Before you source your product from China it is obvious that you will carry on a China Factory audit. It will ensure that you are ordering at the right place. However, if you are inexperienced then you may do some blunders. Most of the time you appoint a third party inspector to carry on the audit, however if you are doing it itself, then be aware of the following.
Taking documents at face value
When backing their claims most suppliers will show you different documents. That is fine but going only by the documents may mislead you. Every document that is placed in front of you should be backed by certain other facts. You should not rely on the papers itself. Rather lookout for different other things. Make sure that it’s not Photoshop that is doing the magic. Try to get the real thing.
Forgetting about the warehouse
While conducting the China factory audit most of the time you will visit the factory and see the staff working there. You do not go beyond that, but you should. Check out the factory warehouse and you will get the real picture. You will get insight about what orders are now in place and how the factory is dealing with it. Moreover, from the warehouse you can understand the real condition of the factory. You can also find out that how the products are kept and managed before and after production.
Focusing on Quality over Quantity
It is obvious that the main thing that you will be checking is the quality of the products that are to be delivered, but do not ignore quantity too. There are different metrics like QA, QC and QI to find out the quality but is the factory able to produce the volume you are looking for?
While auditing just make out if the factory is able to produce whatever it is claiming. In case they can’t then they will not able to provide you the products at the right time. Thus, both quality and quantity are important.
Assuming you’re actually at the Right Factory
Does it seem weird? But the truth is that in China sometimes you may be shown a factory that has nothing to do with your production! The supplier may show you a factory that is in much better condition that theirs. The problem is that you will be doing a false audit then. Thus, make sure that you are at the right factory.
For this you can ask someone who knows local language to visit the factory and ask questions. You can also compare the name and Logo that has been shared with you. You may not understand Chinese writing, but the logo should be same. All in all you should make sure that you are auditing at the right premises.
While you are there for auditing the factory, be professional. You need not be very social, at least while you are auditing. Just do not spend time on seeing what you are shown. Try to find out things from what is not shown to you and you will get the right picture.