If you are afraid of working with suppliers who can’t deliver as promised, a factory audit helps you to evaluate their capability and capacity, as well as the maturity of their systems. It highlights key risks that might prevent them from meeting your needs, allowing you to make an informed decision on whether to work with them or not and/or forming the basis of an improvement plan.
Conducting a manufacturer audit like this before and during your cooperation with a supplier in China, India, Vietnam, or elsewhere in Asia, will not only help to make sure that they are the right partner, but also that they are capable of maintaining the standards that you require over time.
Interesting note: we analyzed years of our quality audit data and found that factory audits have a proven predictive ability on the ability of the factory to make products at an acceptable level of quality (learn more).
Learn More About Each Factory Audit And Get A Quote
Hit the blue buttons below to read more each factory audit and request a quotation if you’d like to get pricing for your project.
Initial Factory Evaluation (IFE)
Quality System Audit (QSA)
Environmental System Audit (ESA)
Social Compliance Audit (SCA)
Factory audit FAQs, including several different audit types and technical audits...
China business expert Prof. Neale O’Connor and his team analyzed hundreds of our factory audits’ data (in late 2022) and determined a direct causal link between a factory getting a good factory audit score and subsequently providing better quality products.
You can learn more about this research and its findings in this video presentation:
Aside from the factory audits on this page, before discussing product details and requesting quotations, it’s also recommended that you:
- Perform a supplier background check on the company you’re going to buy from to protect yourself from scammers or bad partners.
- Do your due diligence with a 360-Degree Product Risk Assessment on the product/s (or component/s) that are already developed (or being developed) to be sure they won’t lead to costly safety issues or recalls later on.
Read this blog post: How To Choose Which Factory Audit You Need?
You can also follow this flowchart to determine which audit you need and then select it from the list on this page to get a quotation:
Yes, we have been doing process audits since 2014 for a variety of clients. For example, our China team includes two Duracell CIP (Continuous Improvement Program)-qualified auditors. India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, are other areas where our team can do that type of work.
Please take a look at these two popular technical audits we offer:
PMA (Process Management Audit)
If a factory says their processes are mature and under control, in a PMA our auditor, experienced in the process/es in question, goes on-site to check the technical aspects of production in detail and to comment on them (and less on the more traditional “quality management system” aspects covered by other factory audits).
This helps you assure that the factory has the systems and processes to deliver great quality and on-time shipments.
Production Readiness Review
Sofeast supports you to have the peace of mind that everything is running well and ready for mass production by performing this production readiness review during the pilot run or the production of the first batch at your supplier’s factory before you give the green light to release large amounts of materials into manufacturing.
This allows you to go into mass production knowing that risks are low, rather than solely relying on your supplier’s assurances that may not be based on facts.
Blended Systems Audit (BSA)
A BSA is a great factory audit to choose when assuring a factory’s reliability is key, but when you also need to know that they have policies in place to be socially compliant.
Sofeast’s auditor qualifies a potential supplier based on their capabilities and their compliance with social, safety, and environmental standards before you start working with them, or assures that current suppliers are improving over time.
This audit protects your business reputation as it allows you to avoid suppliers who are particularly unreliable and who don’t employ their workers in generally acceptable conditions.
Any size of a factory you are considering working with. Note that we typically focus on a few processes, only for 1 product that you intend to purchase.
– Factory profile.
– Detailed staff count.
– Products currently produced.
– Observation of one production line (process steps, type and number of machines).
– Capacity evaluation for one line that makes a product close to yours.
– A brief audit of the quality system.
– A brief audit of social policy: child labour, forced labour, number of hours worked (with random interviews).
– A brief audit of safety policy: fire prevention, evacuation plan, chemical hazards, protective equipment.
– A quick assessment of environment policy: waste disposal, energy-efficient equipment.
– Photos of the factory building, the production workshop, the warehouse, the office area.
– Photos of business license, export license, and any certificates.
We charge 495 USD per man-day in the areas close to our auditors in China (and extra travel expenses apply in other places).
We can offer this solution in other Asian countries too: Quotation on demand, with help from local partners.
Yes. Many of our clients don’t want to spend more than 1 day on the audit, and it makes sense even for fairly large manufacturing facilities, assuming:
- It is simply a second-party audit to have a relatively good idea of the maturity of a factory’s systems.
- The client tells us what product type they will buy, so that our auditor focuses only on 1 area in the workshops etc. rather than looking at all processes and all areas.
- We only audit one facility (at the address provided).
This flowchart explains our typical 5-step process when auditing your supplier once you have booked your audit:
- Our China regional office manages jobs in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
- Our India regional office manages jobs in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Turkey.
- Our Italy regional office manages factory audits and product inspections in these areas (A is more expensive than B etc.)*:
UK, Ireland, Germany
Italy, Benelux, Switzerland, Austria, France
Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Poland, Czechia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Lithuania, Latvia
Estonia, Israel, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico
Slovakia, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Macedonia, Armenia
Jordan, Dubai, Egypt, Tunisia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Madagascar
*Additional costs to the base audit/inspection cost you see on site may apply to these countries with area A being the most expensive and area D the least. No costs are hidden. You will always be informed of the cost of your project in advance.
Here are just 4 team members who may work on audits for you, but there are many more, too.
Wayman Z (China)
Electronic Quality Engineer
Wayman has been a member of the Quality Assurance team for over 3 years.
Before joining us he spent 2 years at Galanz as a quality engineer following microwave and air conditioner production processes. He gained a great deal of experience in 8 years at an engineering firm working for Cisco, Honeywell, GE, and other large companies, mostly performing process audits, component inspections, and first article inspections.
Jack L (China)
One of our senior mechanical engineers, Jack, has been with us in the QA team for 4 years.
He’s widely experienced and has spent many years at some of the world’s largest companies, such as his role as a tooling specialist for 7 years, including 4 years at Samsung and 3 years in an engineering company. He also spent 3 years in a faucet factory as a process engineer and another 3 years at Leviton Electronics as supervisor of a plastic injection molding workshop.
Evelyn T (Malaysia)
Supplier Quality Engineer
Evelyn is a highly-experienced quality engineer specializing in supplier and manufacturing quality.
Her past experience includes almost 20 years at Dell — first as a process engineer and later in supplier quality engineering. She also worked at Honeywell as a Senior Quality Manager. Over the years she has led supplier improvement projects, trained quality engineering teams, and managed suppliers for key materials and components for these giants.
Mridul S (India)
Mechanical & Process Engineer
Mridul is one of our Indian quality, process, and management experts and holds a degree in mechanical engineering.
He has deep experience in Lean manufacturing and has worked for various companies in heavy industry, energy, and quality services, as well as some time at TÜV SÜD South Asia. He works on projects where experience in process planning and improvement, industrial engineering, new product development, and more, are key focuses.
We provide you with the ability to do a remote audit on your supplier, too, which is fast, easy, and gives you good visibility over the situation on the ground even if you’re unable to go to the factory.
Since the covid pandemic importers are increasingly taking advantage of remote audits due to a lack of access to their suppliers. These audits provide you with a solid level of understanding of a supplier’s capabilities and processes via document checks, phone calls, and video tours of the facility, without needing to be on-site.
They can also be used as a quick and convenient method of assessing current suppliers and following up on corrective actions.
|General Organization||Process Overview||Quality Systems Audit||Social Compliance Audit||Compliance With Law||Personal Safety & Work Enviromnent Overview||Factory & Licenses Pictures|
You can also explore how factory audits in China work in this infographic
You are not alone. We can help you. Depending on the factory’s level of cooperation and abilities, and depending on the types of issues we have identified, we can suggest the next steps.
Here are common approaches:
- Requesting corrective action plans for the most severe issues, then reviewing them and following up until (hopefully) closure. For the most complex issues, we follow the 8D Format.
- Sending engineers to help the factory with a process FMEA, setting up a control plan, and other forms of consulting. Check this out here: Quality Assurance Consulting.
- Checking if some of their promised improvements are really implemented, and doing so with a regular routine, for example at the time of the pre-production meeting.
- An annual re-audit program, to keep some pressure on the factory to drive improvement. For this, you may implement a layered process audit program where our auditor re-audits your supplier’s processes and quality systems by focusing on one key aspect per month.
In some cases, telling a supplier that an auditor will visit them brings up a lot of resistance. Many suppliers also ask for 2 or 3 weeks of preparation time because they want to project a better image and, unfortunately, that often involves fabricating fake records, scripting responses to common questions, and other behaviors you probably don’t want in your supply chain.
Sofeast’s auditor visits your supplier’s factory on your behalf as a member of your staff. While your supplier may be resistant to an outside auditor, they’re more likely to allow you or your staff to visit. By doing so, we get around their resistance and allow you to get a true picture of what is happening with your supplier, rather than a sanitized version that actually helps no one.
During their visit the auditor will carefully take notes and provide their impressions on the following:
- General impressions of the factory
- What processes they have in-house (how many machines & people)
- A few important points about their quality system that we can inquire about without overtly working as auditors
- Information about the types of products they have previously been making
- Photos of the facility
- Responses to your questions
We charge 279 USD per man-day in major areas of China (extra travel expenses apply in other areas).
Learn more by reading these factory audit resources and blog posts from Sofeast and QualityInspection.org.
- How Do Factory Audits Work In China? – [Infographic]
- A Factory Audit On A Small Factory. Worth It?
- Why Social Compliance Audits Often Don’t Work, But Can
- How Factory Audits, Inspections, and Lab Tests Fit Together
- The Real Purpose of Factory Audits? Evaluate and Prevent Risks.
- What a Social Auditor Should Check in Chinese Factories
Remember, if you’re interested in a factory audit, but you’re not sure about something, you can always arrange a free phone consultation with us where we can discuss your situation and work out together if you need audits and what kind would be best.