Vol. 3, No. 4, April 2019


Case study of quality issues in product development, production, packing & transportation (I)

A great number of automotive spare parts, in different series, models, quantities and packaging produced by the Chinese auto parts manufacturers on orders by international buyers, are being shipped to their destinations by sea, trains or other transportation methods every day. Other than the potential quality problems in the product development and production process, the overall qualities of the procurements are also impacted by the risks in their packing and transportation because of their different models, quantities, and packaging.

Starting from this issue, we will share with you some typical cases involving qualities in product development, production, packing and transportation that we have observed and some experienced over the years. The international buyers could reduce these quality risks by improving and optimizing the process and capability of communications with the suppliers and thereby minimize the risks and costs of China procurement.

Case One: Quality issues in the development, production, packing and transportation of aftermarket brake drums

Issue Description(1): A professional supplier of commercial vehicle spare parts with over ten-year experience in supplying aftermarket brake drums to European and American customers has experienced various quality issues over the years that involve product packing and transportation, such as damaged packages, rust products, broken pallet feet, tilted pallets, wrong models, product deformation, incorrect labels, pallet marking different than the actual product models, etc. Occasionally, they’ve also had problems where the quantities on the packing list did not match the actual quantities ordered, resulting in extra charges from processing by Customs.

Case Analysis: The product at issue is brake drum. After the finished products have passed inspections, the drums are spray painted, dried, placed on drums in layers, and then shrink-wrapped with kraft paper and/or plastic films. Due to the different weight, sizes and quantities of each drum model, one of the pre-conditions to reduce damages to drum packing in transit is a reasonable packing and loading plan. Upon examining purchase and sales contracts associated with customer complaints, we have noticed that other than some customers who provided drawings for their purchase, very few specified requirements such as the product performance, appearance, packing and shipping methods in the contracts.

For the issues of packing damage, the following could be considered for packing requirements:
√The thickness of the wrapping film, the number of wrapping layers and the wrapping forces should be standardized;
√Consider to add a layer of kraft paper around the pallet as inner packing before shrink-wrapping;
√Specify the materials, thickness and sizes of the top spacer of pallets;
√Check the material, thickness and gaps of the wooden strips used to make the pallets;
√The length, width and height of products placed on pallets could be grouped. Pallets of the same size and height are placed on the same layer to ensure there are no gaps between the pallets so they wouldn’t become tilted, or protective fillers could be added in the gaps.

For the issues of damaged pallet feet, the following requirements could be raised:
√The pallet feet should be high enough to allow the two forklift arms to be inserted for handling;
√Make sure the pallet feet are made with whole pieces of wood. If they are made with layered plywood, check how the feet are securely attached to the pallets;
√Attentions should also be given to the numbers of the feet used and their locations on the pallets.

(To be continued)

by Felix SS YUAN


Nitrogen oxygen sensor

Nitrogen oxygen sensor (NOx Sensor) is mainly used to measure the concentration of NOx in automobile exhaust, providing the basis for the injection quantity of urea solution in the SCR after-treatment system, so that the NOx content in the automobile exhaust gas can meet the emission standards

Primary failure mode:
1. Probe breakdown: primarily due to ceramic cracking caused by manufacturing defects or water interaction with high temperature
2. Control unit damage: the electronic components are damaged with electricity or voltage overload, or the control unit seal is broken.

Key quality control points:
1. Stress relief process
2. Semi-finished product testing
3. Power on hours of the assembled products

Special note: with remanufactured NOx Sensor available in the market, the zero shift and long-term output shift could be out of specs and fail to meet the requirements of new or OEM units.

by Andy RS ZHANG


Process Audit

Process audit is one of the three main types of quality audits.

Defined by ISO 9000:2015, a process is a set of interrelated or interacting activities that use inputs to deliver an intended result, such as a product or service. According to the process approach to quality management systems, a desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.

In automotive manufacturing, a Control Plan is typically used to ensure product quality by monitoring the processes and assure that any improvements are maintained over the life cycle of the product.

A process audit evaluates a process against predetermined instructions or standards and verifies its conformance to these standards and the effectiveness of the instructions.


Cost of raw materials:
Exchange rates:

USD/RMB: 1:6.71

EUR/RMB: 1:7.54

RUB/RMB: 1:0.10

April 2019

The above information is for reference only


Labor Day Holiday

The 1st May Labor Day in 2019 falls on a Wednesday. The original official holiday calendar was for a single-day holiday on the 1st of May, yet the government has later changed that to a 4-day period, from Wednesday 1st to Saturday the 4th. The normal working days of Thursday and Friday are moved to the previous Sunday, 28th of April and the next Sunday 6th of May. Many private organizations or companies however still stick to the single-day holiday schedule.

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 Click here to subscribe.

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