How a Factory Can Improve Quality

I bet you are tired of hearing your Chinese suppliers say “this is made by hand, so avoiding defects is impossible”.

So am I, because it’s so wrong.

Some small factories have decreased their defect rate below 50 parts per million (that’s 0.005%). Some of them, in Japan, employs housewives in the countryside, and their operations are all manual!

So, how do they get so close to zero defects? The answer is by applying a set of principles.

1. Faster production cycles help improve quality

Many factories have managed to reduce their cycle time (the time between starting a production run and getting some finished products) by 80% to 90%.

To simplify what happens, they get from this…

Manufacturing with processes in islands

To this…

Line organization

This is the best way to avoid widespread quality problems.

Why? Because finished products can be inspected/tested a few hours (maximum) after a production is launched, and the root cause(s) of a defect is much easier to find – the production batch is probably still in work-in-process status and “the trail is still hot”, as they say.

In contrast to that, I have seen many Chinese factories discover a widespread problem with a production batch after thousands of pieces had already passed through the faulty process. The trouble here is that because the production batch would have already been completed it is much more difficult to identify where the root cause of the problem took place — let alone fix the issue right away before it affects the whole batch.

2. Strong discipline improves adherence to standards

Putting a system in place is not the hard part, especially when ISO 9001-compliant quality systems are available on the internet and are (supposedly) ready to be used.

It doesn’t take months of work to place work instructions as well as photos of good and bad samples at each work station.

The hard part is training, coaching, and enforcing. There is no substitute for managers walking the shop floor every day and checking what the production staffs are doing.

What Chinese Managers tend to do however, is stay in their air-conditioned offices or meeting rooms. This lack of presence on the factory floor is quite unfortunate from both the factory’s and the buyer’s point of view.

When I first walk in a factory and I want to assess their quality level, I often carry out this simple 3-point test:

  1. Does the place seem to be in order? Do the operators wear appropriate clothes and protective equipment?
  2. Are there process controls and product checks, and is there a way to see if they have been done? (This could be written QC records or anything else that allows a supervisor to ensure it was checked.)
  3. If I ask them to describe the changes that had been made to one of their controlled documents (procedures, work instructions, forms…) over the last 3 months, do they need to “go and check” first?

If the answers to points 1 and 2 are YES and point 3 can be answered straight away, it tells me that there is some sort of structure and process that is being followed, which is a very positive sign.

3. The necessity for self-inspection

By self-inspection I mean the operators themselves do most of the quality control work. Not dedicated inspectors.

I don’t mean each worker should evaluate their own work – they lack the objectivity necessary for that.

The key is in successive inspection: I grab the part, I check it, I process it, and I put it down.

Here are the 3 basic principles that every worker MUST adhere to:

  • We do not accept bad work
  • We do not do bad work
  • We do not pass on bad work

Does it conflict with the pay scheme so commonly applied in China (paying the operator based solely on the number of pieces he/she makes)? Yes, sure, but compensation structures can be changed.

Does it take more time for the operators to do these checks? Yes it can. And that’s a problem when a tough deadline needs to be met: operators might “exceptionally” choose to suspend self-inspection.

Fortunately, this extra time can be greatly reduced–and sometimes eliminated entirely–if you get creative, as we’ll see in next part.

4. The magic of mistake proofing and usability engineering

On your computer, have you ever inserted a cable (for example the power cord) in a wrong hole? It is impossible because they all have different shapes and sizes.

Some PC manufacturers have even color-coded the cables and the corresponding holes. Strictly speaking, that’s not mistake proofing because it does not always prevent mistakes. That’s usability engineering. But it still brings tremendous value.

Does it cost a lot of money? No. Is it effective? Yes!

Now, have you seen this type of thinking applied by a Chinese manufacturer?

  • Would they think of asking the designer to make the holes different shapes/sizes? Probably not.
  • Would they think of color-coding each hole and each cable? The probability is even lower.

Some manufacturers in Japan and in the West have become masters at mistake-proofing. You can find 240 pages of real examples that were implemented in factory settings here.

Here is a simple example (guide pins of different sizes, in a set of fixtures):

Mistake proofing for improving quality

Could more than 4 principles be listed? Sure. I didn’t mention staff training and barely mentioned process control.

The 4 pieces of advice I listed above are those that generally make a big difference in a manufacturer’s quality level in a short amount of time. And the beauty is… It does not require any capital investment. Forget about automation, keep the same people, and show them how to work smarter!   http://www.sunchineinspection.com/factory-audit/

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5 Ways To Have a Chinese Manufacturer Take Responsibility for Quality Issues

Many importers lament that Chinese suppliers don’t take any responsibility when quality issues are found after shipment. Ten years ago, I would have confirmed that it happens less than 0.1% of the time. These days, it seems to become more common.  https://www.sunchineinspection.com/services/

I talked about this with a client last week, and here is what came out of our discussion. I listed 5 ways to increase your chances, as a buyer.

1. Work with a manufacturer

Again, ten years ago, I would have suggested to work with a trading company — they often try to do everything they can to keep the customer happy. But, as their margins eroded, they can’t play that game as well as in the past.

In contrast, manufacturers value their ‘direct’ customers (those they work with without any intermediary in the middle) more than indirect ones. And they understand more and more that saving a little money in the short term is not in their long-term best interest.

2. Maintain a long-term relationship

Do you show your suppliers that they are constantly at the risk of losing your orders? Do you switch to a competitor to save a few cents? In that case, suppliers might not value your business. They know they are always on the brink of losing it.

If you have purchased from the same source for 5 years, and if you run into quality issues, they will think twice before refusing to give you a rebate or a reimbursement for a mistake they have made.

3. Go and see them face to face often

If all your suppliers see is your emails, they don’t feel they know you, which means they don’t necessarily trust you or value your relationship. This is true in many Asian cultures.

So, go and meet with them face to face 4 times or more every year. Take a little time out of the meeting room. Eat lunch with them and talk about non-business subjects. Have dinner with them (a good tip: tell them you have a call at 9:30pm in your hotel).

On the other hand, don’t let them give you such a nice treatment that you feel obliged to you. They need to keep in mind that, should they make an expensive mistake, you will get back at them immediately.

4. Compare findings to agreed-upon specs

Hopefully you have a solid and detailed specification sheet that includes tolerances for acceptability.

(If you deal with soft goods, it might be an approved sample, along with boundary samples where needed.)

Make the problem obvious. Remind the factory people what standard they promised to comply with, and show them precisely how production is noncompliant.

5. Translate the issue into facts they can understand

Extra points if you understand where the issue comes from and you can point to what exact mistake they have made. Factory salespeople and managers often need to be shown what happened before they start to react.

For example: “you cut this part a bit too small, and now it doesn’t fit that other part”, or “die casting was done at the wrong pressure, and your mold can no longer close properly”.

I hope it’s helpful…

Obviously this is more true in consumer electronics than in footwear, for the simple reason that factories make more margin. Also, if the buyer has invested a lot of time developing a new product, the supplier knows he is captive to a certain extent, and this can be a positive or a negative. Take this as very, very general advice!   https://www.sunchineinspection.com/

4 Ways to Test Battery Capacity on an Electrical Product

As you look at the products you manufacture in China, you need to evaluate the risks that something goes wrong.

When it comes to electrical products, one of the major risks is that the supplier uses substandard components in order to earn more profit.

From experience, the risk is particularly high with batteries. The product might work fine during an open-the-box-and-turn-the-product-on inspection, but might have a very small capacity.

There are basically 4 options to check the battery capacity in a final inspection. https://www.sunchineinspection.com/lab-testing/

Option 1: off-site test

All electrical testing labs, as well as our Shenzhen office, have a battery capacity tester. It is one of the most basic testing devices.

Typically, the inspector takes a few samples of batteries and sends them to the off-site testing place. After that, the tester needs to be set up, and it needs to be operated (for several cycles). The point of doing several cycles is to check that the batteries can actually be discharged and recharged, and to have a better idea of average capacity over time.

Option 2: accelerated testing

Ideally, all could be done on site, in the factory, without sending any batteries. But it takes a long time, often 8 hours or more. The inspector often needs to go back (catch the last bus, work on reporting, etc.)

So, why not accelerate it? It would be easy, if not for a non-linear relationship because of internal heating (extra energy loss).

If your supplier has a solid expertise about batteries, ask them what result can be expected if the test is expected to last no more than 5 hours. (Their regular tester can certainly do that.)

Option 3: overtime at the factory

Another simple solution is for the inspector to stay for longer in the factory (which incurs an extra fee for overtime).

But how late? You can ask the supplier how long the test will last if not accelerated.

Option 4: aborting the test

The inspector stays until the time he needs to leave, and records the reading on the tester. This is better than nothing.

Can you think of another option?

Obviously, the factory can be asked to keep running that test to the end on their own and to record the result, but it means they need to be trusted… And the point of checking battery capacity is precisely to check if they tried to cheat you…  https://www.sunchineinspection.com/lab-accreditation/

garment inspection inspection

Quality inspection of sweaters at the end of the production in Guangdong Province.Inspection result not really good

color fastness test with dry cloth / color fastness test with wet cloth

About all finished products had untrimmed tread / Many products have wrinkles / short threads on all products surface

bad weave

left right asymmetry

Thank you very much for your intrested in our service.
Sunchine team make the following proposal to help you control quality of chemical products.

Check product storing condition→Check whole quality→Check packing condition and marking→Randomly measure gross weight→Pick up samples from
finished products→Seal samples with Sunchine stickers and sign→ and send to lab for testing→Paste Sunchine sticker on each package→Send inspection and sampling report within 24 hours→Lab perform testing and send report after finishing→Check quanity again during loading process→Check packaging condition and marking randomly→Check empty container condition→Oversee loading process→Check 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full container→Check container No. and seal No.→Send Container loading check report for confirmation

Read more: http://www.sunchineinspection.com

Carey Mulligan – the new Audrey Hepburn

By CHRIS TOOKEY
UPDATED: 09:28 GMT, 30 October 2009

Here’s a hit movie that’s small in scale, but big in heart – the most charming British film of the year.

It has a female protagonist who’s flawed, pretentious and frequently misguided, but grows into a character as memorable as Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Best of all, it introduces a sensational British actress who combines the gamine innocence of Audrey Hepburn with the warmth, intelligence and mischief of the young Judi Dench.

Learning curve: Carey Mulligan makes us care about the 'silly' schoolgirl JennyLearning curve: Carey Mulligan makes us care about the ‘silly’ schoolgirl Jenny

It isn’t only me whom she has impressed. Thanks to rave reviews from virtually every American critic, she is now the front-runner to win Best Actress at next year’s Oscars.

The chances are that you haven’t heard of Carey Mulligan, even though she had a small role in the Keira Knightley Pride And Prejudice, and a bigger one in the BBC’s serialisation of Bleak House, but she’s going to be gracing the big screen for decades to come.

 

The camera loves her, and her face has a miraculous transparency of emotion. A star is born – and, more importantly, a wonderful actress.

Based on a memoir by journalist Lynn Barber, this is the potentially sleazy but ultimately uplifting story of a 16-year-old schoolgirl who – bored with her staid, suburban parents’ ambitions for her to study hard and get into Oxford – allows herself to be seduced by a man more than twice her age.

Played by Peter Sarsgaard, David is a sophisticated smoothie with just a hint of Jewish exoticism, who offers an alluring world of classical concerts, art auctions and cabarets.

He’s glib enough to persuade her domineering but socially insecure father (Alfred Molina) and easily flattered mother (Cara Seymour) that he wants the best for their daughter.

Rosamund Pike, (Helen) and Dominic Cooper (Danny) also star in An EducationRosamund Pike, (Helen) and Dominic Cooper (Danny) also star in An Education

He offers to introduce her to his old tutor, C.S.Lewis, who might be able to help her get into Oxford. Even early on, we suspect that David is too good to be true.

But he’s good-looking, generous and offers Jenny more fun and excitement than her hesitant teenage boyfriend Graham (Matthew Beard, the promising young actor from And When Did You Last See Your Father?).

David and his chums (Dominic Cooper, amusingly shifty, and Rosamund Pike, hilariously vacuous, like a less fearsomely intellectual Holly Willoughby) show her an entertaining mixture of high life and low pleasures, such as a visit to the dog track and an introduction to property racketeer Peter Rachman.

Though Carey Mulligan is bound to attract most of the critical plaudits, Sarsgaard is terrific in the role of tempter. His smile is engaging, but reserved.

His eyes are friendly, but watchful. His easy self-assurance is just a little bit too manufactured, but what is it concealing. Shyness? Weakness? A guilty secret?

But he knows how to give a girl a good time – driving her around in his maroon sports car, buying her presents, taking her to Oxford and Paris . . . who could resist?

Certainly not Jenny, who disappoints her English teacher (Olivia Williams, delightfully prim and buttoned-up) and enrages her headmistress (Emma Thompson, who makes a splendidly blue-stocking, anti- semitic gorgon).

David seems like a short-cut to a life that Jenny previously had thought she could achieve only through higher education and a successful career.

Nick Hornby’s screenplay contains a handful of speech anachronisms and a couple of moments when the dialogue teeters on the edge of soap opera and caricature, but is a likely Oscar nominee for its quiet wit, and the way it offers every member of a superb cast their moment.

Sally Hawkins, so delightful in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, has a late, moving cameo that confirms her as an actress of rare versatility; and Pike shows talents as a comic actress that have never been obvious before.

It’s a tribute to the writing that virtually every subsidiary character has so much vibrancy and texture that it’s easy to imagine an entire film being constructed around each of their lives.

Hornby’s books have all had humour and humanity, and he fleshes out Barber’s short memoir with a real feeling for Sixties glamour, adolescent longings and adult insecurities. From High Fidelity onwards, he’s been skilled at noting how people let their cultural tastes define them, both as they are and as they would like to be.

Jenny sees herself as a French, bohemian sophisticate in the Juliette Gréco mould, which makes her all the more delightful as she fails to be as worldly as she thinks she is.

The title, An Education, is deliberately ambiguous, referring both to academic training and the process by which life leads us towards maturity.

Although Carey Mulligan was 22 when she played the role, she doesn’t condescend to her 16-year- old character. It’s easy to empathise as she makes choices that don’t exactly go the way she planned.

Female director Lone Scherfig (who made the promising Italian For Beginners) handles the sexual side of the relationship with delicacy, never allowing it to become exploitative.

The story could easily have been treated more sensationally, over-seriously or melodramatically, but even as comedy it remains a moral, cautionary tale.

Hornby has softened Barber’s memoir to make us see David through Jenny’s eyes and understand how she makes some foolish choices. But he remains true to its bittersweet essence.

It depicts life as a cruel kind of farce, in which everyone makes mistakes, but most people somehow pick themselves up and make the best of a bad job.

Its stiff-upper-lip bravery, and refusal to wallow in self-pity or see its leading character as a victim, is peculiarly British – and refreshingly rare in modern cinema.

Some will dismiss this as a film about not very much. The only thing at stake is a silly, middle-class girl’s place at university, so why should we care?

The extraordinary thing is that we do. And though the film may appear small and slight, it takes on a deeper resonance because of its impeccably observed sense of period.

Jenny is not just a silly girl. She represents Britain emerging from the austerity of the post-war era and experiencing the dangerous allure of entrepreneurial capitalism and the Swinging Sixties. Her story is our story.

 

From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/reviews/article-1223931/Carey-Mulligan–new-Audrey-Hepburn.html

It’s Lorraine Kelly-GoLightly! ITV presenter dons Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Breakfast At Tiffany’s look to launch Little Black Dress Diet

By BIANCA LONDON
PUBLISHED: 15:18 GMT, 9 November 2012 | UPDATED: 17:14 GMT, 9 November 2012

Audrey Hepburn was synonymous with grace, poise and immaculate style.

And although TV presenter Lorraine Kelly may never quite live up to the actress and humanitarian’s iconic style status, she did a pretty good job of emulating her for a striking photo shoot today.

The 52-year-old recreated Hepburn’s character Holly Golightly from 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany to launch the Little Black Dress Diet for her ITV1 show.

 

Lorraine Kelly dressed up as one of her favourite Hollywood stars, Audrey Hepburn, to launch the Lorraine Little Black Dress DietLorraine Kelly dressed up as one of her favourite Hollywood stars, Audrey Hepburn, to launch the Lorraine Little Black Dress Diet

 
The presenter recreated the star's trademark look with pearls, long black gloves and a cigarette holder
The presenter recreated the star's trademark look with pearls, long black gloves and a cigarette holder
 

The presenter recreated the star’s trademark look with pearls, long black gloves and a cigarette holder

Lorraine wowed in her little black dress and hopes to motivate women to feel great in theirs too with her new diet scheme
Lorraine wowed in her little black dress and hopes to motivate women to feel great in theirs too with her new diet scheme
 

Lorraine wowed in her little black dress and hopes to motivate women to feel great in theirs too with her new diet scheme

The Scottish TV host’s diet plan will feature on her breakfast show Lorraine from 12 November for four weeks and is set to include guest stars such as Dannii Minogue sharing diet tips, fashion advice and exercise plans to help women nationwide be little black dress ready in time for the festive season.

 
 

For the shoot, Lorraine donned a sleeveless black dress, pearls, sunglasses and long black gloves – all key looks that her Hollywood idol made her own.

 

Behind the scenes Lorraine was helped by the crew as she pulled off the look with poiseBehind the scenes Lorraine was helped by the crew as she pulled off the look with poise

 
With her hair scraped back into a perfect bun and the addition of big black sunglasses, Lorraine looked just like her Hollywood idol
With her hair scraped back into a perfect bun and the addition of big black sunglasses, Lorraine looked just like her Hollywood idol
 

With her hair scraped back into a perfect bun and the addition of big black sunglasses, Lorraine looked just like her Hollywood idol

Speaking about her diet plan, she said: ‘I think in the lead up to Christmas you want to look and feel sensational as there are a lot of parties and gatherings.

‘There are so many temptations around Christmas time and it’s easy to overindulge in mindless eating when you are grazing on crisps and nuts at the office party or in the pub.’

 

Lorraine looked like a natural as she posed for the photographs as she prepares to launch her new diet schemeLorraine looked like a natural as she posed for the photographs as she prepares to launch her new diet scheme

 

The inspiration: Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany'sThe inspiration: Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s

From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2230489/Lorraine-Kelly-dons-Audrey-Hepburns-iconic-Breakfast-At-Tiffanys-look-launch-Little-Black-Dress-Diet.html

Risqué business! Tom Cruise ‘spotted dirty dancing with pretty brunette at New York night club’

Love is in the air for Tom Cruise it seems. 

 

The Mission: Impossible star may have found romance again – six months after his divorce from Katie Holmes. 

Cruise is said to be ‘enamoured’ with a 26-year-old New York restaurant manager after a date night of drinking and dancing at a French-themed night club in Chinatown, NY.  

 
Christmas romance: Tom Cruise is said to be smitten with New York restaurant manager Cynthia Jorge. Actor reportedly called her work place to ask her out after dining their with friends
Christmas romance: Tom Cruise is said to be smitten with New York restaurant manager Cynthia Jorge. Actor reportedly called her work place to ask her out after dining there with friends
 

Christmas romance: Tom Cruise is said to be smitten with New York restaurant manager Cynthia Jorge. Actor reportedly called her work place to ask her out after dining there with friends

 

According to In Touch magazine, Cruise, 50, met brunette beauty Cynthia Jorge on December 18 when he was dining at Lower East Side’s Beauty & Essex – where Cynthia works as the manager. 

An eyewitness told the magazine: ‘He was mesmerized by Cynthia.

‘She had her hair in a bun, wore tight black pants and looked gorgeous.’

After a meal of sashimi and empanadas, Cynthia apparently handed Cruise her card… and the bold move paid off.  

 

Seductress: Cynthia is the manager of the restaurant Beauty & Essex located on the Lower East Side of NY

It is believed that Cruise called Beauty & Essex twice the very next day to track the young woman down and eventually got a message to her after being ‘put on hold for a very long time’. 

Less than 24 hours later the duo – along with some friends – were seen at La Baron night club where Tom was ‘sweeping her round the dance floor’, reports In Touch. 

An eye-witness told them: ‘They did the salsa. He took her in his arms and spun her around the dance floor. Tom looked like a pro.’

 
 

Then things started to get a bit racy, continued the witness. 

 
Le Baron: The French-themed club where Cruise was reportedly seen twirling the 26-year-old brunette round the dance floor

Le Baron: The French-themed club where Cruise was reportedly seen twirling the 26-year-old brunette round the dance floor

 

Six months single: Katie Holmes and Cruise divorced half a year ago and the former Dawson's Creek star has not been linked to any one else yet

Six months single: Katie Holmes and Cruise divorced half a year ago and the former Dawson’s Creek star has not been linked to any one else yet. Pictured at the Music Box theatre in New York on Wednesday

‘At one point, they began grinding together,’ they said. 

‘It was straight out of Dirty Dancing. Tom seemed to be in his own world, completely smitten.’

But ever the gentleman Cruise reportedly made sure a private car was waiting outside the club to whisk the Queens native back home safely. 

The Mail Online contacted Cruise’s spokesperson for a comment but have not received a response. 

The Scientology-loving actor recently denied claims he has been romantically involved with Jennifer Ackerman, sister of actress Malin Ackerman. 

Cruise and Jennifer were apparently spotted spending time with each other at a Stockholm nightclub after the Swedish premiere of his latest film Jack Reacher but a representative has denied anything is going on. 

A source told E! News: ‘The whole thing is completely ridiculous. Jennifer was there with her whole family who were cropped out of the picture. 

‘She happily lives with her boyfriend in LA.’