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My factory does the QC – trust the cat to keep the cream?

My factory does the QC for me

“My factory does the QC” is a phrase used by two types of buyers: the most experienced and the least experienced buyers. The FQC (Final Quality Control) at a factory should, indeed, filter almost all defective goods. Most manufacturers in China are ISO 9001 certified and therefore, should have trustworthy quality assurance systems in place, including final quality control. But in the end, then question remains: when can we trust the cat to keep the cream?

Four important questions to ask about factory QC

Trading companies and manufacturers promise one-stop service, from good costs and designs, all the way to organising shipments. Somewhere in between, there’s also quality control. Two important questions remain:

  1. Is the quality control team capable of understanding the buyer’s expectations? Most QC staff at factories, traders and sourcing agents are simple employees, paid a minimum wage. Training can increase capability.
  2. Is the factory QC team interested and encouraged to judge by the buyer’s standards?
    The supplier’s (as well as the agent’s) cost rise when more defects are replaced. Management often pushes the QC team to be more lenient and test the limits of the buyer.
  3. Is the supplier interested in continuing business with the buyer?
    Supposing that the factory QC team performed well, a supplier may be inclined to send defects anyway. The immediate profit made from this particular shipment may outweigh the expected revenue from the (potentially damaged) future business with this particular buyer.
  4. Are the results and findings shared with the buyer?
    Traceability, transparency and accountability are key for good quality control. Good factories readily share statistics and cases of insufficient quality with buyers to gain better understanding and fulfil orders.

If the answer to any of the questions is “no”, then independent quality control by third parties and/or the buyer’s in-house QC team, serve to double check on the Final Quality Control done by the factory.

And you: do you trust your factory to do perfect quality control for you?

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Picture of AQF Quality team, write for Asian Quality Focus

AQF Quality team

We ensure service quality and reliability by improving the performance of our processes. We follow up and train inspectors and supervisors to enhance their skills and meet the latest regulations and standards. In the Quality Control Blog we write about the industry changes and provide solutions for a better Quality Control management in Asia. For more information.

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