When working with an outside factory, especially overseas, it can be difficult to ensure that the products supplied by the manufacturer are up to your standards. An effective quality control program can help you prevent negative consumer reviews and protect your reputation.
We’ve been partnering with QIMA for some time now, and would like to share them with you as our preferred quality control and compliance services partner.
QIMA offers professional third-party Product Inspections, Lab Testing and Supplier Audits to help you ensure that your products conform to your own specifications and to the regulations of your destination market.
Here’s why thought QIMA could bring value to your supply chain:
- Fast and global: QIMA operates in 85 countries and guarantees an inspector at your chosen factory within 48 hours
- Same-day reports: you get a detailed report with photographs on the same day as the inspection, and can accept or reject the shipment with one button
- Transparent pricing: the quote you get for your inspection, test or audit is the full price you will pay, without any hidden fees or surcharges
- 100% independent: QIMA is not affiliated with your suppliers, and their reports let you see exactly what their inspectors see
- Easy booking: QIMA services can be booked online or via a mobile app with a few clicks Dedicated support and advice: whatever the issue, you can get help 24/7 via online chat and email
Use the link below to book with QIMA and gain a new level of confident in your supply chains and the quality of your products.
INDUSTRY COVERED BY QIMA (click to get the best price)
Root cause analysis & quality control
There are many Root Cause Analysis (RCA) methods. I want to introduce you to two methods so that when the supplier has quality issues you know where to begin to ask questions.
Method #1: Five whys
The 5 Whys method is a very simple yet effective problem solving technique. It was developed and fine-tuned within the Toyota Motor Corporation.
To illustrate how the 5 Whys method works, take a look at below example:
You Car Doesn’t Start (The Problem):
1. Why? – The battery is dead.
2. Why? – The alternator is not functioning.
3. Why? – The alternator belt has broken.
4. Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced.
5. Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule.
➢ When you have a quality issue for your product, you can use 5 Whys method to start to drill and peel each layer of the causes. Since you don’t know how the product is produced, the supplier needs to answer your WHYs and help you find the root cause.
➢ Normally after asking 5 WHYs, you will find the root cause. Sometimes it takes multiple tries of 5 WHYs to get the root cause because if the answer varies, the root cause path will vary.
o Use a problem you are having at home as an example, practice the 5 Whys.
Method # 2: Fish bone diagram
- A fishbone diagram is a visual way to look at cause and effect. It is a more structured approach. The problem or effect is displayed at the head of the fish.
An Example Fish Bone Chart:
In the above example, there 6 categories of root causes: 4If you have read the writing on HOW TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE CHINESE SUPPLIERS, you have learned the 5Ms Factors. Sometimes people separate Method from the Measurement, such as in the example above. It is more or less the same concept.
Use a private labeled product as an example, when there is a defect, you can
1. Is this problem likely caused by Man/People?
2. Is this problem likely caused by Machine?
3. Is this problem likely caused by Material?
4. Is this problem likely caused by Method /Measurement? 5. Is this problem likely caused by Environment?
- ISSUES FROM MACHINE
- What CONTROLS you can put in place to prevent the “bad” things from happening?
After you have asked the 5Ms questions, you should begin thinking about what CONTROL you can put in place. You might argue that you are not in any control of what the supplier does. Sometimes you don’t but we you could TRY to prevent bad things from happening and try to minimize the cost of the impact.
Example, the supplier machine has broken down. Order is delayed.
Question to ask first: do they have a backup machine? If Answer is “No”.
1) Immediately ask the supplier to put your order in front of others because they are very likely running into a backlog situation.
2) If you have a penalty clause on your PO for late delivery (Sourcing Warrior’s PO template) the supplier very run your order first because otherwise they have to pay the late fee.
3) Perform 100% inspection on this lot or increase inspection sample size because this lot could potentially have a lot of defects due to the machine breakdown.
4) Find a backup supplier. This happened once, it could happen again. You cannot be hostaged by a supplier who has only one machine that breaks down often. Do this homework for long term business protection. o ISSUES FROM LOW QUALITY MATERIAL
Question to ask first: do you have a detailed material specification?
1) It is on you to have all critical materials specified in detail. Example, for a simple bag product, the specifications for fabric material, stitching
6pattern, zipper quality… all need to be spelt out. Reference Sourcing Warrior’s Inspection Check List to create your own product spec.
2) You cannot stop the supplier from cheating. But you can stop the shipment from leaving China. It is on you to inspect the product before final payment. You have to have a detailed specification first in order for the inspector to catch any quality variations to your specifications.
- ISSUES FROM MEN: WORKERS
This problem happens often after each Chinese New Year because workers from the inland cities don’t return to work on time or dont return at all to the factory.1) Pay extra attention to the batch produced before the holiday: they were rushing to get the order out.2) Pay extra attention to the batch produced after the Chinese New Year: new workers might be introduced to the shift.3) Get a new set of the samples from both batches.4) Extra inspection before shipping, either 100% or increase sample size.
- ISSUES FROM PRODUCTION: METHOD
Example, one area of your product is often out of spec/tolerance.
1) Ask the supplier if they can make a fixture, a jig, a documented SOP… to produce the product consistently to specification.
2) Final inspection, increase the sampling QTY to check that specific area.
– ISSUSES FROM: ENVIRONMENT
Example, it rained in the supplier city. A color pigment is contaminated in the supplier warehouse. Your pure white product all of sudden has dark spots. 7
1) It is hard to put a control in place for this kind of problem. Your supplier can, patch the leaked area; inspect the raw material before production.
2) Performing final Inspection is all your can do to catch these unexpected quality issues.
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS?
DON’T EVER SKIP THE FINAL INSPECITON. EVEN IF THIS IS YOUR 10>TH TIME ORDERING THE SAME PRODUCT FROM THE SAME SUPPLIER.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN AND IF THEY HAVE CHANGED ANY OF THE 5MS FACTORS.