It is easy to find a Chinese supplier of products in today’s world. There are websites that offer products from China. However, the caveat is that these products could be of a low quality. However, buyers can reduce their risk significantly by employing the services of someone, who can check the quality control of the Chinese manufacturers.
You should not consider an audit of a factory as a substitute for a social compliance audit. A social compliance audit will include a thorough audit of wage records, employee attendance, age verification, and interviews. However, factory reviews would touch upon certain basic principles of social compliance. During a factory audit, on the other hand, the documents relevant to recruitment and HR will be reviewed. These documents should contain strict rules regarding the prohibition of child labor as well as forced labor. In case these clauses are lacking, it could result in serious social compliance issues, which could serve as a red flag for buyers all around the world.
Your supplier may have an easily understandable quality control clause on paper, but it takes trained eyes to establish whether the clauses are being implemented or not. Find out using indicators whether the clauses have been implemented or not. Some indicators are as follows: separate areas in the warehouses for non-conforming products, an independent quality team that has been designated by the supplier, whether there are good visual aids for the employees being used during production, etc.
Even though it may sound counter intuitive, an auditor should be able to find the defects in the manufacturing process with ease. If the products and the materials have not been labeled and separated in a meaningful way, you can safely bet that the products have not been checked for quality at all. A factory may have assigned a quality control team. However, if they directly report to the production manager, then there might be a clear conflict of interests. A lack of reference samples, a high employee turnover rate, etc. can go to show that the person manufacturing your products has never actually seen a finished item! In such conditions, an audit of the factory can help to determine whether these risk factors exist or not.
The Supply Chain
When the company uses subcontractors, it can put off the buyers, who need an assurance that the products are being manufactured as per the company’s standards. Subcontracting also raises questions about whether the company is reliable and as to whether they are really manufacturing quality products. Manufacturers will not be able to directly influence the quality control regulations of the subcontractor. Moreover, your delivery schedules will suffer when you face delay from the subcontractors of your suppliers. It is, therefore, important to get a factory audit done through a professional. Trust your third party auditor to get you reports on the company in China, who supplies you the goods necessary for you to manufacture your products. The person will also be able to gauge your supplier’s overall attitude toward his factory.