This is part 1 of a two post mini-series about mistakes companies that provide quality control services in China can make. Providing good quality control services in China require some soft skills on top of the engineering and product-related skills.
Last week I had a meeting with a large and reputable engineering company based in the US.
They are considered to be the best development support service provider in their niche.
During the meeting, they told me that they are currently looking to change the company that provides them quality services in China, and they are not getting the results they were hoping for.
When I asked them to be more specific, they said that their service supplier is based out of China, and the QC team is made of 2 engineers based in Shenzhen. They said the main problem is that too often, the quality of goods that arrive from China does not match the quality the QC team described on their QC report.
1: NO TRAINING ABOUT THE CLIENTS REQUIREMENTS.
I asked them if they have doubts about the proficiency or the ethical standards of the QC team. The answer to both questions was “no”. Both engineers were interviewed by the firms leading engineers and came with good references.
Most companies that provide quality control services in China know how to recruit their staff. So when I speak about the 3 biggest mistakes they can make, I assume they chose their staff carefully, and the people that they assigned for you are both qualified for the jobs and have high ethical standards.
Next, we talked about how familiar the engineers are with the company they are servicing and the people in the company. Every company has a culture and with time a way of “doing things” is being developed. Many unwritten rules are known to all employees but are completely foreign to people who are not working with the company on a regular basis.
The culture and this “way of doing things” dictate expectations, do’s and don’ts and how people in the organization should manage communication with different levels of management.
People who do not work according to these rules and don’t follow the do’s and don’ts, at the end of the day will not fit into the organization and will create bad feelings with those who are trying to comply with the same rules. They will also create the feeling with the management that they are not trying to be team players and eventually lose the trust and support of their peers and managers.
To work with a company successfully, it is not enough to have the hard skills and product and industry knowledge. This is why there is a learning curve with every new employee, no matter how professional they are.
When it comes to contractors and agents, the amount of time the company should invest in training is always a dilemma as, by nature, a service provider may not stay with the company for a long time, or the amount of time the service provider will invest in the company over a certain amount of time may not be 100% of their time.
However, to make sure the contractor can effectively service its client, the client must make sure the people working for the contractor have enough information about the organization.
This is the end of part one.
In the next post, I am going to talk about what could happen to a team of qualified quality control inspectors that work alone in China whose managers are based overseas. I will talk about how easy it is for their management to lose contact with what they go through every day and how that can demotivate and reduce the sense of belonging the team feels for the organization they work for.
I will talk about how this demotivates them from protecting their clients best interest and where they seek and get the support they don’t receive from their managers.
I am also going to talk about the disconnect between vendor management and quality control in this type of situations. I will talk about what it is like to try to manage your schedule as a quality control inspector when you are also responsible for following up orders progress and help your overseas client communicate with his manufacturers.
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If you would like to share with us your experience managing a small quality control team in China or would like to know more about this subject, please contact us. We’d love to talk to you about your projects in China.