8 steps to successful quality control in Asian countries
Given our experience in the import quality control services sector in Asian countries, we want to share some useful tips to understand how quality control works in Asia and how to optimize purchasing processes in these countries.
Next, we present them to you:
1 . Have a factory audit
Quality control is essential, even before signing a contract with a supplier. When we do business, we don’t want to pay a factory to find out later that it can’t meet our needs. With so many providers available online, it’s hard to know which ones are legitimate, which ones are more promising, and which ones are potential partners. Therefore, it is essential to carry out the necessary diligence: sending a third-party QA representative to assess the conditions of the factory before committing yourself greatly reduces the risk of being scammed.
A factory audit is an in-depth pre-production assessment of not only the factory’s ability to meet ISO 9001 (quality management systems), but also the factory and personnel records, conditions of manufacture of equipment and facilities.
2 . Transparency with the supplier when establishing quality control
Many buyers are not usually in favor of sending a qualified inspector to the factory to check their suppliers for fear of any kind of incident. To mitigate this, your supplier needs to be informed up front that on-site inspections will be performed on all production. In this way, you show sincerity and dependability from the beginning.
As for the exact time for the visit of the inspector or auditors, it is advisable to schedule the inspection with the supplier and avoid surprise visits.
3 . Quality control scheduling
Regardless of the demands of your production schedule, regular visits to the factory by a quality control professional throughout the entire process are essential to avoid product defects and potential complications.
4. Importance of AQL (acceptable quality limit)
It is your responsibility to define “how many defects is too many”. This is done by selecting the AQL (acceptable quality level) and your size. International sampling standards (ISO 2859, ANSI / ASQC Z1.4, BS 6001, DIN 40080) define how the inspector should perform production sampling. The total quantity determines how many parts must be selected and how many defects are allowed to pass an inspection.
Understanding how sampling and AQL works is essential for you to be able to correctly establish the level of tolerance you want for your inspection.
5 . Clear written design specifications
Never leave design decisions to the factory or leave room for interpretation. You must be as specific and concrete as possible, do not pretend that the factory knows what you are thinking. Delivering detailed product design and specifications to the factory and relying on a professional quality control specialist will ensure that your design specifications are clearly understood.
6. Reference samples
Don’t waste your time with a generic reference sample from a potential vendor. Before starting actual production, request at least three reference samples of your current product. Once you confirm them, sign all three. Keep one for yourself, send one to the factory for them to use as a guide during manufacturing, and the last one, seal it and send it to the factory to be opened by the inspector during quality inspection. So you can compare it with the final manufactured goods.
7. Lab tests
In almost all developed countries, including the United States, Europe, and Australia, the importer is considered the manufacturer and has all civil and criminal liability for the product he sells. Simply put, when you import a product, it is as if you made it yourself.
Laboratory samples will help you confirm that your products are suitable for use and consumption. Let your inspector randomly select samples from your actual production lot during an inspection and send them to the lab. In this way, you will know that the product you are going to import does not contain dangerous chemicals and will comply with all import regulations
8. Supplier payment guarantee with quality control
Before accepting the payment terms in the contract, ask yourself this question: What happens if I receive my product after having paid and it cannot be sold? This situation can be avoided by having the payment coincide with the approval of the final inspection. This is done by issuing a letter of credit to the factory, with a payment linked to an inspection certificate.
A letter of credit is a promise to pay and can be issued by your bank. At your home, it guarantees that your bank will only release the payment after an inspection authorized by a third-party quality control provider.
At EsAsia we take all these issues very seriously. That is why we do our best to streamline purchasing processes and controls in Asian countries.
Our clients are our priority.