Quality Assurance and Quality Control Are Necessary in China

Competitive pricing, an array of capabilities and a constantly evolving infrastructure make China a prime location for product sourcing. Global businesses are attracted to these factors and partner with Chinese suppliers. However, to navigate the complexities of overseas production, especially regarding the quality of the final product is a matter of concern.  To ensure the quality of products sourced from China, you will need proactive and reactive approaches: Quality Assurance [QA] and Quality Control [QC]. Although these two concepts sound similar, but are distinct processes, which you need to understand and add into your quality management system.

Quality Assurance

QA acts as a preventative shield in quality management. The focus is on establishing a robust system that minimizes the possibility of issues arising throughout the production cycles. It starts with choosing reliable suppliers. A thorough vetting process is implemented. It includes verifying the supplier’s reputation, track record, certification, and production capabilities. Evaluating their quality management system and infrastructure gives valuable insights into their commitment to quality. It is also crucial to define precise specifications for your product. This will include detailed drawings, material requirements and performance standards. Effective communication with the supplier ensures they understand your expectations. Incoming quality control [IQC] is also an essential tool which involves physical factory audits. You or your brand representative visits the factory to assess the supplier’s capabilities, observe their workmanship and verify their compliance with your specifications.

Quality Control

On the other hand, QC is a reactive counterpart of your quality management system. It is like a security system installed within your home. The focus is on identifying and rectifying the defects in the finished products. Inspections are conducted at different stages of production, starting with pre-production samples. These early checks allow you to identify discrepancies between the prototype and your specifications and prevent them from being replicated throughout the entire production cycle.

During production checks, the inspectors verify that the production process complies with the agreed-upon standards. This ensures consistent quality and catches any potential issues before they manifest. Some factories have their own in-house QC system, but partnering with third-party QC services like Maple Sourcing provides a neutral perspective regarding product quality. The final inspection is conducted before the shipment. Here, the inspectors meticulously examine the finished products for functionality, safety compliance, and adherence to agreed-upon specifications. If they identify any deviations from the agreed-upon standards, corrective actions are discussed with the supplier and implemented under their supervision. Let’s understand the distinction between QA and QC by using an example of a house. To build a high-quality home, you need a strong foundation. It involves choosing the right supplier and defining your specifications clearly [high-quality products]. However, even the strongest foundation cannot prevent every security breach. A robust alarm system [QC inspections] plays a role in this. They identify and address any unforeseen issues.

Why are both QA and QC necessary in China?

QA is the foundation for success. It establishes a framework for consistent quality production by choosing a reliable supplier, outlining clear expectations and conducting factory audits. You significantly reduce the risk of encountering problems later. However, unforeseen issues can pop up during the production phase. This is where QC steps in. By proactively identifying and addressing any problems early, your entire order quality is saved from the impact. Integrating both in your quality management system fosters a collaborative environment with suppliers and ensures a consistent flow of high-quality products. Ultimately, this gives your business a competitive edge in the market.

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