Mainland firms stepping up quality control

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 September, 2007, 12:00am

More than 60 per cent of mainland suppliers are increasing spending on quality control after the recent recalls of mainland-made products.

A survey of more than 200 manufacturers from consumer product industries in the mainland conducted by Global Sources, a business-to-business media company, showed that 62 respondents were increasing spending on addressing product quality issues.

'Ten per cent said they are increasing quality control spending by more than 20 per cent [for the year],' said the survey, adding that 26 per cent would increase spending by 10 to 20 per cent.

The majority of spending is directed toward implementing total quality management procedures in factories, with more than 70 per cent of suppliers saying that it was the best way to improve overall quality.

The reputation of mainland-made goods has taken a severe beating in recent months due to a series of product-safety scares.

Beijing has been scrambling to launch a campaign to ease global concerns about mainland exports. It has issued numerous new product-safety policies and executed a former food and drug chief convicted of taking bribes to authorise unsafe medicines.

'While overall responsibility for product quality rests with the importer, who is legally responsible for ensuring that his products meet the standards of the country where it is being sold, mainland suppliers are investing heavily to help their buyers meet these requirements,' said Merle Hinrichs, the chairman and chief executive at Global Sources.

The survey also found that 63 per cent of mainland suppliers said most quality issues were addressed by working with buyers well before production began, during the design and sampling stages.

Thirty-four per cent of respondents said quality issues were addressed during production line inspection either by the buyer, inspection agency or factory quality control staff.

Mattel apologised on Friday for damaging the mainland's reputation after its recent massive recall of mainland-made toys and admitted some had been recalled needlessly.

The toymaker has said the vast majority of products recalled were the result of a flaw in its design, added that the company was committed to manufacturing in the mainland.

Even with recent product recalls issue, 66 per cent of survey respondents still expect their export sales to increase over the next 12 months.

Building bridges

Suppliers are investing a lot to help buyers meet import requirements

The proportion of mainland companies surveyed that said they would step up quality control after major recalls 60%