can trust, who will create a certain specific checklist and collect data based on that and offer their observations.
This checklist will be based on accepted norms that is recognized internationally on any specific product such as e-bikes here.
This audit will be compiled as a report and based on that you can judge the capability of your Chinese supplier.
What is the takeaway?
With the help of such factory audit you can discover many information that perhaps you never discussed with your supplier before.
This will greatly help you to judge whether your supplier can really offer you the goods as per your specification.
Such audit offers you an opportunity to know the structure of the company, its exact location, quality procedure that is followed by them, and compare that with your own system. Often there can be a few new things to learn too.
What to check during factory audit?
During factory audits in China broadly you can check the following:
- Collect basic data
A factory audit offers you an opportunity to confirm the basic details about supplier that he had discussed with you such as:
- Factory location
- Contact information
- Financial information
- Manpower used in production
- Verify their export capability.
- Facilities available
Factory audit offers you an opportunity to see what are various production equipment and quality checking equipment used by your supplier.
Whether they are based on international standards. Whether the machines are properly calibrated and how frequently they calibrate them.
- Manufacturing environment
During the factory audit, you can see in what kind of environment the production is going on.
Whether people work in an organized manner and follow a certain quality system such as ISO-9001, etc.
- Material control procedure
Handling of the production material is one of the important activities that you can observe during the factory audit. You can see how the materials are stored and moved to production floor.
- Quality and inspection procedure
One of the most important things revealed during factory audit is the quality control system.
This will give you enough confidence about your supplier. It is important to devote more time in this area during the factory audit.
Performing factory audits in China will offer you an opportunity to judge your supplier holistically.
Also, you can be more confident whether your supplier can meet the quality and specification of your product.