Vol. 5, No. 10, October 2021


Factory Audits & Quality Inspections 
During & Post COVID-19:

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

(Continued from the last issue)

▌Planning of “On-site + Remote” Audit Program

“On-site + Remote” audits refer to on-site audits at the suppliers by Chinese audit service companies commissioned by the international buyers who also participate in the audits simultaneously with real-time internet connection. For this audit model, audit planning is the most critical part of audit implementation, as there are many aspects that need to be communicated in advance, such as the accuracy and authenticity of sampling, the ease of communication, the coordination of the audit process, the information security, etc. It is very important to plan ahead of the audit to ensure the smooth implementation and effectiveness of the audit.

Confirmation of the audited suppliers’ basic information

In order to ensure the smooth implementation of the “On-site + remote” audit, the basic information of the audited suppliers (new suppliers) should be fully understood and communicated before the audit, in order to avoid, control and reduce the audit risks. Key audit elements, difficulties, uncertain factors and risks of the audit should be determined, such as key processes, product characteristics, process characteristics, etc. in regard to quality, to make sure that more audit resources are allocated to key areas or activities during the implementation of the audit plan, to ensure the adequacy of the audit, and to realize the effectiveness of the audit results.

Preparation of audit tools and identification of audit team members

The preparation of “on-site + remote” audit tools should use the network communication tools provided by the audited suppliers as much as possible to ensure the security of information. Usually, the tools used include software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WeChat, etc.; hardware such as smartphones, camera equipment, wearable devices, network equipment, portable computers, servers, etc. The facilities and equipment used are calibrated and debugged in advance to determine confidentiality requirements and other information, and necessary contingency plans should be in place. In addition, in order to ensure the authenticity of the audit, it is necessary to confirm the suppliers’ participants with the audited suppliers in advance, the staff who would use the “on-site +remote” audit tool should also be pre-trained.

Documents could be transmitted by the same audit tools which should be indicated in the plan. Members of the audit team, participants from the audited suppliers and translators also need to be confirmed and announced in advance.

Audit planning

For the preparation of the “on-site + remote” audit plans, we need to fully communicate with the audited suppliers in advance according to the audit types requested by the customers and the characteristics of the products purchased by the customers. We need to analyze and determine the process and product characteristics identified in the control plans provided by the suppliers, and plan the areas, processes, and products of the audits. Based on the content prepared in the audit plans we determine the audit focuses and the audit resources required and summit the audit plans to the overseas customers for them to choose the time and the part or parts of the areas, processes and products to be audited during the live sessions they plan to participate. The audit plan is finalized based on the phases of the audits that the customers choose to participate that are also confirmed by the audited supplier.

The “on-site + remote” audit plans should specify the scope of the audit using network communication technologies, including the specific places and time, process names, activity names, related information, communication equipment and technical and audit personnel. The audit plans should strictly follow the information security and data protection measures and rules agreed to by both parties.

In order to ensure the effective implementation and reduce or shorten the waiting time during the audit, the audited supplier should be required to make adequate preparations for the following matters.

A. Quality manuals, procedure documents, work instructions, inspection specifications, records, etc. that may be involved;
B. Control documents and related verification records of process characteristics that may be involved;
C. Control documents and inspection records of product characteristics that may be involved;
D. The audited supplier’s organizational objectives, process performance, and completion status;
E. Product development documents and records that many relate to products purchased by the customer;
F. Statistical analysis of customer satisfaction surveys and customer complaints on related products;
G. The audited supplier should provide the audit team with remote audit sites and staff equipped with knowledge of network communication technology services.

(To be continued)

By Felix SS YUAN


Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

The function of the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is to filter the diesel particulate matter (PM), also known as soot, out of the exhaust gas. The filter traps any matter larger than one micron while allowing the gas through. Over time, soot builds up in the DPF. Eventually this causes back pressures which is detected by the Engine Control Unit (ECU), causing regeneration within the DPF. Regeneration requires high exhaust temperatures of 570°C-750°C. Combining high temperature and a unique mix of precious metals wash coat, the substrate turns soot into ash and the DPF is now regenerated and ready for use.

▌Primary failure mode
The pores are blocked, the substrate is damaged, the collection efficiency is poor, and the regeneration capability and service life are insufficient.

▌Main reasons for the failures
   1. The main reasons for the clogging of the pores and the damage of the substrate are improperly designed strength of the formula, insufficient impact strength caused by the incorrect production process parameters, and insufficient resistance to cold and heat shock;
   2. The poor collection efficiency is mainly caused by low porosity and small specific surface area;
   3. Insufficient regeneration capability and service life are mainly caused by unreasonable catalyst design, coating level and pore size distribution.

▌Critical quality controls
For the production of the DPF substrate, the critical factor is whether the producer has sufficient capabilities in material formulations and process design and development.

Overall, the DPFmanufacturers’ material development capabilities, process realization capabilities, product testing, and calibration capabilities are all key quality control points.



Process & Product Characteristics

Process characteristics, as related to product characteristics, identify process variables and parameters, which when controlled, reduce variation found in product characteristics. Samples of process characteristics include pressure, mold temperature, force, RPM, tool speed, etc.

Product characteristics describe the state of the part after a particular operation is completed and identifies important customer requirements, such as length, width, tensile strength, hardness, etc.

Some of the process and product characteristics are further designated as Key Characteristics and identified in the Control Plan.


Cost of raw materials:

Exchange rates:

USD/RMB: 1:6.4384

EUR/RMB: 1:7.4928

RUB/RMB: 1:0.0890

October 2021

Remark: Exchange rates are 30-day average from September 26 to October 25
The above information is for reference only


China Supply Chain Alert

The electricity consumption controls are still in effect in many places in China after the October 1st National Day Holidays. We continue to receive reports that factories’ production days are being cut short.

One recent key development is the raise of electricity prices which have been under strict regulations. One of the main reasons behind the electricity shortage has been the loss incurred by the power companies due to price controls when they sell electricity that are generated from coal. The prices of electricity have now been allowed to be adjusted up to 20% in most provinces. Naturally, this will lead to the increase of production costs of affected factories, and indeed, many factories have announced temporary suspensions of order taking or general price increases.

Not all factories have been impacted, however, some large companies or medium-sized factories in certain provinces or cities have been spared from the electricity controls and are able to maintain normal products and deliveries.

Automechanika Shanghai 2021

The major annual event for the global automotive aftermarket community, the Automechanika Shanghai 2021, is scheduled to take place from the 24th to the 27th of November, 2021, at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai.

Since this year’s show would still be open to people already in China, there will be an upgraded Automechanika Shanghai Live platform, alongside the physical show, so international buyers who are not able to come could still conduct networking and sourcing remotely.

As usual, Shentou will still be exhibiting at Booth # 3E43. We look forward to meeting you!

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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