Factory auditing is essential in today’s manufacturing environment, where products are shipped all over the world and meet varying compliance standards across different regions of the globe. If you’re considering sending your products to an overseas manufacturer, it’s critical that you have them thoroughly inspected before shipping so you know exactly what you’re getting. Let’s go over the different types of factory auditing services available to help you decide which one would be best for your situation.
1) Onsite Quality Audits
The first type of factory audit focuses on factory quality. If your business is producing or selling large numbers of products, conducting an onsite quality audit can be a smart way to ensure that your company isn’t losing money on poor-quality items. These audits tend to cost more than other types, but they can provide you with detailed information about every aspect of your product manufacturing process, including any issues that need to be addressed. Depending on how much work needs to be done, these inspections may take several days and should always be performed by professionals. Onsite Quality Audits are great for verifying production effectiveness and making sure all pieces are functional before releasing them for sale or shipment. They’re also helpful in detecting any flaws that may impact the end-user quality or customer satisfaction.
2) Pre-Production Audits
Many factories already use pre-production audits to ensure they are on track to create what is ordered. This type of audit is sometimes free of charge, but it is worth your while to verify if it will be before you pay for any of these services. Pre-production audits involve factory workers inspecting parts and ensuring that everything is made correctly before assembly begins. It is vital that you know what to look for during a pre-production audit so you can communicate with factory employees more effectively. Make sure your supplier can provide samples at each step of production for regular pre-production audits, as well as samples on demand for impromptu requests.
3) Post Production Audits
Post-production auditing is a form of factory auditing, and it’s typically used by manufacturers who need to know what is actually happening on site. Post-production audits come in two varieties: routine and interim. It’s possible to receive both types at any time during or after your production run, and it all depends on what kind of audit you want to be able to give your clients. Routine post-production audits occur regularly throughout an entire production cycle (typically once per month). Interim post-production audits are conducted at specific times throughout a product’s lifecycle—such as when a product fails or undergoes modifications—and should only take place when necessary.
4) Legal Factory Audits
Factory audits have a multitude of purposes. When something is being produced in a factory, there are certain safety and health regulations that must be met for it to be sold legally. An audit can ensure that all laws and rules are being followed, thereby preventing legal issues from arising during the production or distribution of a product. Audits also verify quality control measures have been established and followed by factory employees to ensure they’re doing their jobs correctly. Another common reason for an audit is to make sure company resources aren’t being used inappropriately by workers, such as borrowing factory equipment for personal use or going through supplies meant for one job and using them on another without permission from management.
5) Product Testing
Before your factory goes into production, it’s important to test products and materials to make sure they meet your specifications. This also helps ensure that clients will be happy with their orders and is useful for measuring quality control in your supply chain. However, conducting product testing on a small scale can be prohibitively expensive. Instead, consider outsourcing your quality-control efforts to an auditing firm that has relationships with factories around China—and other parts of Asia—with which you are not directly partnered or affiliated. The auditor will do a full product audit for you, while also giving you insights into other factories in its network.
6) Environmentally Friendly Factory Audits
If you’re concerned about factory compliance to environmental regulations, an audit might be a good idea. They typically involve checking to make sure that air and water emissions are within acceptable limits, but can also include other factors like employee health and safety or working conditions. When factories are audited, it means they’re likely abiding by environmental laws—which means your products won’t be tainted with chemicals or made in sweatshops. If you’re importing goods from overseas, there’s no better way to ensure that your finished products are pure than by having them independently verified by an accredited third party.
7) Ethical Factory Audits
A factory audit is a form of due diligence that helps small businesses ensure they are working with ethical manufacturers. These types of audits also help companies determine if their manufacturing sites are environmentally friendly. There are many auditing agencies that specialize in factory audits like ISO 9001, ISO 16949 audit based on predetermined criteria. As part of an environmental audit, these agencies provide detailed reports about potential risks to workers and to your brand’s reputation if you continue using suppliers who violate health and safety laws. This type of report can help you weed out potentially unethical manufacturers before they become liabilities for your business.