What a year 2020 has been. Little did we know when we published the top posts and videos of 2019 that we’d soon be headed into almost completely unprecedented times in living memory with the global coronavirus pandemic raging and the US/China trade war not letting up!
I’ve been here throughout sharing posts live from China, and here are 10 top posts and a selection of videos that you may have missed.
2020 was a busy year for QualityInspection.org as we:
- Published another 112 posts to add to our total of over 1,100 totally free posts (up from 85 in 2019!).
- Sent out over 100 email newsletters to our subscribers. You can subscribe here, too.
- Published the Importer’s Guide to New Product Manufacturing in China.
- Teamed up with Sofeast to create the podcast, ‘China Manufacturing Decoded.’ Listen to the episodes here.
- Continued to grow our LinkedIn page (have you followed us there yet?)
- Kept adding to the QualityInspection.org YouTube channel which has lots of videos filled with tips to help you improve or understand certain topics better!
- Was interviewed by numerous high-profile media outlets, including the WSJ, New Yorker, South China Morning Post, New York Times, Bloomberg, and more.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this year and please know that this is a team effort. Contact me and let me know what you’d like me to write about in 2021 – this could be anything from the world of manufacturing, with a focus on China, Vietnam, India, QC, sourcing, supply chain management, and more.
Our 10 top manufacturing articles of 2020
OK, it’s time to dive into our 10 top articles from this year (the most popular with our readers in ascending order of views):
10. Incubator VS Accelerator VS Go It Alone: The Startup’s Conundrum
If you are a startup at a very early stage with growing your business and getting products to market, you have a few choices in order to get on the right path. Do you go with Startup Incubator VS Accelerator, or dispense with them and just go it alone?
In this post, we outline the three options, their pros & cons, and who may benefit from each method when it comes to hardware startups trying to get a new product developed and to market.
Read it here.
9. How To Fill Out an 8D Report and Fix a Problem in a Factory
Filling out an 8D report means following a highly-structured approach to understanding, addressing, and (in the future) avoiding a problem. It is particularly effective for issues that are important and relatively complex.
Why is the 8D getting such wide adoption?
Because it is very structured and pushes people to be very specific
Because it consists of filling out a report that is highly standardized (no thinking required about the way to organize and format the findings)
Read this post by clicking here.
8. The 5 Levels of Quality Standards: From Worst to Best Practices
Setting clear quality standards for each type of product you purchase in Asia is a basic need. Like in “to keep living, breathing is a basic need”.
Despite this, very few companies that have production in China or Vietnam take the time to do it right. And, as a result, they have to suffer quality issues, misunderstandings, and the breakdown of trust with their suppliers.
Let’s go through the 5 levels of quality standards, from most basic to most advanced, starting with ‘the golden sample.’
Read it here.
7. Manufacturing in China can be risky! 10 Examples of China IP Theft
Depending on your product, it may make a lot of sense to manufacture in China (for example, for complex products that need to be developed fast). But the risks of China IP theft haven’t gone away. I wanted to share a few examples here.
Many of the following examples came from our own readers. No identifying information is provided, but their stories should really resonate with the risk-averse importer as you will see the importance of protecting your IP adequately with China-enforceable contracts and also performing due diligence on potential suppliers.
Click here to read the post.
6. Requirements To Import PPE: You Need To Go Beyond Certificates
This is the first of our coronavirus-related blog posts in the list of our most-read posts this year. Understandably, this topic was of key interest to many readers, especially around the start of the pandemic at the start of the year and in Spring.
This post is still relevant now, and I ask the question: “as you buy products that are actually intended to save lives, should you throw all proper due diligence out of the window?” The answer, of course, is no and I’ll show you why and what you can do to protect yourself and consumers if importing PPE in this post.
5. What Is the APQP? (Advanced Product Quality Planning Process)
The APQP, or Advanced Product Quality Planning, is a proven approach for developing a new product to be made in high volume and under strict quality, timing, and cost requirements that was developed in the automotive industry.
In this post, I’ll show you what activities and milestones make up the APQP so you can see how it works before you start to implement it to improve your own design and development process.
4. What is the Bill of Materials and why is it important?
When a new product is developed, two sets of documents are very important: On the technical side the design deliverables (component drawings, PCB schematic…) and on the supply chain side the Bill of Materials (BOM). Let’s look at the BOM and its importance here.
You may also enjoy listening to our podcast episode about why the BOM is such a key document, too.
3. Advantages of Bioplastics vs. Disadvantages: Memo for Product Designers
As product designers look for more sustainable options to please increasingly environmentally savvy consumers, they are often looking at the advantages of bioplastics, such as lower production CO2 emissions, sustainable raw materials, biodegradability in many cases, and more…
Now, let’s say you are designing a new product or wondering how the materials of an existing product can be substituted. Are you ready to consider the use of a material that is not made out of oil? You need to be aware of the pros and cons, before heading down the road to sourcing, quoting, and prototyping. Let’s explore the pros & cons of bioplastics here.
2. Advice for Buying Face Masks in China without Losing your Shirt
As the world clamoured for PPE in March 2020, this particular post resonated with everyone, as in it I outlined some advice to take advantage of to buy face masks from China without being ripped off. Again, this is still relevant today, even though supplies are more bountiful now.
To understand your risks and also to improve your odds of getting what you want, if you are determined to pursue your project, read here.
1. List of Contract Manufacturers in China – Top 13 Factories
Many readers are looking for contract manufacturers to work with, and this is no surprise given the potential risks of working with an ODM (or OEM). So, we did the research and listed some of the best options in South China, as well as explaining the benefits of working with a CM.
Despite the US-China trade war and the coronavirus epidemic, China’s economy, including the manufacturing industry, is getting back to work (as of March 2020), so if you have a new manufacturing project for a relatively complex product that needs to be launched and are looking for a contract manufacturer, who are some of the leading options in South China, the world’s leading electronics manufacturing hub?
In no particular order, here are the contract manufacturers that you might like to consider.
Bonus: When Should American Companies Reshore Manufacturing Or Stay In China?
This post was also popular, although more specific to American companies who are considering moving manufacturing away from China.
In recent times it’s very common to see stories about American companies scrambling to reshore manufacturing and leave China and the data seems to support this trend of reshoring or finding other locations. However, I suspect the American companies that moved to China for the wrong reasons originally are mainly the ones who are now reshoring back in the US.
Is this the case, though? Let’s explore this here.
Top Videos from 2020
Here are a few videos that viewers particularly enjoyed this year:
How to complete an 8D report? [8D template walkthrough] (4,800+ views)
APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning) Process Explained (2,200+ views)
What Is A Quality Inspection? (1,700+ views)
See you in 2021!
It’s been a tough year and I’m very thankful to everyone who read, contributed to, or shared any content from QualityInspection.org in 2020 and hope that you continue to do so in 2021! Thanks for supporting me as I share my knowledge about manufacturing, supply chains, sourcing, QC, and more, to assist importers to, I hope, improve their own results.
Best wishes and a Happy New Year! 🎉