Vol. 1, No. 2, April 2017


International automotive companies having their Chinese suppliers audited by international organizations usually find the audit results quite satisfactory. However, when local Chinese organizations undertake similar audits of the same suppliers, many more non-conformity items, some quite serious, are discovered.


Most overseas auditors have limited, if any, knowledge in the Chinese language. Their accompanying Chinese translators unfortunately are not trained in quality system, the production technologies or factory management.

When detailed audit contents are communicated to the suppliers in advance, suppliers will usually have the relevant documents translated into English based on the instructions. Yet, during the actual audits, when other related documents are requested by the auditors, those documents are usually still in Chinese. Without accurate technical translations on the spot, auditors are usually forced to form an audit opinion by simple confirming “yes, the document is available”.

Most on site documentations are in Chinese and therefore difficult for the auditors to understand as they walk through the factories, so the auditors would usually focus on individual process. It is difficult for the auditors to make accurate judgment on the suppliers’ quality management in the entire control process.

Quite often, the international auditors are experts on selected technical fields or automotive subsystems, not necessarily always matching the suppliers’ technological or product profiles.

Relatively speaking, a China domestic audit organization with sufficient knowledge and experience would be better positioned to conduct the audit when the status of suppliers’ quality management systems is more naturally on display and better able to see through the appearance in order to get to the real underlying issues.

By Felix YUAN



Primary failure modes:

Slipping drive assembly, mainly due to incorrect material or incorrect control of process parameters for cold forging and heat treatment;

Sticking solenoid, mainly due to incorrect design of solenoid, incorrect choice of material for component material and unreasonable on-site assembly process;

Short-circuited armature, mainly due to low insulation grade for related components and unreasonable or out-of-control key on-site process.

Key preventive measures:

Most starter manufactures purchase drive assemblies from external sources. For better quality control of the outsourced parts, it is necessary to apply precision measuring and metallographic analysis on critical areas of the incoming components, rather than simple visual size measurement.

A good starter manufacture would usually make solenoid in-house. It is necessary to apply control on the key parameters such as the over-travel length of the solenoid.

Most manufacturers also make armatures in-house. Other than the commutator reliability and the lamination materials, the key is to optimize and control the insulation treatment and welding process.

By Patrick HAN

Brake pads

Primary failure modes:

Back-plate falling off, mainly due to unqualified formula, the cleanliness of the back-plate, the bonding technologies, missing or defective friction underlayer or improper slotting.

Noise, mainly due to unqualified formula, inappropriate noise reduction technique, overuse of friction enhancing material, insufficient noise-absorbing material, inappropriate position and size of slotting and chamfer, or wrongly designed SHIM.

Jitter, mainly due to unqualified formula, conflict between the natural frequencies of the product and the vehicle system.

Friction material is the key to the quality of brake pad. It is a composite material, and its choice, process and testing take years of experience accumulation. Also, the brake pad is a component of the braking system. Ideally it is developed jointly with other parts of the system, so that the material formula, process and quality control of the pads match the whole system requirement.




ISO/TS16949 is a set of ISO technical specifications and requirements specifically for the quality management systems of the automotive industries. 

Based on ISO 9001, AVSQ (Italian), EAQF (French), QS9000 (U.S.), and VDA (German) and prepared by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF, an “ad hoc” group of global automotive manufacturers and their respective trade associations) and the "Technical Committee" of ISO to harmonize the country-specific regulations of quality management systems, ISO/TS16949 defines the quality management system requirements for the design and development, production and, when relevant, installation and service of automotive-related products.

ISO/TS 16949 is applicable to sites of organizations where customer-specified parts, for production and/or service, are manufactured.

First published in June 1999 as ISO/TS 16949:1999, it has been revised in 2002 and 2009 as ISO/TS 16949:2002 and ISO/TS 16949:2009.

In October 2016, the IATF announced the transition from ISO/TS 16949:2009 to IATF 16949:2016 which will begin to replace the current ISO/TS 16949 in stages by 2018.


Cost of raw materials:

Exchange rates:

USD/RMB: 1:6.90

EUR/RMB: 1:7.37

RUB/RMB: 1:0.12

April 2017

The above information is for reference only


1 May is a public holiday, the Labor Day, in China. Because the Labor Day falls on a Monday this year, almost all factories and offices will be closed from Saturday, 29 April to 1 Monday. Normal work resumes on Tuesday, 2 May.

SHENTOU SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT CO. LTD. is a Shenzhen, China, based company serving international automotive clients in the implementation of their China strategies and programs. CHINA AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLIER QUALITY MANAGEMENT BRIEFING is a monthly newsletter published by Shentou to address the specific and unique quality challenges and concerns international automotive companies face with suppliers in China. Comments are welcome at Click here to subscribe.

Copyright © 2020 Shenzhen Shentou Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd.

All Rights Reserved.