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THE SOURCE CODE BLOG
No quality inspection process will catch 100 percent of the problems 100 percent of the time. At the absolute minimum your process should detect 93 percent of the issues which is equivalent to a 3 sigma operational level. However I wouldn’t recommend you stay complacent with a 3 sigma rating for too long, or you’ll probably notice a rapid decrease in your customer base.
China can be a great option for organizations looking to private label products, have new products manufactured or reduce product and supply chain costs. However it’s not for everyone. For as many companies who have benefited from going overseas there’s a list twice as long of companies who have not.
The specific reasons why some are successful and others aren’t, isn’t important for this piece. Instead, the aspects which matter today are the decisions concerning should an organization directly purchase from a China manufacture or not?
Since China’s economic liberation began in the 70’s, China’s investment and export led economy has become the fastest growing economy in the world. However, even after some 40 years of conducting international business there are still many myths and misconceptions about importing products from the worlds number 1 goods producer.
Whether it’s, baby milk treated with melamine, toys sprayed with lead paint, asbestos in car parts or countless other smaller examples where suppliers provide unusable products to their customers. The common factor remains the same. Chinese factories who supply faulty goods perpetuate the poorly made in China label.
Recently, Chinese car manufacturers, Great Wall and Chery, had to recall thousands of their vehicles exported to Australia. The recall was necessary because their vehicle engine gaskets and brake linings contained asbestos.
A few months ago I wrote about the possibility of lean manufacturing becoming a mainstay in Chinese production. And while it might take some time before this process is fully implemented in a wide spread fashion. The principles of determining which steps add value and which do not can be applied, reviewed and revised by any organization with a distribution, conversion or manufacturing procedure.
Assessing potential Chinese suppliers can be difficult. However it’s downright impossible to do it from the comforts of your office. The only true way to get a full sense of a manufacturer’s capability is to visit their facility. Even then be cautious, because factory tours can be scripted and response to questions rehearsed, providing the answers they think you want to hear.
As word continues to trickle through from China’s slowing manufacturing sector, most Americans begin to celebrate this must mean US manufacturing is picking up the void.
Not so fast.
Used and foreign sourced products are natural competitors in most markets both fighting for your price selective dollar. The surface comparison is relatively simple in that one will consider age, quality, brand, and of course price. In the industrial products market however, the comparison is not as simple and becomes dependent on the purpose of the product. For example, conveyor belting must meet highly scrutinized product specifications as determined by the industry or application.