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Auditing assembly and packing operations in China

by Renaud Anjoran

Most export manufacturers in China only do the assembly and the packing in house. They purchase the components and materials from other suppliers who take care of all the machining and other heavy processing.

What is assembly?

The subject of ‘product assembly’ is a complex one with many different methods and techniques required for different products.

Basically, “assembly” means “several parts/accessories are put together”. It is the last step before packing in the production of many goods, from lighting products to car parts and from furniture to electronics.

We try to provide the client with information about the factory’s efficiency, but also about the level of poor quality risk. An assembly process without work instructions and training for operators, and without mistake-proofing devices to avoid human mistakes, is certain to produce a high number of defects.

How about packing?

“Packing” includes the unit packing (which may be the retail packing), the export packing, and all the labelling requirements.

Virtually all consumer goods, and a good part of industrial products, necessitate packing before they are shipped out of the factory.

In general, if a product is made in China it needs to get from China to the point of sale and in many cases, products are packaged for either sea freight or air freight. When the product gets to the destination country however, products are generally transported by road or rail to the final destination. So packaging needs to cater for all transport modes as well as handling at different stages of the logistics process. 

How an assembly & packing process can be checked

Our engineers provide a detailed report covering the following attributes:

  • Assembly Plan and Planning
  • Inventory
  • Automation
  • Methodology
  • Test equipment
  • Ergonomics
  • Error Free Assembly Techniques
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Work Instructions
  • Staff Skill Levels
  • Customer Packing Specifications
  • Labelling
  • Housekeeping (H&S)
  • Quality Control

Each report includes photos of the factory and the process, comments and findings from the auditor as well as any corrective actions that may be required for improving in a particular area. Ultimately the factory is given a rating which will indicate how the factory performed against the checklist.

What else would you suggest checking?


Renaud Anjoran has been managing his quality assurance agency (Sofeast Ltd) since 2006. In addition, a passion for improving the way people work has pushed him to launch a consultancy to improve factories and a web application to manage the purchasing process. He writes advice for importers on qualityinspection.org.

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