How to Maintain Quality Control when you Offshore your Manufacturing

June 18, 2022

You’ve decided to offshore your manufacturing, but you’re worried that you won’t be able to maintain quality control when the manufacturing is happening over 10,000 kilometres from home. There are ways you can maintain control of the quality of your product output and we are here to help you. Here are five ways you can maintain quality control when you offshore your products.

1.  Be present and aware

Offshoring doesn’t mean that you hand off the control of the manufacturing. When you are present and aware of every step in the process, you can help maintain quality control. This means having regular meetings, progress audits and a solid relationship with your suppliers. With the current pandemic situation and closed borders, having someone on the ground is not completely possible, so this needs to be done virtually, but it is still very possible. Over the past few years, we’ve learned to manage these processes virtually/ use our relationships and maintain that positive outcome for our clients.

2. Get confirmations of understanding

Language barriers could get in the way when you work with manufacturers overseas. Many times, manufacturers may feign understanding just to try to keep meetings simple and without frustration. Ensure that the people you are working with truly understand what you need by:

  • Using plain language
  • Using a translator/interpreter if needed
  • Asking for confirmation of understanding
  • Asking them to repeat what you said
  • Using visual methods of communication such as drawings, pictures and diagrams
  • Always being respectful

3. Double-check everything at every stage

While you want to trust your supplier/manufacturer, you want to check the manufacture of your product at every stage. This is especially important for the first lot and before anything ships. If you find a problem after the product has shipped to North America, this could obliterate your entire budget. Use the AQL (acceptable quality limit) scale while sampling your product lots. Based on the sampling data, you can decide if the product meets the standards before it leaves the factory. 

Checks should also be done through the production process and regularly as production goes on, to ensure quality standards don’t slip from your original quality check. This takes everyone in the chain – from the engineers to the assembly workers to your team – to ensure everything is running smoothly.

4. Give feedback immediately

When problems are discovered, it is important that the line is stopped, feedback is given and solutions are found immediately. A product that is in your hands in North America could have been manufactured over a month ago with shipping times factored in. This is why it is very important to do the regular checks and find solutions as soon as possible once issues are discovered.

5. Have a good partner you can trust

Whether you are new to the business or have been around for many years, having partners you trust is the key to success in any manufacturing endeavour. This is especially important when you are offshoring and can’t physically be present for the process. Do your research and choose partners carefully for their skills, expertise and trusted partnerships abroad.

Next Steps

Over the last 40 years, Kingstec has created and solidified relationships with engineers, factory owners, inspectors and others in the manufacturing industry in China. We have people on the ground who we trust to do the checks and make changes. While we don’t have the opportunity to be on the ground ourselves currently in this post-Covid world, we use visual audits over Zoom, third-party inspectors, cameras in the facility and in-depth checking of paperwork to ensure everything is done correctly. All of our partners have been very carefully vetted through a slow and cautious approach and we continue to maintain and develop relationships with our partners. We have high-quality standards and as a product developer, you can benefit from our partnerships in China.

To find out more about offshoring your manufacturing, speak to one of our knowledgeable team members.

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