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The best way to avoid defects in China? Clarify specifications

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In a recent blog post entitled “QC: OK to be picky. But be professional” I explain that as professional buyers we need to be picky with our China suppliers. But more importantly, we need to be professional in our ability to create a written standard for our expected quality.The best way to avoid defects in China is for the factory to have a crystal clear understanding in terms of what is your standard and how to inspect for that standard (including what tools and techniques are required).

The team at Asia Quality Focus wrote a similar blog post but included a check list. With their permission, I am sharing it with our readers:

The wordings “it”, “which” or “be picky” should be banned. It is better to clearly specify what is being referred to in the text.

The word “shall” is the best to use to define a requirement. The requirements expressed as “shall” must be fully and properly met.

Sentences should be short and direct.

Obvious spaces should be used only between paragraphs, to differentiate sections.

Each industry has a jargon and abbreviations. They all should be clearly defined one by one (the buyer could add a definition section at the beginning of the specification for example).

For all dimensions or weight requirements, it is important to mention the tolerance levels (+/-) and the measurement method applied.

For color specifications, the best option is to use a standard such as the Pantone code.

The conditions under which the item must meet the product specification should be specified. If the product performance is reduced at extreme temperatures and humidity is acceptable (this detail is still part of the product specifications).

When some specific tests are required, they should be specified and include the standards that should be used or the precise measurements to be done (Material, Conditions…)

The approval sample should be complementary to the product specification; it is an additional support only. In any case it can replace clear product specifications.

The best way to avoid defects in China Clarify specifications

Perhaps the best advice is this:

As a general rule, the buyer should write the product specifications pretending that the supplier is new to the industry.

Really “spell it out”. Here is another advantage of being detail oriented with your product specs:

As a matter of fact, the buyer should keep in mind that some suppliers will try to cut corners to decrease internal costs and bolster their profits. So ensure that the specifications describe all qualities of the product in such detail that corner-cutting is impossible.

Need QC support?

I’m on the board of advisors at Asia Quality Focus and recommend them with confidence for audits and inspections. Contact me here if you would like an introduction.