With June 1st Children's Day approaching, many parents will buy their children puzzles toys as gifts, which is regarded as educational and parental relationship promoting. Contemporarily with the development of China, LEGO’s sales maintain double-digit growth consecutively in China. LEGO Group's earnings report in 2016 has pointed out that the company's revenue in China increased rapidly by double-digit growth, while the previous report in 2015 showed that revenue grew 40% year in China market, about twice the global average growth rate. Besides, the market segments of LEGO has been more small compared to the initial development period, and the themes as well as sizes are broad. But how to make consumers like it and inspire the sense of accomplishment and desire of further challenge after they once buy and build one structure immediately? A detailed assembly guide is vital. A good assembly guide can allow a 3-year-old child who only learn numbers to assemble fragmented dozens of various building blocks into a unique small building or a vivid roadster. There is no doubt that the writers have tried their best.
这不禁让我想起了工厂内每天基本的作业需要用到的流水线作业指导书。每家企业在制定作业指导书时总是反复强调目标是确保动手能力和理解能力最差的人都能参照作业指导书一次性加工出合格的产品。但实际结果往往是不如人意，很多新员工要花费很长的时间来完全理解作业指导书的内容，有时作业指导书与实际也不一致，在中国待了10多年的美国咨询专家Renaud Anjoran是这么说的“难道作业员们在主管们演示给他们作业方法后仍然不会做吗？ 是的，的确如此。我们发现很多质量问题的根本原因在于不完善的作业指引及不够细致的现场培训。因此，要获得最佳的效果，派一个工程师去观察作业流程，准备作业指导书（如果可行的话同作业员工一起），并培训他们如何使用”。早期我也是亲自编过作业指导书给员工使用的，后来做国外的项目转移到国内（本土化生产），也翻译并一步一步培训过国外使用的作业指导书给员工使用，其实很多时候也清楚在很多的工厂，作业指导书的要点并没有很好的解释给员工。
This reminds me of the assembly line work instruction used in everyday basic work in factory. Each company, when producing the work instruction, repeatedly stresses that the goal is to ensure that the staff with poorest operation and comprehension ability can process the acceptable products after referring to the work instruction. However, the actual results are often unsatisfactory since it takes many new employees long time to fully understand the contents of the work instructions. What’s more, sometimes operating instructions and the actual work are not consistent. US consultant Renaud Anjoran, who has stayed more than 10 years in China, says: "Won’t the operators know what to do after their leader has shown them? Well, not always. We have found poor work instructions and poor training on the shop floor to be the root cause of many quality issues. So, to get the best results, send an engineer to observe processes, prepare WIs (if possible, together with the workers), and train operators to apply them.” At earlier time, I had written the work instruction for workers, and later during project transformation to China (localization), I also translated the work instruction and trained local workers step by step. In fact, it is clear that at most time the key points of work instruction have not been well explained to workers in many factories.
If one person has visited too many factories, then he/she will have good intuition , knowing only at a glance whether the factory take the work instruction as a form or in real implementation. Like the old saying, devils are in details. For example, are the work instruction applied for a wide product ranges or each product model specifically? Does It has a good structure and layout? Is it revised in the last 2 years, or never? Are there any confirmation of examination and approval? Has it ever been read by others? Is it hanged horizontally or vertically to present to the staff for easy reading? Are details included?
According to the definition of Baidu Encyclopedia, “work instruction” is the standard for correct guidance of standard work procedures to work operators. Work instructions are based on the parts table and the work combination. With the order of the work, it means to specify the key points of work, safety and quality related to each staff. It records the machine configuration of a person's work, the cycle time, the operations sequence, the standard stock level, and specific methods of quality inspection in different places. If the operator works in accordance with the work instruction, he or she will be able to actually, quickly and safely complete the operation. ” With my personal experience, there are at least the following notes:
1. The working instruction is also a procedure, but its object is a specific activity, while the object of procedure describes systematic quality activities.
Procedures are often involved in multi-functions, multi-positionss and multi-links, but the work instructions are more concerned only with a part of the procedure; procedures emphasize the interaction of the process, functions and coordination required. Work instruction, which is a supplement to the procedure, highlights the details, methods and the standard. Secondly, the working standard of a job is different from the work instruction, it is the standard for the responsibility, rights, scope, quality requirements, procedures, effects, inspection methods, appraisal, reward and punishment methods and other aspects of work. It may have similarities with the work instructions, but the content of its emphasis is different. Not all of the instructions are required to specify the duties, authority, appraisal and rewards and punishments and other content; in turn the conditions and standards that should be included in work standard is not necessarily in work instruction.
2. Not necessarily every station or every job requires a written work instruction, but the principle is if " the consistency of quality can not be guaranteed without a work instruction”, then it is necessary.
Many staff or even the factory managers think that the employee has been working at a specific position for a long time and very familiar with the job, but often another employee he / she may not understand well. So I often ask a question, "How long do you think a new employee needs to be familiar with this job?" And a good work instruction is an effective way to shorten this period. The most typical example is the warehouse, without a clear work instruction and 5S, how long will it take for a new worker to remember chaotic warehouse location and inventory numbers?
3. A good operation instruction not only directs the employee to produce the right product, but also contains the idea of lean production – how to produce efficiently and minimize waste.
很多的企业改作业指导书叫SOP （Standard Operation Procedure or Standard Operation Picture),说明清晰的图片是必不可少的。线路板厂的作业指导书基本都能满足图文并茂，但提到细节，却往往列不齐常见的焊锡不良示例，而且很多图片是能小就小，直到小到打印出来就基本看不清到底想表达什么了，其实作为已经相当成熟的行业，只需要从线路板的行业验收标准里截取出那些高清的图片来用于编制作业指导书就够了。其次作业指导书需要包含 标准工时，线平衡，工装夹具，人力需求，人机工程学，品质控制的要点及曾经的失效点，产线的设计，物料的需求规格及数量，物料的配送方式及产品的物流路线，以及基本的5S要求等等。
Many companies refer to the operating instructions as SOP (Standard Operation Procedure or Standard Operation Picture), which indicates that clear pictures are indispensable. Operation procedures of circuit board factories generally can meet the basic requirements of illustrations. However, when it comes to the details, they often fail to list all the bad examples of soldering, and many pictures are too small to be seen after being printed out. In fact, in the quite mature industry, it is enough to take the high definition pictures from the Acceptance Criteria of Circuit Board Industry for the preparation of operating procedures. Secondly, the work instructions need to include standard working time, line balance, fixture, manpower requirements, ergonomics, quality control points and the point of former failures, production line design, material specifications and quantity requirements, material distribution and Product logistics routes, as well as the basic 5S requirements and so on.
4. Safety is the top priority of all operations, but it is often the easiest one to be overlooked.
经常开玩笑说在欧美的酒店里，电视机打开的第一个画面是教客人如遇火险如何逃生，而在国内的大多数酒店则是酒店的宣传片和广告。同样国外的很多作业指导书是将安全注意事项放在每个步骤的第一条，而见过国内相当多的是没有安全注意事项或者在最传统的以文字形式描述岗位作业规范的文件里，它通常是最后一条 – 或许我们的思维方式一直就是相反的吧。
It is usually joked that in European and in American hotels, the first scene for guests to see on the TV is how to escape in the case of fire, but in most domestic hotels there are the hotel's promotional videos and advertisements. Similarly, In many foreign work instruction, the safety precautions are the first of each step, but in home, safety precautions are not included in a considerable number of work instructions, or in the most traditional way, in normative documents written with words, and the safety precautions are usually in the end – perhaps our way of thinking has always been the opposite from the foreigner's.
5. The documents for reference shall be specified in the work instruction.
In my opinion, product standard and engineering standard for reference should be specified in each work instruction, whether it is industry specification or customer specificically, just as the general tolerance needs to be shown in the graph paper. I have encountered a case that an universal bedside lamp is complained by customer due to crack of universal tube. However, the information like how many times to be tested and how to test in the production process has not been included in the work instruction. After careful study, it is found that the company has its engineering standards, but no one carefully read and write it into the work content. Similarly, the setting of the screw locking torque, the meaning of the torque value and the reason for its use are regulated actually but often not included.
6. The work instruction is a dynamic file that requires creative updates.
Work instructions are not based on talks by engineers in the air-conditioned rooms, but based on repeatedly practical operation, observation, and conclusion by operators. Secondly, as the basis for the revision, it is recommended to record some of the key traceability information to be used for update in the future, such as the requirements of temporary changes in the operation, the orders having actual changes and the steps that are complained by customers before trial production and stability. These information are recommended to be written on the either back side of work instruction or on the extra note page.
The development of technology has greatly promoted the convenience of human life on one hand, but causes reduction of intelligence on the other hand. Sellers of X Dong and X Bao try their best to film a series of operation steps and details of every product to customers, in order to prevent them from using the wrong products. Compared to LEGO toys, IKEA furniture is also known for its consideration for customers, because the design, and assembly guidelines are easy to understand. Even the size of the product illustrations in the guidelines is same as the real product, so that worldwide customers of different level can quickly operate. I believe that this should be the principle of the work instruction.
THANKS TO THE CONTRIBUTION OF TRANSLATION BY VOLUNTEER MS. DUMING HE (SYLVIA) FROM GUANGDONG UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES.
I come across a research paper over Supplier Lifecycle Management by PETER SMITH on www.spendmatters.com, which makes me feel not single though some idea are not exactly the same with what in my mind, and here is some excerpt to share with you.
"Now traditionally, we tend to look at procurement as being made up of two cycles- theStrategic Sourcing process (from research, through supplier selection to contracting and contract management) and the transactional or P2P process. They have various touch points with each other but can be considered fairly separately.
But our hypothesis in the new paper is that the two cycle approach misses a common and critical factor that runs through the entire procurement task – the supplier. Suppliers are seen almost as a passive recipient of actions, rather than a dynamic, central party to the whole process. That’s not very logical when choosing the best suppliers and managing their performance to obtain value and minimise risk forms the absolute bedrock of procurement success.
So we’re suggesting that a third process should be considered – the supplier cycle. and as we say in the Paper, this is “designed to manage the supplier throughout the entire lifecycle of the relationship should be high on the priority list for senior procurement executives. Clearly, the supplier lifecycle links with the other two cycles and is in fact, the common thread that binds the procure to pay and strategic sourcing processes together”.
And here is our definition of what we mean by Supplier Lifecycle Management.
We describe it as “an end-to-end, cradle to grave approach to managing suppliers in a transparent, structured and integrated manner”.
Perhaps more important is the purpose of SLM, which is: to recognise suppliers as a prime source of value to the organisation and deliver that value by putting them at the heart of procurement strategy and management.
It is different from Supplier Relationship Management, which focuses principally on post-contract strategic management of key suppliers; and from Supplier Information Management, which forms an important subset of SLM. And finally for today, here are the set of activities that form SLM, relating to “cradle to grave” supplier management:
- initial identification and engagement
- classification and qualification
- risk assessment and management (throughout the lifecycle, – not just a one-off event)
- sourcing and evaluation
- on-boarding and contract implementation
- contract and performance management
- supplier development and relationship management (SRM)
- spend analysis and reporting, and
The original article is posted at click link
In my idea the Supplier Lifecycle should be similar to either Product Lifecycle or Organization Lifecycle and detailed activities should be "grouped" into different phases.
I will share you more information soon.
A new optional course, International Purchasing, is launched at my alma mater, of which the professor is a man of influence in the field of purchasing in south China. He unites theory and practice and serves as the director of MBA business school. Although it is held every Saturday night for three hours, people come to attend the course in big class. Since an alumnus can have free access to this course, every Saturday I will drive to cover a round trip of 160 km between Dongguan and Guangzhou regardless of fatigue. Covering a single distance of 80 km at a speed of 100 km/h, it is reasonable that I arrive at my Alma Mater within one hour. But the actual amount of time often goes to two hours. Why such a low efficiency?
Time is only wasted in waiting before traffic lights, dragging, pausing and detouring. Waiting before traffic lights is an easy case to understand: It is typical of the nation to have a lot of traffic lights. The grounds on which the number or the shifting period of traffic lights is determined being unknown, people may wait for 30s somewhere but 3 minutes some other. Chances are large that you go through continual red lights once greeted by a first one, and vise versa. Dragging is necessary when an emergency occurs, be it poor eyesight at night, a traffic jam or a car breakdown ahead the road, caution for jaywalking pedestrians, uneven roads, driving uphill, etc. Pausing is the extreme case to dragging. It happens when the road ahead is blocked temperately, or the driver needs to go to the toilet or have a rest due to fatigue. Detouring includes two situations: taking a wrong way or a shortcut. Whereas taking a wrong way is an unintentional mistake, taking a shortcut is a purposeful choice to exchanging the distance for the time.
The driving case is the same with the operation of production lines in factories where also exist such kinds of waste. People will not encounter traffic lights on the freeway, which are only set outside the freeway ramps. Similarly, waiting is common in a project when things remain unsettled at their beginning stage, or when products are arranged in line to be manufactured sequentially since the capacity, as is the same with a road having a fixed width, has its limitation. Low production also happens at the beginning and ending hours of a day’s work, when a worker is relieved and another takes over, when unexpected errors occurs in the process of production, or when selection of materials out of defective ones is required. A pause in production line may arise due to scheduled intervals for rest, or problems that undermine the item of man, machine, material, method and environment. Reworking is similar to detouring, in which case a product may be fixed but the time will be definitely wasted.
Having read A Quick Qay of Lean Production recently, a professional novel written by Feng Wenliang, I have had some deeper understanding of the above issues. There are some points of view that are worth learning in the book.
1.河槽容纳的流量=淤泥等原因占据的流量 + 河槽的实际流量。而清淤只需要清理一些重点河段，就可以保持整条河道的畅通。
1. Gross river flow=space taken by sludge + net river flow. Dredging can be undertaken only at some major river segments in order to keep the whole river course smooth.
2. A labor force structure in workshops can be categorized into excessive workforce, short workforce or new comers. Disordered human resource information gives rise to many problems. A solution is to allocate personnel in several deployment lines which are variable in number and determined by the actual demand of product lines. All the spare workforce is enrolled in personnel deployment lines, ready to be employed by a product line. A deployment line also helps to train new workers.
3. The two most important working positions on a production line are the first position and the dynamic bottleneck position. Whereas the first position decides the capability, the dynamic bottleneck one, where work in process accumulate the most, decides digestion, fluency and the possibility to achieve the maximum capability
4. A good factory management calls for wiping out the root of problem first and then finding ways for reinforcement and optimization. The root of problem lies in how to achieve fast improvement, and ways for reinforcement and optimization includes various methods such as 5S, standardization and equipment maintenance. They are steps of importance although they may not bring out much direct economic benefits.
5. Stock is the root of all evil.
A road is like a river. Whereas a river calls for dredging in order to keep smooth, a road requires repairing. Sludge in a river is also similar to obstacles and mud on a road. Do you have the impression that a road remains uneven after repaired, with many holes uncovered? I remember that several years ago piles of gravels will be stacked up on a road from time to time for road paving or repairing. It is obvious that a car will not be able to drive at a high speed on such a road. In a neighbor country—India, there being no fences for a freeway which cattle and sheep can cross freely, speed is nothing but out of the question.
在国内的每条高速公路乃至普通公路上，往往都有多条车道可供驾驶，每条车道的限速可能不太一样，有的限80，有的限100，通常国内的最高速限到120KM/H，跑的快的走快车道，拉了货跑不起来的走慢车道，当然还可以再快慢车道间相互切换 – 这样就具有灵活性了。几年前一些大城市开始流行建设公交专用车道 – 公交快车道，甚至现在更加细化了，货车只能走那几条车道，那几条车道只能在限定时间段供校车行驶。
Freeways and even common roads at home provide different lanes for drivers to choose, each one varying in speed range. For example, whereas one lane may have the maximum speed of 80km/h, another may be 100km/h, and the highest speed at home is usually 120km/h. Cars that drive fast go on the fast lane, and lorries that carry full goods drive slow so they go on the slow lane. Sometimes you can swift between different lanes, which gives rise to flexibility. Several years ago, the bus lane—bus rapid transit, became popular in many big cities. Now things become more specific: lorries have exclusive access to some lanes, while some other are can only be occupied by school buses during a certain time.
Imagine that a sports car running on a normal road. Is it able to run fast? The answer is no. Unless it runs ahead of all the other cars for good, with not a single car in front of it being the obstacle. The logic also applies to the situation of a single car running on the circuit. Also imagine that each car occupying a station; isn’t it true that the speed of the first car sets the upper speed limit of cars running on the lane (when there are no other lanes for shifting)? Apart from that, once an emergency occurs somewhere on the road (dynamic bottleneck), traffic police shall be on the scene immediately; otherwise there will be a traffic jam (WIP).
It is necessary that the road be equipped with normative landmarks, clear road signs, HD cameras, beautiful shelter forest for noise and wide lanes, but the first concern shall be how to solve traffic jams, a logic which happens to coincide with the way the factory tries to solve its current problems.
What I can do to ease my dreariness in each week’s long marching is no more than improve my driving and reinforce my patience. What can employees do, then, in terms of factory management? The core lies in the recognition by the factory management of the “key minority”—the major points for improvement, the parts in the chain that add actual value and the places where the “sludge” lies. It would be better if the supplier management combines the knowledge and practice of quality and other aspects. Otherwise, he shall assist the factory to find ways for fast effects through quality management approach. We should know that the popularity of Lean Six Sigma lies in the integration of the concept of Lean and that of Six Sigma, the latter of which has to do with quality.
SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGE GIVEN TO MS.Wang Qian (Claire) FOR HER CONTRIBUTIONS OVER THE TRANSLATION.
I have got the honor to read a short article named “The Aesthetic Quality of a Product” written by Mr. Caims (Honggang Cai), which emphasizes that the differences between ‘Made in China’ and ‘Made in Germany’, to some degree, lie in design capability rather than manufacturing capability. The gap of design capability between China and Germany seems to be a generation, since China has just evolved from an agricultural country into an industrialized one; whereas Germany has extended from industrialization to service industry. Service industry, however, focuses on experience and feelings. Therefore, this transformation in Germany can be regarded as a so-called change from quantity to quality in leaps and bounds.
于我而言，这种感觉就是一种感性质量，或者美感。文章提到“现在诸如小米一类的公司在提倡设计的“温度感”，从实际的产出来说产品已经非常不错了。当有人纠结于iphone 6的屏幕和边框结合处可以卡进头发丝的时候，中国更多的手机消费者需要的只是一个有基本通话和简单娱乐功能的手机而已，零件之间接缝的大小完全是无关紧要的事情。而在价格上，二者实在是天壤之别。小米虽然号称高性价比，但是上千元的价格，已经是基数庞大的体力劳动者半个月到一个月的薪水了。”文章又引用中央音乐学院副院长周海宏主讲的《走进音乐的世界》来强调艺术对提升质量的意义 – 苹果对ipod背面的要求要像婴儿的屁股一样，如果用传统的对产品质量的定义，应该如何设计呢？
As far as I am concerned, this feeling is none other than a sort of emotional quality, or aesthetic feeling. The article stated that, “Nowadays, enterprises such as Chinese cellphone brand MIUI are promoting a 'sense of temperature' in their design. In terms of actual function, the product is really good. When some people struggle with the fact that a single hair could be caught in the juncture between the screen and frame of an Iphone6, much more consumers in China need nothing but a mobile phone with merely basic function of calling and entertaining. The size of the seam between components, to be honest, is nothing significant at all. Nevertheless, when it comes to price, the two brands phones are poles apart. Despite that MIUI claims that they are of high cost-efficiency, its price— about thousands of yuan— appears to be as much as the monthly or half the monthly salary of a great majority of manual workers.” Besides, the article referred to the lecture ‘Enter the World of Music’ given by Haihong Zhou, the Vice President of Central Conservatory of Music, to stress the significance of art improving quality – As everyone knows, Apple requires that the back of its iPod should be the same as the bottom of the infant. If we use the traditional definition of product quality, then how can we design it?
传统的对质量的定义在强调规范，规格，并尽量以文字和样品的形式来最小化理解上的差异，放在国外与国内的沟通上就显得尤为重要了。这些都是理性的定义，也是最基本的要求的传递，国内相当多的企业这个环节都还没有做到位。我时常听到德国的同事抱怨：“我们不是德国质量吗，怎么收到的是这种档次的产品”，经常我们开玩笑的回应：“你们需要买一辆汽车，并没有说要买BMW，所以我们交给你一辆BYD也没有错啊”。常见的国外与国内在产品质量上面的分歧在于颜色，一个笑话是说一个国外客户要求国内供应商将产品颜色做成蓝色，可是蓝色有很多种，实在是不好描述，最后国外的客户说按天空蓝的颜色，可是当他们收到货品的时候傻眼了，这不是天空蓝的颜色，反馈给国内，国内坚持认为他们就是按天空蓝的颜色生产的。后来国外的客户来到中国，他们才明白中国的天空蓝和国外的天空蓝不是同一个颜色 – 雾霾太大了。电镀的外观质量常常也是一个难以用文字界定的项目，于是有了样品，可是在样品生产出来之前又如何定义所期望的效果呢，表面的缺陷可以用外观检验卡，但是光泽度比较难统一，有人想了一个有趣的界定方法：最高等级的镜光需要能当镜子使用，看得清头发，其次需要看的清五官，再其次需要看得到轮廓。
The traditional definition of quality highlights standards and specifications, minimizing differences in understanding in the form of words and samples at the mean time, which presents to be especially vital when it comes to communication at home and abroad. In spite that these are all rational definitions and transmission of the most fundamental requirements as well, a considerable number of domestic enterprises fail to achieve them at this stage. I can always hear my German colleagues complaining that, “Aren’t we ‘German quality’? How can we receive product of such level?”. We often reply humourously that, “You just said you need to buy a car, but not a BMW, so it is no problem that we give you a BYD.” The most commonly seen divergence between home and foreign country lies in color, and there is a joke that can be illustrative of this point: a foreign client asked a domestic producer to make the product blue. Nevertheless, there are various kinds of blue so that it was indeed difficult to describe it. Finally, the client decided to use sky blue. However, they were astonished when they received the product, as the color was by no means the sky blue. Therefore, they sent a feedback to the domestic factory, only to be informed that the domestic factory insisting on that they have used the color of sky blue. Afterwards, the foreign client came to China, astounded to find that the sky blue in China is completely different from that in foreign countrie as a result of the thick haze. More often than not, the appearance quality of electroplating seems to be an item that can be hardly defined simply by words, which result in the appearance of samples, but how to define the expected effect before the production of samples? Defects in surface can be identified by the visual inspection card, yet it is gloss that proves to be hard to unite. Thus, someone comes up with an interesting method for defining: the mirror bright of the supreme level need to be used as a real mirror that can clearly reflect the hair, then the second level to reflect five facial features, and then the profile is seeable on the third level.
More often than not, rational definitions cannot solve irrational problems. One of my German colleagues often tells me a story of delicious food, “It is such a long distance for food evolving from inedible to edible, from preferred to delicate.” From a rational perspective, however, it seems to be difficult to perceive, as the function of food is almost the same if their nutritional ingredients are qualified under the inspection of bacteria contents. The sesame-seed cake was once regarded as a delicacy of the world when Yuanzhang Zhu (Hongwu Emperor) sought refuge, yet it was not any more when Zhu took the throne. Potherb that was once unwanted in villages is now acclaimed as treasure. The so-called delicious food is managed to generate pleasant feelings of people, which is known as aesthetics.
Likewise, the industrial products need upgrade in aesthetics from quality stability, to reliability, and then to superiority. This is the reason why industrial design should be included in the product besides mechanical design and electronical design. You will realize how crucial the artistic design is towards products when looking at the importance of the top award in industrial design— Red Dot Award. Industrial design, evidently, represents that more efforts should be paid on aesthetics on the basis of realizing the elementary function of a product.
Usually, there is a gap between sense and sensibility. This is the reason why a man and a woman quarrelling about whether to buy a good-looking laundry machine at 1600 yuan or to buy a less lovely one at 1400 yuan, as mentioned by President Zhou in his story. In the process of actual product design, engineers or business staffs of industrial design always dislike the outdated ideas given by structural designers, yet manufacturing engineers complain about the unrealistic layout carried out by industrial designers in turn. One of my friends told me a story about his company: They were once requested by their clients to design a bathtub. As this bathtub had to match other sanitary products, it had no alternative but to meet high requirements in terms of color, shape and style. However, that design could only be drawn due to the fact that the current technology could not process it. Since the client had make it clear that there were no compromises, the actual product finally came out after innumerable hardships. What’s more, the product was awarded the Red Dot Prize— just like Oscar Prize in film industry. Inferior to that are the Japanese clients who set considerably high standards on size. In addition to the elementary requirements on the bathtubs with regard to limitations on deformation of length, width and height, planeness at the bottom and ponding, they ask that the tolerance in length cannot exceed 3cm—otherwise, the bathtub would not be able to be placed into the gap that have been processed in advance. If the gap is too small, it will result in too much filled rubber. Thirdly, there come products with general requirements, which can be made relatively easily. Almost in each era, consumers tend to be more practical than artistic. Products with utility are able to fix a competitive price, while their counterparts with artistry possess fewer customers and cannot be manufactured with ease. It depends on how the enterprises choose the orientation and position themselves.
The appearance of the luxury cars on the road are attractive enough, and this is the outcome of art and aesthetics, which is far beyond the definition given by a leading domestic automaker that a car is “a sofa on four wheels”. My German colleague told me that an easy way of observing whether the automobile is good or bad is to examine the space between each of its doors and frame. I understand that it is about the capability of processing engineering, and good automobile enterprises have already satisfied it. In contrast, dozens of cars from third-world countries even omit car windows, which, to be honest, belongs to the floor of rationality. Although a number of industrial products haven’t changed dramatically over the past ten years regarding the function itself, they still have a long way to go for raising the aesthetics, which cannot be simply resolved by VA/VE. If a leadership is still in the stage of enjoying a big logo printed on the front of master level limited edition purple clay teapot and a line of words “Knowledge Is the Power” at the back, this road will be even much longer.
In rural areas, the past tile-roofed houses have been replaced by foreign-style houses with tiles, even the farm tools that was once used for food have nowhere to put. In urban areas, shared bicycle can be seen everywhere. In spite that their basic functions remain to be the same as they were 30 years ago, you may perceive that their appearances seem to be more user-friendly, even a 2-year-old child cannot tear himself away from them and name them in colors. This is the promotion of quality, as well as the transformation from sense to sensibility.
THANKS TO THE CONTRIBUTION OF TRANSLATION BY VOLUNTEER MS. ZIZHU WANG (Akiko) FROM GUANGDONG UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES
More often than not, the dominator of supplier selection process at early stage is purchaser. To further segment it, the dominator will be sourcing, as they are responsible for the preliminary selection. purchasers buy according to plans or demand. Some company call it purchasing, others call it procurement. Moreover, I have also seen companies calling it merchandising. This is similar to human resource management: although the whole process is called as acquisition, but hunting and employment actually belong to different working area
One of the primary steps accompanied with supplier selection at early stage in a well-managed foreign enterprise is supplier self-assessment, despite that it is not popular among domestic enterprises. This is somehow related to the cultural differences between China and western countries. Chinese enterprises select suppliers based on relationship since the business originates from or comes via acquaintances. In contrast, foreign enterprises are more rule-oriented, though acquaintances tend to enhance mutual relationships and trust in practice. Chinese enterprise seldom resort to exhibitions for suppliers, as one telephone is enough; whereas foreign enterprises rely more on various domestic or international exhibitions, network resources and professional recommendations to explore supplier resources.
Supplier self-assessment is a little bit similar to job hunter’s resumes. Recommendation letter is not prevalent in China, but the recommendations from headhunters are also recommendation letters in another form. Recommendation letters is somewhat similar to various certificates which are awarded after the audit and certification of the third party requested by the suppliers, such as ISO9001, ISO14001, etc. Recommendation letter can be seen as a kind of endorsement, as qualifications, status in the field will affect the impression of job hunters in recruiters to a large degree, which will determines his or her “quotation”(expected salary) and potential value. Various certificates like ISO9001 provided by suppliers play similar roles. Although the certificates are all awarded by accepted certification authority, different certification authorities exert different influence obviously, and the fees for certifying vary accordingly, which determines differences in credibility of certificates awarded.
Ways for supplier self-assessment are diverse. Some company fax it to suppliers who will later fill it out and fax it back to purchasers, while some companies send e-mail to suppliers who will fill it in the corresponding WORD or documents of other forms, and then send it back to purchasers or specified receivers. With the prevalence of internet, more and more companies set supplier portal, some of which are available for suppliers to fill out and submit so that the system will collect, sort and analyze these documents in no time. One of the companies that I once served adds geographical location, including longitude and latitude, on its self-assessment form in order to count carbon emission and distribution of manufacturers of about 10000 suppliers worldwide and about 50 manufacturing sites of their own group. After the suppliers submit it, the system will automatically count and estimate the carbon emission amount worldwide and present it in graphs visually based on the data submitted to the supply chain, combined with the product category of the manufacturing base, the transaction volume and the processes, etc.
The content of supplier self-assessment is determined by requirements of companies. In some companies, the assessment can be 10 pages long, with multiple languages and detailed information about the number of machines, the number of inspection machines, type and brand of machines, whether the product or other insurances are purchased or not, the amount of coverage, etc. Some companies will set the scores of each question and the total final scores internally in self-assessment in advance. If suppliers answer with honest, they are likely to be questioned early at this stage due to the too low marks.
供应商自评的意义通常有如下The significance of supplier self-assessment includes the following：
1.体现供应商的初始合作意愿及能力Indication of initial willingness and ability for cooperation of suppliers
It is the foundation of stabling business relations. If the supplier is not able to fill out the self-assessment forms, it will probably fail to satisfy other basic requirements later from suppliers. This is by no means rare. In practice, I found that a large number of Chinese suppliers do not know how to fill, even if the field has already been provided. It is somehow equal to someone who is seeking for a job but cannot write his resume or personal profile. You can imagine the level of the staff.
According to the diagram of the deployment of ability and willingness, self-assessment presents interest of suppliers and the importance they attached on business, which is known as motivation.
2.一种承诺证明A kind of certification of commitment
I suggest that the supplier self-assessment should be fully utilized, and the suppliers can be required to stamp official seal of the company and signature from company representatives on the form. Self-assessment form should be kept in PDF form to avoid revising, and the suppliers are asked to print it out and add signatures as well as official seal. The purpose is to keep the content of self-assessment as realistic and reliable as possible.
Within the industry, customers will frequently ask companies to prove that suppliers they used do not employ child labor and young workers, or the material they used are environmental friendly without poison or harm. At this time, the effectiveness of implementation and the integrity of the system can be ensured via on-site audit. However, the audit belongs to spot check, and the conclusion comes from the purchaser itself or the third party. The expected outcome of self-assessment, a potent certification in a legal sense, can be more likely to generate if suppliers verify that the assessment meets the requirement. If the suppliers are trading companies with manufacturing partners, then the purchasing organization should state clearly in advance which tier of manufacturer to complete the self-assessment.
Since the assessment form acts as a legal instrument, the content and characters should be considered carefully in advance. Then the document returned back by suppliers should be kept with caution,
3.了解供应商基本信息Understanding basic information about suppliers
The basic information that can be disclosed and purchasers want to know can be acquired here—if only you have set these fields. Just like various declaration form that offered to government, the form has already been provided, and you only need to complete it accordingly. These information can be used as reference provided to supplier on-site audit: what is the scale of the factory; what technique is utilized; what kind of auditor should be placed; is there any other products from the factory being sold; is there any other staffs needed on the audit day; what branches does it have? Which techniques are outsourced; which products or techniques are produced at the address on the self-assessment form, etc. Thus, these information should be provided before on-site audit. Otherwise, it will be embarrassed that auditors do not realize that they go to the wrong place until they arrive at the scene during on-site audit will take place.
Next, self-assessment provides some strong proof for the next business negotiation. Once some suppliers decrease their price after negotiation—however, there should be reasons for reduction. To explain, they mentioned that they have newly added many automatic machines to improve production efficiency. Nevertheless, when you opened their self-assessment form completed earlier, you find that the suppliers have already possessed such machines at the beginning, and the paradox is solved spontaneously. This is why many purchasers ask suppliers to update self-assessment document regularly.
As for the new leader for the quality of purchasing organization, self-assessment is helpful to understand the level, ability and general situation of the suppliers base as a whole, for instance, the proportion of suppliers acquiring ISO9001, the scale of staffs, the ration of quality and engineering staff, etc. then use these information plus on-site research, as well as actual delivery performance to deploy supplier management roadmap and steps.
4.了解客户的关注点和需求Understanding customers’ focus and need
For suppliers, they can fully make use of supplier self-assessment forms to understand the basic demand and expectation of customers. Otherwise, the customers do not need to design this step painstakingly. Imagine that if one job seeker fails to understand responsibilities and competences required on the recruitment post, this person may not be the ideal candidate in most cases. Most of the time, it is the secretary or administrative staffs that collects data everywhere and hand it to the purchasers through sales after filling it out. It is likely that sales staffs do not read it carefully, let alone the head of the company. Though the information of company will not change whether the supplier self-assessment form is filled in or not, the requirements and focuses varies from customers to customers. Thus, adding the official seal and signature will indirectly make sure that the demand of customers has been delivered to the correct person.
If you understand customers’ demand fully, you can then set out to improve the work to meet the next step of customers, say, audit. Usually the content for audit has something to do with that of self-assessment. Audit is a kind of verification, and this is why many companies hold that if the suppliers possess certificates given by famous certification companies, the further on-site audit can be exempted, as the system has already been examined.
The relevant templates and examples are available in the website by search function.
Great Acknowledgement Given to Ms. ZiZhu Wang (Akiko) from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies for Translation.
The Commerce Department has urged one trading company to deliver the goods for several times, during which the trading company has provided many reasons for postponing the delivery time: the design had been changed; the environmental inspectors closed the upstream factories; they had holidays during Spring Festival, etc. As they have been hastened for several times, the sales representatives of the trading company had no alternatives but to provide a reason, or nonsense: the worker were on strike so that the goods could not be made. At this time, it is of no use threatening that they will be fined if they cannot offer goods. To solve the problem, the Commerce Department suggested that the supplier management department to examine it on the spot. The subtext is that the supplier management department was about to solve this problem. Of course, the audit was not conducted finally since the general manager considered that there is nothing for audit due to no production. The question is: what is the audit; what is the effect of audit; when will the audit take effect?
The Supplier Audit is not omnipotent.
I have seen many times that when the quality professionals or management staffs from oversea branches who newly joined the company and took over existing projects. One indispensable part of the agenda arranged for visiting Chinese suppliers is to audit the factories, probably including the system audit, process audit, or the combination of the two. Possibly, content concerned with safety or social responsibility will be included. Despite that the latter two may not appear on the original agenda, they can be added via a single sentence: “Don’t you think that it is also very important?” Consequently, different standards were adopted on multiple audits towards suppliers, resulting in different marks and levels for many times. Sometimes it shows that “it is conditionally approved or continue projects”, while sometimes it shows that “Max. 30 days for improvement”. The question listed is as long as four to five pages in case that the suppliers do not know how affluent his professional knowledge is, which makes suppliers quite confused. Indeed, this is like the city people who go to the countryside, as they regard everything as outdated and need improving.
The foreign-invested enterprises have set many procurement offices, procurement representatives and procurement centers within last ten years of development in China. In spite of different goals, considerable responsibility of Supplier Quality Management function is limited to Audit. For one thing, audit fees required by the third party seem to be too expensive— fees from initial audit and follow-up is separated clearly. For the other thing, audit is utilized to evaluate the qualification of factory, monitor and measure the improvement of factory, and determine the exit of factory. Finally, engineers in charge of managing suppliers are only able to audit.
As far as I am concerned, the audit is conductive to understand the situations clearly and identify problems to promote the correction and improvement. Nevertheless, some notes are necessary. (ISO defines audit as systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled)
1.审核不能解决业务问题Audit cannot solve business problems.
As cases above, despite that the factory said that, “the workers were on strike so that the product could not be made.”, the question is not clear enough. Why the workers were on strike? Whether the strike is organized or not? At least, it presents dangerous signals. At this time, the surest way for solution is transparent communication. It is likely that the business was problematic, but nobody other than the internal factory knows whether there is a problem or not, and it is merely about whether they are willing to confess to customers or not— Family shame should not be made public. The counterpart business, however, is the department for business allocated by purchasers. No matter which department decides to provide business to the other, it will be fine to invite them to handle it. In reality, the purchasers invite suppliers to conventions for self-criticism in first time. As a result, as for the suppliers, not only did they bring the general manager, but they also brought their cooperative partners— the general manager of manufacturing factories (Trading companies can only manage the manufacturing company via shares rather than substantial control). The reasons appear to be extinct: different development opinions owned by two parties give rise to divergence. The manufacturing companies think that as the recent procurement order reduces, the production handover becomes frequent, the efficiency decrease and the profits decline, they should require the customers to make more orders to ensure stable production. However, it is the responsibility of the trading company to ask customers to make more orders. From the perspective of trading companies, they are more likely to understand the customers’ feelings— if they cannot hand over cargos, how can they make sure that the customer is confident enough to make orders? This is the question of whether the chick or egg appear first. In the period of economy decline, the pure trading companies will be trapped in this trouble easily. Since the root of the reason has been discovered, the trading companies can develop solutions by their own— whoever started the trouble should end it. After all, getting an order is much more difficult than losing one. Here I am not going to discuss the solutions afterwards, yet simple in terms of audit, it cannot resolve the problem as the audit cannot solve the problem of business. Thus all the business problem can be resolved by inviting the third party, the most professional in this field, to examine the suppliers
2.审核的准则清晰The standard of audit should be clear
In the case above, it the audit should be conducted, which standard should be based on? Should we examine finance, production capacity or quality? Without standards and criteria, examination will be hard to proceed. Anything should be in specific items or names, otherwise it will be ambiguous. A distinct standard helps suppliers prepare in advance, otherwise, the result may be undeserved after audit. In the second case, it is not rare that foreign professions come to china to check. A traditional hardware factory supplies hardware products. As the volume of business of hardware products exerted relatively significant influence on the business, they are checked according to the standards of automotive industry, which is indeed inappropriate.
The criteria for audit also includes a clear conclusion afterwards. More often than not, the conclusion will be left for their own after examination, and only the items need improvement will be told to the suppliers, which results in the unilateral evaluation. If the evaluation is neutral while the report is objective, it is suggestive that the conclusion should be provided simultaneously. Although sometime it will hurt face, you can express in a euphemistic way. Moreover, if you are adept at communication, you can even make them appreciate you after criticizing them. Suppose that you go to date, if you chat with someone for a while but find him/her inappropriate later, it will be rude for leaving at once without any messages—at least, you have to tell the other one why they do not match.
3.有提前的约定Appointment should be in advance
Appointment in advance is like a guiding principle. Whatever the audit is, the rules should be communicated explicitly at the early stage in business —despite that the few rules are not be obeyed at last. Earlier I have introduced two sentence that “it is conditionally approved or continue projects”, or “Max. 30 days for improvement”. If they are implemented strictly without early advanced communication, the conflict will be caused. This is like the Master Kong Instant Noodle (Roasted Beef) that add more portions without increasing prices. If we do not follow it after audit, the audit will not be taken seriously next time—the rules are no more than a form.
No matter how the suppliers use audit— entry or exit, the rules should be established before the game. These rules can be communicated via various channels— supplier conference, supplier manual, supplier quality agreement, supplier project requirement, even the meeting minute at the early stage of project, etc. After all, you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.
4.残疾人充其量只能是残疾人中的运动健将The disabled can only be the master of sports within the disabled.
Companies that lack systemic supplier selection process at the early stage always present such phenomenon that the project appears to be unfavorable from the beginning, either failed at submitting production of samples or repeated submission that gives rise to the serious delay of project. Finally, the samples become barely qualified for batch production with some deviations, but the quality fails during spot check in batches, or the delivery date is postponed, so that it is extremely difficult to ensure the quality as well as quantity. At this time, someone proposes checking the factory to urge the improvement. Definitely, check is appropriate, yet the effect of improvement seems to be unconspicuous — as they have got the business, who else will possess the strong motivation like work overtime at beginning to take your requirements into considerations? Just imagine, how many boys will send roses every day to their girlfriends after their girlfriends become wives?
Next, even suppliers are willing to improve in order to get more orders, improvement requires a huge amount of time and attention. This time the input may not generate abundant output if the method is improper or the focus is not grasped well— it is nothing but adding more forms with question of how long they can insist using these tools.
At this point, the intentions of improving suppliers via audit might be to turn a disabled person into a normal person. This is difficult indeed, as the disabled will at most become an athlete among the diabled.
Audit can identify problems, and the solutions for problems can be various, yet the audit is not almighty after all.
Great acknowledge given to Ms. ZiZhu Wang (Akiko) from Guangdong Unversity of Foreign Studies for translation.
There is Hierarchy of Risk Controls – ERICPD in Safety management.
E means Eliminate. Consider whether the substance could be altered or substituted such that it no longer presents a hazard. If the risk is clamping hands when close the door and you remove the door then it's called elimination of the risk. Change the rotation system of machine to flat moving operation is another typical example for avoiding pinching hair. Advance the manual operation steps to be fully automatic will eliminate the risk source as well. In reality nowadays the electronic locks especially fingerprint type become more and more popular and one reason is that you do not need to worry about forgetting keys anymore – the risk of losing key is eliminated.
R stands for Reduce. Consider reducing the frequency, degree or inventory of the substance such that the risks are reduced. Reduction in risk factors will relieve problem severity. Toy fan speed is limited to avoid injury of children. Electrical motor speed (max.20km/hour) is not set to gas motor as many drivers are seniors. The shoes shelf at kindergarten is designed to be much lower than normal ones.
In many industrial or consuming applications the voltage degree is designed to be low such as decorative flicking LEDs strips. Soft protectors are used for sharp and hard corners or edges, and round pillars are also broadly adapted.
In daily life I personally have some bad cases for slippery shoes which resulted in falling down – the bottom of shoes are too smooth and cannot grasp the floor. Furthermore I noticed that in the children caring center there is slot on the door to minimize the possibility of crimping babies' hands, and knob locks are also used instead of lever handles to ensure difficulty of children to open or close the door.
From design pespective, roundness are specified to ensure products have smooth surface and correct process to make it. Cutting hair shorter is another way to reduce the risk of pinching hair. I was told the top failures of hair dryers are long hair entering the motor of machine and burning down the motor. Think of the reported injury cases from children playing long and thin thread. Is not it very similar?
I represents Isolate. making safe by separating the hazard from the individual through physical isolations or zoning. To separate the risk factors away from operators, such as for vibration machine like parts feeding device,there is always noise disturbing people and one good practice is to put the device in a closed and transparent cabinet. Placing a matt over the oily floor or stairs is another example to isolate the slipping factor. Covering the running wheels is a typical way to isolate the risk of clamping hands, hair and cloths.
C is Control. Enacting managerial arrangements to prevent exposure to the hazard. It is not enough to only give staffs the sufficient and correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but missing control, however it is common in practice. Controls such as below are important and useful: 1.Set up a procedure of how to manage the PPEs, usage, monitoring and feedback system. If you just give caps to female workers operating rotating machines but actually they do not use them, will it work? 2.Establish clear working instructions and visual indication labels for risky areas and stations. It always not easy to develop good working instructions or Standard Operation Pictures. 3.Train staff, demonstrate and encourage good examples. Records with signatures should be clearly kept to evaluate next cycle retraining, and they will also support you to prove your organization has good training system. 4.Develope a monitoring and feedback cycle process. Do you allow or even encourage your people to work overtime and how do you manage those issues? Is there an clear escalation process to manage overtime as many cases happen because of this. Do you share good practices, experiences and results to staff?
P equals Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Allow exposure but protect the individual with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It seems more and more Chinese and south Asian factories now provide PPE to operators. However it's still common that not all the PPE are in good quality or they are wrongly used, either not all persons exposed to risk are given to, such as visitors.
D stands for Discipline. Reliance on operator training to minimize the risks. This is the worst situation as operators are just requested to be careful when performing tasks and they take their own risk to be safe. In case accidents occur, they may be punished but limited preventive actions are taken to avoid reoccurrence.
So now do you have any idea about process of power coating which is a very common surface treatment process? In "E" level, you may think about cancel the surface treatment or replace to be non-hazardous materials. In "R" level, you may consider safer substitutes or semi-automatic sprayer to reduce exposure frequency. In "I" level, the operation could be done in separate room. In "C" level, you may switch the operators to be more faster and ensure they stay in the working environment less time, and physically incapable staff are not allowed to work for that position. In "P" level, sufficient training and PPE will be supplied. In last "D" level, possible you will see the workers are not so willing to work there.
In general ERI are more like Engineering controls and CPD are administrational approaches. The risk control pyramid helps you to think about the better approaches when you encounter some risk problems in operation and real life, as there is probably no way to eliminate all the risk but control them to minimum level.
What competence you are expected to be a good Supplier Quality Professional?
Probably you have been working in the Supplier Quality field for a couple of years and you are very familiar with what are you doing, but it still maybe not enough to show your full potentials. As each company only defines the responsibility of a position to its real needs – you could be a boss to control everything if you leave your current position and create your own business, but if you do not, then you are one important "screw" to your company machine.
I have been working in different big companies as well and I personally saw different companies give different names to same positions and also may give same names to different responsibility jobs. So do not care too much about the position tittles.
To have a better understanding about the "extra" responsibility of a Supplier Quality Professional, once I have searched the job descriptions in LinkedIn using keywords as most of the descriptions there usually are quite long, explicit, and prioritized, though I have a broader view but it's still not enough – I can understand 60% to 80% responsibilities are the same and others depend on the setting of each organization. It's very similar to our commodities. Each plant produces the similar function products but still there are some differences. One example is that Coca-cola and Pepsi tastes similar, another one is that power rechargers are different around the world but function is exactly the same – I understand there have been some people trying to standardize them and by far I already see big progress.
Another good way is to look for answers from Standards or Association, where all the good mindset, ideas and methodology are gathered. As defined in the ASQ for Certified Supplier Quality Professional (CSQP)(full introduction), following competence are required:
I Supplier Strategy
A. Supply Chain Vision/Mission
B. Supplier Lifecycle Management
C. Supply Chain Cost Analysis
D. Supplier Agreements or Contracts
E. Deployment of Strategy and Expectations
II Risk Management
B. Analysis and Mitigation
III Supplier Selection and Part Qualification
A. Product/Service Requirements Definition
B. Supplier Selection Planning
C. Part, Process, and Service Qualification
IV Supplier Performance Monitoring and Improvement
A. Supplier Performance Monitoring
B. Assess Nonconforming Product/ Process/Service
C. Supplier Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA)
V Supplier Quality Management
A. Supplier Quality Monitoring
B. Teams and Team Processes
C. Compliance With Requirement and Supplier Categorization
VI Relationship Management
A. Supplier Onboarding
C. Leadership and Collaboration
VII Business Governance, Ethics, and Compliance
A. Code of Ethics
You will see it's not so easy to be a good professional
In the book of (THE IRON MAN: Elon Musk's Quest to Forge a Fantastic Future)《硅谷钢铁侠》by Ashlee Vance (阿什利•万斯), it's suggested one important factor to be more successful is Depth of Knowledge and Cross-boundary Learning. The depth of knowledge means focus of one narrow field and to be a professional person in that area, and method is reading and consulting the top professionals. Cross-boundary learning means thinking out of the box to create new cognition and provide source of innovation, and experience of Musk is to research the core concept of different areas and connect them to the real world.
I agree the points, and in addition, very often I think the value of a person depends on the capability of him/her, either in depth or cross-boundary width. For example, you will be valued more than a Certified Supplier Quality Professional if you are a Certified Lean 6 Sigma Black Belt (in depth), and more if you can use different languages to understand and adopt those methodologies, than just speak one language. In real world, those new era farmers who can use Internet to sell their own goods earn more than the traditional ones in old age.
The degree of professional depends on how far you want to go.
[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”http://supplierlifecycle.com/donations/547/” ]