In this episode of the podcast, I discuss factory quality audits as a part of the new Chinese supplier vetting process.
Loosely based on this article, you’ll understand where these audits fit into the vetting process and the more formal benefits that they provide when you have narrowed down potential suppliers.
The Importance Of Factory Quality Audits
In short, factory quality audits, if they focus on quality systems and on manufacturing processes, will help you to assess your potential supplier’s ability to manufacture your products at a consistently high level of quality that reaches your expectations.
Listen to this episode of the podcast right here 👇👇👇
We’ll explore the following in this episode:
- Definition of what a factory audit is and explaining the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party audits.
- How they’re structured and the checklist used by auditors.
- Explaining what a ‘Quality System’ is and why it’s important to audit it.
- How auditors approach going into a potential supplier and auditing them.
- My 8 key checkpoints to focus on in a factory quality audit and include in the auditor’s checklist:
1) Checking the lab/testing equipment. Can they test products adequately? Do they take good care of that equipment (maintenance and cleanliness, calibration, work instructions…)?
2) Components & material storage. Is it safe, clean, appropriate, etc?
3) Identification of problems, such as NG items or defects. Do they have a system to deal with this and avoid shipping ‘bad’ goods to customers?
4) Looking at whether the factory approved its key issues in the recent past. If the supplier won’t discuss this, they may lack transparency and openness.
5) Operator training and work instructions. How is this managed?
6) The manufacturing process. Can the supplier explain it and show which steps are critical in a transparent way? What have they done to minimize risks that defects appear?
7) Mistake-proofing, equipment maintenance, and other preventive measures. Have they implemented any and have a plan?
8) Pilot runs. Is this a habit for them, especially when helping to develop and produce brand new products? Do they even accept to do it in the production workshop?
- How to prevent resistance to professional auditors going to a supplier’s facility.
- Do factory audits have any blind spots?
“I want to learn more about quality systems and the factory quality audit checklist!”
You can explore quality systems and checklist in more detail in these blog posts:
- Quality system: a checklist for factory auditors
- The Sad State of Quality Systems in Most Chinese Factories
- Quality System Audits vs. Process-Specific Audits
These resources should keep you going and help you understand what your auditor is actually doing.
Subscribe to the podcast
There are more episodes to come, so remember to subscribe! You can do so in your favorite podcast apps here:
- Apple Podcasts
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- The podcast’s website at China Manufacturing Decoded
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