There’s a ton of negative stereotypes surrounding products that are “made in China”. That makes people rather skeptical about purchasing these products. As a business owner, you should ensure that all products imported from China for your business are properly audited for quality assurance, otherwise, you run the risk of losing your customers.
Why do you need a suppliers’ audit before purchasing products for your business?
For starters, when you can assure your customers of the quality of your products and have it be the truth, it makes you more reliable, thus increasing the trust your customers have in you.
Also, this can help you discover bad suppliers or bad batches of the product before spending a lot of money on them. Auditing several suppliers can also help a business figure out whose products have the highest standards for future business.
Suppliers Audit versus Quality Inspection
A factory audit or a supplier audit is the on-site verification and confirmation of the standards or quality system a supplier has in place to ensure they comply with the recommended standards. Unlike this factory audit that focuses on the evaluation of the suppliers’ production process and other internal process control, a factory inspection focuses on the actual products.
Suppliers audit span a vast array of processes. Sometimes, it can get a bit confusing, but not to worry, we’ve got the 411 on all things suppliers’ audit in China.
Below are the major processes involved
1. Pre-audit research
Audits are typically carried out on-site by the auditing team. A suppliers’ audit must have a guideline or standard to be held against. Before going to the site, the audit team must go through these guidelines so they know when the supplier is in violation of any of them or when their methods are not up to standard.
2. External research
More than just the internal guidelines provided by the supplier per the business’s needs, external pre-audit research is necessary. Here, the audit team tries to find out whether or not the suppliers are conforming to the regulations laid down by the appropriate authorities such as the US Food and Drug Administration’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations.
This can also involve checking out the suppliers’ online presence, and if possible, testimonials from other businesses about them .
3. Internal audits
After the pre-auditing steps have been taken and the external audits have been carried out, it’s time for the auditing team to dive into the actual business of evaluating the suppliers’ internal processes.
A good supplier or manufacturer should have an internal quality control team in place to check their work as they go. This will make it easier for the external audit team since everything would already be organized and the entire process would be more streamlined.
The audit team will likely carry out their investigation and compare it to documents or guidelines gotten during the pre-audits and external audits.
4. Environmental audit
With the imminent danger of climate change and global warming, most people are trying to help save the planet. Consumers now actively search for products that were created without harming the environment. It falls on businesses to ensure the products they sell follow these standards, thus, creating the need to audit the manufacturing environment.
There is a real problem with manufacturers who do not follow these standards in China. As of 2016, over 80,000 facilities were charged with criminal offenses due to non-compliance with environmental laws as part of the Environment Inspection Scheme .
A good audit team should check the suppliers’ resource use, pollution prevention strategies, environmental policies, and more as part of the auditing process.
5. Social compliance audit
This is mostly about ethics. Another example of the common stereotypes is the sad tale of how Chinese factories do not provide safe working conditions for their workers. This has led to the need for this type of audit.
However, the audit team must confirm that the suppliers’ working conditions comply with the International Labor Standards. This ensures the importing business does not have to deal with the risk and potential backlash that could come from associating with non-compliant suppliers.
6. Materials audit
This somewhat overlaps with the environmental audits. The same concern for the environment is valid here because some suppliers might use dangerous or illegal materials to create products that may be potentially harmful to consumers.
Before the finished products are inspected and validated by the quality inspection team, the suppliers’ auditing team takes a look at the materials used by the supplier . At this point, a factory audit is an excellent way to avoid pumping money into substandard products made with harmful materials.
Extra parameters to be assessed by the audit team
More than the processes mentioned above, a standard audit team should provide sufficient and satisfactory answers or results for the following parameters:
- The complete profile of the factory
- Human resource structure
- Trade capacity
- Production details
How to audit a supply company in China
The only thing worse than a shady foreign supplier is a shady auditing team. It’s a waste of your time and resources if they do a poor job of auditing your potential supplier. To prevent this horrible fate, we recommend you employ the services of Jonble.
At Jonble, we are dedicated to ensuring you get the most accurate and detailed audit reports on a supplier. With our company located in China, we will send out our highly trained professionals to visit the factory and provide you with a detailed report of their general production structure and standards.
We will use the necessary parameters mentioned above as well as the proper processes to ensure you get the best possible assessment, so you can make an informed decision.
A suppliers’ audit is invaluable in ensuring that a business complies with all the relevant standards required of them. To avoid the poor assumptions often attached to China-made products, all business owners importing products from China must ensure the necessary factory auditing processes are put in place.
On that note, all pre-audit, external audit, internal audit, environmental audit, social audit, as well as auditing of materials should be carried out for the good of both the business and the customers.
- 5 Tips for Sourcing Products from China Successfully. Jonble. https://www.jonble.com/blog/sourcing-products-from-china/. Accessed 09-10-2020.
- China Shuts Down Tens of Thousands of Factories In Unprecedented Pollution Crackdown. Rob Schmitz. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/10/23/559009961/china-shuts-down-tens-of-thousands-of-factories-in-unprecendented-pollution-crack. Accessed 09-10-2020.
- 5 Different Types of Audits to Evaluate Your Supplier. Maegan Burkhart. InTouch Quality. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.intouch-quality.com/blog/the-3-most-common-types-of-factory-audits%3fhs_amp=true. Accessed 09-10-2020.
- International Labour Standards. https://www.ioe-emp.org/policy-priorities/international-labour-standards. Accessed 09-10-2020.
Factory Audit Service in China. Jonble. https://www.jonble.com/factory-audit/. Accessed 09-10-2020.