Manufacturing Control

The production processes your China factory uses have a direct impact on the quality of your products and the timely delivery of your shipment. Unresolved production issues can give rise to a number of problems, from frequent downtime and quality discrepancies to low worker morale and late deliveries. With Maple Sourcing, you can rest assured that your products are being produced at a factory that has process controls in place. This is in addition to our quality inspection service that maintains oversight over your products at all stages of production.

Overview of manufacturing control

Manufacturing involves putting multiple inputs through production processes that transform and add value to them, and result in a product. In a manufacturing control system, the production processes to be carried out are executed according to a plan. The aim is to make a finished product to a pre-determined standard.

A manufacturing control system considers various elements of the manufacturing process, including:

Process inputs: Anything that goes into making the product is an input. Raw materials, electricity, water and energy are all inputs. Some variation across batches of raw materials is normal and not an issue if it falls within permissible limits.

Controllable variables: Aspects of production that can be controlled, such as machine settings, are monitored by the factory. For example, in an injection moulding process, controllable variables include the hydraulic pressure, injection pressure, mould open time, screw rotation time and injection velocity, to name some.

Uncontrollable variables: There will be some variation between the machines used by the factory and workers’ performance. Some factory workers may be faster or more detail oriented than others. Slight discrepancies in performance are also possible between different shifts, in which one group of workers takes over from the other at set periods of time.

Process outputs: Apart from the products, there are other types of process outputs such as yield, production rate, capacity, and downtime. A factory’s yield is the percentage of all non-defective items produced. Production rate is the number of items that can be produced in a given time. Capacity refers to the total volume of products that the factory can make using their current resources. Downtime is also a process output as it is caused by problems or shortages in process inputs.

It is important to check whether the factory has:
· A mechanism to control production inputs,
· The quality (product/yield) and capability (capacity/production rate) to meet your sourcing needs, and
· Process evaluation and improvement plans to minimize downtime and discrepancies in performance

Maple Sourcing is committed to helping you find a reliable China factory that exercises strict control over its production processes. The sourcing journey starts by identifying a factory that has the capability to make your custom product. Here is a look at the services we provide that allow us to connect you the right contract manufacturer.

Our Services

When you choose Maple Sourcing you get full support and assistance from day one. Here is a look at what you can expect when you engage us to turn your idea or invention into a successful product.

Product Prototyping

Gathering primary information about your products and required services is a first step. After you supply the concept or initial drawings, we can prepare the prototype, improve it based on your feedback, and move to production. If you already have a prototype ready, we can proceed to making a sample as proof of the factory’s ability to manufacture your products.

To be as clear as possible about your product requirements, we suggest that you provide the product description, photo and videos (if possible), and a breakdown of the products if different models, colors or sizes will be required. Provide a physical sample so the factory can touch and feel the product for a better understanding. At our end, we will translate your requirements to the factory.

Sample Preparation

The factory makes the initial sample of your product or what is commonly called the 'golden sample'. After you sign off on the moulding sample, we can proceed to production.

Compliance Check

Factories that have a manufacturing control system are generally able to mass produce items that have consistent quality and a low rate of defects. They are also able to minimize downtime and make the most of their current resources.

Before work begins on your product, we check whether the required manufacturing inputs are in place. We talk to the factory manager and confirm that everything is in order. It is important that production begins at the expected time and another order isn't given priority over yours. This is a possibility if a different client has placed a large order or one of the factory's long-term clients has an urgent request.

We ensure that your order is not pushed back. After the initial check, your product is ready to be made to the specified order quantity.

Production Follow-Up

Following-up on your order is critical. As we've already explained, there are some uncontrollable variables that can affect product quality. An issue with the machine can cause quality variations across product batches that are outside acceptable limits. In this case, we will have to talk to the factory manager and get to the root of the problem. Is it because of a new worker that is still being trained to operate the machines? Is the machine using the wrong setting, which can affect one or more features of your product?

Manufacturing Checks

Implementing manufacturing control is the factory's job. But the buyer should also be involved in the process to the extent possible in their role. Initially, it is done through a factory audit. Later, quality inspections must be performed at various points during production.

Maple Sourcing has a team of quality control professionals that conduct product checks at three stages:

1. In-process inspection: The quality inspector inspects a few pieces from the first few batches. It confirms that the right moulding sample has been used and the product has turned out as expected. We station one of our inspectors at the factory. The inspector verifies quality and that the factory is on schedule to deliver your products on time.

2. Pre-shipment inspection: As the in-process inspection enables any defects to be rectified at an early stage, it is unlikely for major quality problems to be discovered after your order is complete. However, we conduct another round of inspection of your manufactured products before they're shipped.

3. Container loading check: This final check confirms product quantity and packaging, container conditions and shipping documents.

Package Customization

Maple Sourcing caters to start-ups and established businesses seeking China manufacturing solutions for custom designs. The customization extends to the packaging and boxing of your products. If you have any special needs for delicate items or if your product needs to be packed in a certain way, we can fulfil this requirement across your entire order.

We request you to share all the details about your product and its packaging at an early stage. This is to avoid any confusions or errors bound to result from unclarified misunderstandings around requirements. The agreement you sign with the manufacturer will contain your product requirements, and legal obligations as well as those of the factory, as explained below.

Manufacturing Agreement

Your patented idea must be protected in China, by registering your intellectual property here. If you intend to source a single manufacturer to make your product (contract manufacturing), then you also need to prepare an NNN agreement, the Chinese equivalent of the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). An NNN agreement protects in three specific ways:

Non-use: The non-use clause prevents the manufacturer from using your product or idea in a way that competes with you.

Non-circumvention: The non-circumvention clause forbids the manufacturer from selling your product to your customers at a lower price.

Non-disclosure: The non-disclosure clause prohibits the manufacturer from disclosing your protected information to a third-party.

The NNN agreement needs to be bilingual, written in Chinese and English. It will serve as a legal and business tool in the following ways:

- Protect your moulds, brand, trademark, patent, and product
- Prevent your manufacturer from becoming your competitor
- Prevent your manufacturer from making your products known to others
- Provide for liquidated damages in the event of a breach of contract
- Convey to the manufacturer that you understand how to do business in China
- Make your start-up appear more credible before the manufacturer

A proper manufacturing agreement will also keep the manufacturer on their toes. They will resist prioritizing other orders over you or taking shortcuts to make products faster but at the cost of quality. It is a natural business instinct to give more attention to customers that have placed large orders or promised to get all their products made by the same factory. Regardless of how the factory makes decisions, they shouldn't affect your products and customer commitments in any way. By legally enforcing the responsibilities of both parties, the NNN agreement goes a long way in avoiding unethical or irresponsible behaviors.

Talk to Us

Get in touch with us to find a China factory that controls and produces products to high quality standards. We look forward to hearing from you.   

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