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QUALITYFOCUS
the final shipment inspection. From the trenches: A story of quality gone wrong
Verify your drawings are cor-
rect, Physically audit your sup- Case: In order to stay price competitive in their ity to easily handle the company’s quantities
pliers, Be active in monitoring market, a $40 million a year manufacturer of but since the company’s order quantities and
the production process, Never high end commercial vacuum cleaners moves frequency were well below the level of other
assume, especially in the early production to China. client’s of the supplier, they found themselves
stages of developing a supplier, Supplier selection: They started by locating kicking and screaming to get attention paid to
everyone is on the same page and a supplier very active in the manufacturing of the developing problems.
you can go a long way to not only household vacuums. The supplier provided Quality gap: The supplier was familiar with US
developing a good relationship very competitive pricing, the ability companies and US standards but they
with the supplier but also saving to handle large volumes and a his- only traditionally dealt with low to mid
money in quality costs. tory of dealing with US clients. On end product. The supplier’s man-
the surface this was an excellent agement and processes were not
choice. With samples that met at the level to consistently make a
specs the supplier was chosen and product at the quality level required
Nick Herbert works in Business De-
tooling and full production started. by the client.
velopment & Project Management at
However, with over USD 2 million of prod- The result: The end result of not per-
USActive Manufacturing, assisting
manufacturers (SMEs & MNCs) with
uct on order, production ran into problems. forming through audits or exploring alternative
sourcing, QA/QC,
Inferior parts: The competitive pricing led to options was that the client not only needed
facility set-up, im- the supplier cutting costs on outsourced parts. to invest in having one of their engineers full
port & export, and
Parts used for the assemblies were good time in China to assist with monitoring produc-
local distribution in
enough for standard home use vacuums but tion but also had to invest additional funds to
China. He can be
reached at: Nicho-
not nearly of the quality required for the clients’ outsource incoming, in-process, and outgoing
las_Herbert@us-
high end product. quality control (IQC, IPQC, & OQC) to a 3rd
active.com. Insufficient volume: The supplier had the capac- party provider.
www.chainaonline.com JULY/AUGUST 2009 57
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