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Quality Issues and Concerns in China
Many businesses new to operating in China, worry about quality issues in manufacturing their products there. Some of these worries may be for just cause, while are others based upon unfounded rumor and hearsay. If you are acquiring a product from a local Chinese supplier, you have more reason for concern than if you set up your own manufacturing or assembly site. But China has a large infrastructure of part and component manufacturing. They have a complete array of quality production, from very poor to excellent companies following the highest quality manufacturing processes. The best firms are no strangers to MRP, Class A manufacturing and ISO registration. In searching for quality part and component manufacturing you must examine their sites and processes, and do due diligence in verifying the prospective supplier meets the quality standard of your products.
In setting up your own business, you have control over the quality and the key ingredients that allow for a quality output. You will most likely need to bring to and teach the quality image and processes you want to instill into your operations.
Those key ingredients to a quality output include:
ISO, which stands for International Standards Organization, is not a foreign term in the PRC. Rather, a sizable number of suppliers in China are ISO9000 certified and more are working towards certification. China has it's own organization which participates in ISO. It actually has its own form of these standards. If you have ever participated in the certification process, you know it is very involved and demanding. It also requires an extensive effort with dedication and support on the part of both management and the employees.
The people in China have the potential to be just as capable workers as anywhere in the world. And in the world of repetitive manufacturing, maybe even better than others.
A major key to successful quality manufacturing or assembly is to train the workforce. Quality will only be as good as the training you provide and the importance you place on this issue. This training should comprise the process steps for each worker and also an investment in quality training. Process and equipment can only go so far. Adequate quality training completes the equation. The workforce will likely be young and most likely has never come across the quality issue before. Your training programs should tailor instruction to provide start to finish training on the subject. The language barrier could be an issue. Even if the workforce know a little English or is studying it, consider having the courses taught in Mandarin. Or train the trainer to speak slowly, with simple words where possible.
Once through training is complete, you will have a workforce that produces quality products at the same level of performance as all of your other factories in the world.
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