CHINA AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLIER

QUALITY MANAGEMENT BRIEFING

Vol. 5, No. 11, November 2021

1

Factory Audits & Quality Inspections 

During & Post COVID-19

On-site Supplier Audits + Remote Participations by International Buyers (VII)

(Continued from the last issue)

The implementation of "On-site + Remote” audit

 

The implementation of "On-site + remote” audit should be based on the pre-determined audit plan with the use of appropriate network communication technologies. The opening and closing meetings and sign-in confirmation, communication and confirmation of various matters in the audit process, as well as inspection and verification activities can be completed with video coverage. The occurrence of audit risks should be minimized as much as possible through real-time video monitoring to make sure the activities of the auditee are under control, and the participants are the same as those confirmed in the earlier stage. During the audit, for the processes or departments requested for participations by customers in the audit plan, the related documents, records, inspections of processes and products with key characteristics should be presented and confirmed online. These documents, once they are photographed and filed under video monitoring, could be used as audit evidence, with the same effect for international buyers as if they were sampled on-site.

 

For the areas within the factory being audited, the main production areas, the key production process and the test center, full-angle photos or video shots could be taken based on what the client has pre-agreed to participate remotely. The photos or videos taken or provided should be archived and managed in accordance with the relevant confidentiality agreement, management procedures, rule or regulations, or requests by associated parties. 

 

For documents, key/special processes and selected points of product inspections that the client has confirmed for participation in the audit plan, factories should make specific video-recordings for evidence collection of the related document contents or the key characteristics of processes or products for detailed further audit. When spot-checking the implementation of the organization’s control requirements, the supplier performance evaluation records should also be inspected in similar way of an on-site audit, including the verification of video, pictures,relevant records and documents, through the use of regular communication tools.

 

When questions need to be raised during the audit, operators on-site could be asked to answer or demonstrate while being recorded. Video recordings should generally be limited to 15 to 30 seconds in length. To ensure the audit effectiveness, dedicated staff should be assigned to take the video so that auditors on-site or remote could communicate with operators effectively. When no real-time direct communications between remote auditors and operators are possible, operators could explain to the on-site auditors while being recorded for remote auditors to review later. The audit records in these situation would include photos, audio and video records, screen shots of various network communication tools that could be kept as objective audit evidence, and all information obtained remotely should be handled according to confidentiality provisions.    

 

Audit report for “On-site + remote” audit and the follow-up on the nonconformity corrections

 

The audit report of the “on-site + remote” model is primarily the same as for the regular on-site audit. But the report needs to address the communication technologies and methods used in the audit, and the related potential audit risks as well as the uncertain factors during the audit that might impact the audit conclusions, for example potential information leak due to communication technologies, the limitations of the audit tools, and possibly insufficient audit depths and on-site observations. 

 

Network communication technologies could also be used to track and validate the corrections of nonconformities discovered during the audit and the follow-up improvement, in order to help with and improve the audit effectiveness.


Supervision of the “on-site + remote” audit 


The supervision of the “on-site + remote” audit focuses on the content, methods, frequency and the skills of the use of audit tools by the auditors. It covers supervisions of the entire process and all activities of the implementation of the “on-site + remote” audit plan, including the application software, hardware, the cooperation of the auditee, the audit report and the follow-up nonconformity corrections and improvement, as well as the auditor’s capability. The auditors are the key in the implementation of the “on-site + remote” audit, and are therefore the focus of the supervision. The capabilities and performance of all other participants in the audit should also be supervised.


During the “on-site + remote” audit, the members of the audit teams and other participants (including the staff of the auditee) should be capable of applying the network communication technologies as well as obtaining audit evidence. Therefore auditors are usually trained and evaluated before the “on-site + remote” audits to ensure that they possess the necessary knowledges and skills, and only those qualified could join the audit.   


The fact that the clients could not be physically present with face-to-face communications has increased the difficulties of comprehensive observations of the on-site activities and the workload of communication with the auditee. Therefore the performance of the auditors in such audits should periodically be fully observed and evaluated, to make sure that auditors have the proper organization, coordination and implementation skills, and information, records and reports are collected and handled effectively, objectively and authentically.



(To be continued)



By Felix SS YUAN

2

Automotive Lamp


Automotive lamps are an indispensable and important part of modern vehicles. They not only provide functions of lighting and sending signals, but also have to match the entire exterior design. Therefore, in the manufacturing process of the automotive lamps, there are not only requirements for the performance of the lamps, but also strict requirements for their appearances.


Classifications

  • The automotive lamps that provide lighting: headlamp, front fog lamp, indoorceiling lamp, reading lamp, etc.

  • The lamps that send signals: turn signal lamp, parking lamp, brake lamp, various interior work and signal indicator lamp.

  • Lamps based on light sources: vacuum incandescent lamp, halogen incandescent lamp, xenon lamp and LED lamp.


Critical quality controls

In general lamps are mainly composed of lamp shell, light distribution mirror, reflector, decorative ring, lens, bulb (lamp bead), wire harness, control circuit board and other components.


  • For injection molded parts such as lamp shell, the key production factors include: raw materials for injection molding, coordination of moving and fixed molds, screw diameter, injection pressure, pressure holding time, etc. If these are not implemented in accordance with the standards and the processes are not locked, pass rate of injection molded parts will be greatly reduced, the appearance will not meet the standard, and the reliability of the components could not be guaranteed which would result in a series of problems, such as buckle fracture, light distribution mirror cracking, and fog test exceeding the standard and so on.


  • For aluminum-plated parts such as light distribution mirror, reflector and lens, the cleanliness of aluminum plating environment, pre-treatment of blank parts and the matching compatibility between aluminum-plating fixture and parts shall be ensured. Otherwise it will also cause problems such as falling off and cracking of the aluminized layer.


  • For the assembly of lamps, especially the headlights: track control of glue distribution process, flame pre-treatment before glue distribution, inflation pressure and pressure holding time of air tightness test are critical. Any process error will lead to problems such as water ingress and fogging of headlights.




By Patrick H HAN

3

Product Realization

 

Product realization is a term used in ISO 9001:2015. It covers planning, implementation and control from product design to delivery.


ISO9001:2015 product realization provides clear and certifiable standards for the process of bringing a product to market, including:

  • Determining quality objectives for the product;

  • Determining requirements for the product;

  • Identifying processes required to achieve conformance;

  • Establishing processes required to achieve conformance;

  • Identifying documents to demonstrate conformance;

  • Identifying resources required to achieve conformance;

  • Maintaining and retaining documented information.


Based on the above approach, the product could be objectively determined if it has been “realized” and how efficient the process has been.



4

Cost of raw materials:

Exchange rates:

USD/RMB: 1:6.3983



EUR/RMB: 1:7.3768



RUB/RMB: 1:0.0890




November 2021


 Remark: Exchange rates are 30-day average from October 23 to November 22

                                                            The above information is for reference only


5

China Supply Chain Alert


Over the past couple of weeks, we have witnessed ageneral price decline with many commodities and raw materials for the automotive industry, for example, aluminum, copper, grey iron and scrap steel. 


While these are much welcomed relieves for the manufacturers, they have not yet been translated in reductions in product costs to international buyers, and there are already signs that the declining has slowed down, and some prices are even showing an uptick.

 

While much of the movements are results of the recent developments in the market, such as the electricity cut which lead to suppressed demand, the general market dynamic is still very complicated and the situation could change quickly, and we continue to receive reports of much extended delivery schedules at many aftermarket spare parts suppliers and also price increases by some.

 

With the coming of the year-end holiday seasons in the US and Europe, and the annual holiday period of the Chinese New Year starting on the 1st of February this year, there are still a lot of uncertainties in the market.



Automechanika Shanghai 2021 has been postponed

 

The annual major trade event for the automotive industry, Automechanika Shanghai (AMS) 2021 which is scheduled to run from the 24th to the 27th of November in Shanghai, has been postponed due to concerns of the spread of COVID-19. No firm date of the new schedule is announced.





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 bi-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 qms@shentou.com. Click here to subscribe.

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