by Renaud Anjoran
This is the second part in the series about the management of QC inspectors in China. I am looking at two very important parts of the preparation.
Here are a few issues that I often see:
If we take a step back, these shortcomings impact production quality in the first place, since the supplier also needs to know all this. Which means… an inspection is even more necessary! Unfortunately, the inspection can’t take place in good conditions if the preparation was overlooked.
In the next paragraphs I will explain what information the supplier and the inspector need to know.
Without a list of checkpoints to follow, an inspector has to rely too much on his/her memory and tends to lack a proper structure to follow.
But a list is not sufficient. “Check carton weight” is not detailed enough. Instead, a checkpoint should look like the example below:
Similarly, making a list of potential defects without assigning a severity (critical / major / minor) to each of them leaves too much subjectivity to inspectors. At a minimum, you should prepare a list on this format:
The best practice is to integrate the checklist into the reporting form. This way, the inspector has to fill out his form and follow the checklist at the same time. Here is a very simple example:
Once a checklist is in place, you need to define:
Nothing is more frustrating than an inspector who went to the factory but can’t check a very important criterion because he lacks the proper equipment. You need to ensure all the equipment will be available.
You also cannot take decisions based on unreliable data. The gauges, callipers, and other checking/testing equipment need to be calibrated at appropriate intervals. Either someone in your office does it (based on a master standard that is very precise and accurate) or you work with a testing lab — it doesn’t matter much.
This creates an obvious problem: how to be sure about the factory’s equipment? You might have to brief your inspectors to do some very simple tests first. For example, when a digital scale from the factory needs to be used, does it indicate “0 gram” when it starts? And does it indicate 25g for a pen that weight just this much?
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Managing QC Inspectors:
Part 1 - Manging QC Inspectors
Part 2 - Checklist and Equipment
Part 3 - Training, Coaching and Auditing
Part 4 - Evaluating Their Performance
Part 5 - Avoiding Bribery
Part 6 - Planning the Inspections
Part 7 - The Quality Manager in China
Part 8 - QC vs. QA