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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Another China Toy Recall made in China. When will it end? And why is it happening in the first place? There's a lot of talk about increasing inspections, as we hear with the issues surrounding tainted food and pet food. But, for the 1,000,000th time, you can't inspect quality into a product. You can weed out a select few items that are bad, or don't meet standards or specifications, but that's not the solution to the problem. The companies that are importing the products blame the manufacturers. That's certainly no solution either.

What's needed is a comprehensive management plan that includes detailed specifications for all products. That may include chemicals and additives that are allowed and those that are not. The importers, also known as customers to the manufacturers, need to work more closely with their suppliers. Create partnerships, not necessarily financial partnerships, but working relations partnerships. If necessary, work with the suppliers to develop modern and sophisticated management systems, that include dynamic and reliable quality management systems. The big boys, like WalMart, Target, and others have a lot of influence. Don't try to muscle or threaten your suppliers, but work with them for mutual benefit. Many Chinese manufacturers are very sophisticated and have management employees with Western management education and training. Use that talent, support it, and enhance it. Send some people over to your suppliers to develop, in concert, the types of systems that are needed to prevent problems from entering the supply chain, not to try to inspect them out at the end of the chain.

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