Tag: sourcing

Global Manufacturing: Current Reality & Emerging Trends

Companies sourcing from China and greater Asia have enjoyed relatively stable conditions for nearly 20 years. Unfortunately, conditions affecting raw materials, labor, logistics, quality, regulations and currency translations are now changing rapidly and inducing disruptions in supply chain structures across the region while also creating new opportunities in other countries.

In Michael L. Hetzel’s most recent seminar, we review the current reality of manufacturing in China, Greater Asia, The Americas and Europe along with the present and expected trends emerging throughout the world. Michael, Pro QC’s VP/Americas, provides information that will enable you to enhance your understanding of the present conditions and emerging trends in order to create and maintain effective manufacturing strategies, minimize total costs and anticipate potential supply chain disruptions that can lead to delivery delays, increased warranty costs and product recalls.

GlobalBusinessProfessor.com has posted this content to their website with unlimited access.  View the complete seminar here.

Managing quality in long distance supply chains

Michael L. Hetzel, Pro QC’s VP/Americas, partnered with GlobalAutoIndustry earlier today to share some insight and recommendations regarding managing quality in long distance supply chains.

The seminar, which was hosted by GlobalAutoIndustry.com, touched on a wide range of quality challenges unique to those engaged in international procurement.  Michael reviews the cost issues and various considerations for selecting capable and ethical suppliers.  In addition, he incorporates important quality tools necessary for assessing and verifying conformance.  He discusses the considerations for using local staff or 3rd party quality providers as a way to monitor and ensure continuous improvement.

After the seminar, one of the questions asked was what he would consider the number one challenge in international supply chain management.  Michael didn’t hesitate to cite cultural issues and followed up with the importance of “becoming an expert on the country, target area and culture.”

In his closing remarks, it’s clear that sourcing risk can’t be eliminated.  But, the goal is clear in that there are several ways in which you can reduce the risk as much as possible.   “The foundation of a good outcome is in the preparation.”  Michael also tells us to assume nothing and abandon all preconceptions.

The presentation materials can be downloaded here: Hetzel Slides – Managing Quality in Long Distance Supply Chains – GlobalAutoIndustry.com 5-16-12.

If you would like additional information, contact Michael directly at mlhetzel@proqc.com.

Ever wonder what happens during a product quality inspection?

Pro QC’s Shenzhen, China office provides an on-site demonstration of in-process and pre-shipment quality inspections.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=YNNjtZWVwp0

Comments and suggestions are always welcome and appreciated!  Our goal is to provide valuable content to those interested in learning more about quality related concepts and processes that we have over 20 years of experience providing.

How do you select the right suppliers?

Selecting suppliers is undoubtedly one of the most challenging tasks organizations contend with.  Between finding, evaluating and selecting suppliers that will meet existing needs with room to grow doesn’t have to be an arduous process.  While requirements do vary greatly depending on industry, company size, demand, etc., the process of supplier selection can be simplified using a general road map that reduces much of the risks and cost.

So, how do you select the right suppliers?

Evaluate your needs– Where supplier selection and most other things are concerned, planning is key.  Organizations need to carefully evaluate the internal and external factors that affect the kind of supplier they need.  Not only is it a good idea for organizational strategy purposes, but potential suppliers will likely find this information useful for quoting purposes as well.  I’ve found that feedback relating to poor choices in supplier selection is mainly attributed to poor communication.  In other words, failure to meet expectations usually happens when expectations are not well defined and/or communicated to all.

Find potential suppliers using a concentrated checklist– Once you’ve figured out what you need, imagine the ideal supplier.  In fact, brainstorm all of the characteristics that this perfect supplier would have.  Then, take that list of wants and needs and concentrate it down to a handful of attributes.  If you find it difficult to narrow down, see if any of the items can be characterized into a broader category and then assign weighted values.  It’s a good idea to incorporate values regardless so analyzing the options becomes easier.  Scouting often starts with online searches using marketplaces such as Alibaba.com.  Follow-up interviews using the checklist as a guideline keeps everything in perspective.

Analyze the options– Go back and review the serious prospects.  Pick a handful that outshines the rest based on the checklists.  A grid analysis is an excellent tool for organizing information like this.  It forces you to look at the bigger picture, yet it retains the ability to see each option separate or broken down by characteristic.  At this point, a proactive approach we suggest is conducting supplier audits for the two or three choices that stand out as the best potential fit.  “An on-site audit of the facility includes an evaluation of general operations, quality systems, qualifications and capabilities of the supplier as a viable source.”   During an audit, checklist information can be verified on-site through various interviews and documentation review.

Make a decision—  When selecting suppliers, make sure you maintain perspective regarding your requirements and weights of various attributes as noted during the information gathering process.  It’s very easy to look at the bottom line and compromise on salient issues.  Trust your information.  And, be sure to follow-up with any potential prospects you didn’t select.

Develop a relationship– Developing a relationship with suppliers is critical to long-term success.  It’s difficult to find a company that disagrees with this, but much easier to find one that truly dedicates the time and resources towards accomplishing it. Documented expectations and open communication reduce the headaches associated with poor quality, missed shipments or ultimately the process of switching suppliers.  Regular follow-up is an invaluable and cost-effective way to identify potential issues early on.

Monitor performance– Ongoing evaluation of suppliers is necessary for continuous improvement.  Gathering and analyzing performance data (inspection defect information, return rates, etc.) on a regular basis, in addition to intermittent on-site audits, identifies areas of improvement and insures expectations are being met. Where necessary, corrective action can be incorporated to resolve issues prior to customer impact and possibly even before they start.

Note that as a 3rd party quality assurance provider with resources in over 30 countries, Pro QC assists clients with Vendor Identification services that includes checklist development and scouting. In addition, Pro QC’s team of quality professionals offer expertise and local knowledge you can put to use on-site, providing unbiased assessments while reducing the time and cost associated with travel and evaluation. Product InspectionsCorrective Action and Supplier Development services also complement the supplier selection process as noted in this article.