In practice, many suppliers advertise themselves much better than they actually are. Therefore, only relying on their profiles online to judge whether they can cooperate is not reliable. You need to conduct a factory audit to help you understand the real situation of the factory, so as to make the final decision.
What is a Factory Audit?
Factory audit means going to the factory for on-site inspection. It checks the actual situation of the factory, evaluates factory qualifications, and whether the factory has the ability to complete your order, to minimize risk in your supply chain.
Usually, you can entrust a third-party inspection company or a sourcing company to do a factory audit before placing an order to a factory.
Why Factory Audit is Important?
In most cases, you find suppliers from wholesale websites like Alibaba. They all claim to be very professional, which makes you wonder if it’s true.
In fact, many suppliers are not as good as what they describe themselves. If you only know about this supplier from the Internet and don’t go to see it, you can’t know its real situation. You can’t be 100% sure whether it’s a factory or a trading company. Even if you believe that it is a factory, you can’t ensure its scale, qualifications, production capacity, etc.
In China, many factories are located in industrial clusters, such as Zhejiang, Guangdong, etc. They are very close to each other. Many of these factories do not have a complete product line, and different production stages are completed by different factories.
For example, factory A sells plastic bottles. But it only designs bottle molds, not a real factory. It outsources mold production to factory B, and bottle production and packaging to factory C.
In this case, you need to inspect more than one factory. Because these outsourcing factories are often small-scale and do not have professional quality inspections. if one of these factories has problems, your products are very likely to have problems in quality.
Another kind of company also calls themselves factories online. But in fact, they just want to get money from you and then disappear. For example, some companies have gone bankrupt, so they just want to make the last sum of money, but not provide you with good-quality products.
There are many such companies on the wholesale platforms, such as Alibaba and 1688. When there are production and quality problems later, you can find no one to solve the problems.
If you meet such a company and pay money to it without a factory audit, many problems will occur later. You will lose a lot, and you cannot change suppliers, making yourself very passive.
What is Checked in the Factory Audit?
Take one of our factory audits as an example. Our auditors went to Shanghai to inspect a factory manufacturing LED lights. We inspected the following aspects according to our factory audit checklist:
Supplier Basic Information
Our auditors first check the basic situation of the factory. Confirm whether the factory address, scale, and so on are consistent with the information.
In this case, We found that the factory was not a direct manufacturer of LED lights, but a trading company. The actual production factory was in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province. Then, our auditor went to Zhongshan to inspect the real factory. It turned out that the factory was small. It was not as big as it appeared in the video taken by the trading company.
（Panoramic view of the factory in Zhongshan）
Main Products and Quality Assurance
Our auditor also checked the factory’s LED light stock, other buyers’ products, raw materials used, production equipment and technology, warehouse, etc. In addition, we also checked whether these lights had required quality certificates, such as FCC, CE, etc., and whether there were special product quality inspections.
（LED light stock）
（Light bulbs used）
Main Production Chain and Capacity
The main production stages of LED light production include light strip welding and processing, metal shelf painting and welding, and assembling.
Our auditor learned that the factory only had 4 workers, and they only completed the final assembly process, i.e. fixing the light strip on the metal shelf and connecting the power to test the actual effect of the product. The first two stages are outsourced to other factories.
In order to fully inspect the production situation of LED lights, our auditor went to the other two factories but found they were both very small.
The Light strip factory only had 8 devices to weld the purchased light beads and shells into a light bulb and make them into light strips. Each device could produce 25,000 bulbs every 8 hours. But the quality of the bulb depended on the other factory making the lamp beads.
The metal shelf factory only had 5 workers and the production efficiency was low. For example, it took about 4 days to produce a shelf for a Christmas tree.
（Welding metal light shelf）
In addition, if you need to open a new mold, our auditor can also check the factory’s mold-making ability and new product development ability.
Through on-site inspection of the above aspects and face-to-face communication with the supplier, our auditors can make a comprehensive assessment of the factory’s basic situation, service, production capacity, product quality, etc. Then, based on our standards for good factories, judge the capability and reliability of the factory, and decide whether to cooperate.
JingSourcing vs Third-party Quality Inspection Company. Who can Do Factory Audit Better?
Third-Party Inspection Company
In general, you can find a third-party inspection company to inspect the factory. You can find professional and reliable quality inspection companies online. Let them go to the factory for you. You pay travel expenses and service fees, and they do a factory audit as per your requirements and issue a report to you.
But finding a reliable quality inspection company is as difficult as finding a reliable supplier. Some third-party inspection companies will accept factory bribes. They will not reflect the real situation of the factory, but give you a good factory inspection result. This is a big risk when you buy from China, especially if your order exceeds $100,000.
Jingsourcing has rich sourcing experience. Before cooperating with suppliers, we will visit their factories and communicate with them face-to-face. We also observe the professionalism of the factory through multiple samplings. Combined with years of experience in dealing with the factory, we can accurately judge the real status of the factory and whether it has the ability to manufacture your product.
All of our suppliers have passed our factory audit and cooperated with us many times. They are professional, responsible, and can make good samples quickly. For defective products, we can negotiate with the factory to modify them, or compensate for the defective rate exceeding requirements. So many buyers are willing to use our suppliers.
Whether you are looking for a factory through us, or you have found a factory yourself, you can contact us to do a factory audit.
Compared with third-party inspection companies, we can video, communicate with our auditors directly, and see the factory environment in time. And we will not accept bribes to hide factory problems, because we are responsible for product quality. If there is a problem with the factory inspection, we can arrange to find another factory near the industrial cluster.
You can also let us follow up on the production process, supervise the product quality, urge the factory to deliver the goods by the agreed time, and conduct a final product quality control to ensure the quality before your goods leave china.
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