Staying in the black as a business can be a struggle. If you want to keep a product line profitable, there might be certain sacrifices that you have to make. One of these may be giving up the creation of certain components of your product to another company. Outsourcing, in many instances, is a smart business decision. However, it also presents its own challenges. How do you maintain quality when outsourcing the production of parts of a product?
Demand References for Past Clients
Finding the right company to outsource the production of a component to is no easy task. You should certainly be very careful about selecting a supplier. One thing you should do to ensure that the company you are considering is professional and competent is to ask for references for past clients. If you are looking for custom wire basket manufacturers, you should talk to companies that bought wire baskets from any potential suppliers.
Set Specific Rules and Standards
In the original RFB, Request for Proposal, as well as any resulting contract, you need to be as specific as possible regarding what you expect from that contractor in terms of the production process and quality standards. You should get as specific as possible regarding what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in terms of that manufacturer’s output. If there is no wiggle room, you are less likely to see a contractor cut corners to turn in substandard components.
One thing you should include in any contract for part outsourcing is the ability to perform audits whenever you want to ensure your parts are being manufactured to your standards. In fact, you should perform an audit examining an outsourcer’s processes in general before production begins and any contract is signed. Hire and experienced third party auditing company that will give you an accurate and unbiased readout of that company’s quality control processes.
Perform AQL Testing
As a last safe guard, you should perform AQL testing. AQL stands for Acceptable Quality Limit. This is testing that can be performed on components received form a manufacturer to decide whether or not that shipment should be rejected and sent back. An AQL test should look for a minimum number of defects in randomly selected components from that batch.
Outsourcing requires giving up some level of control. Still, you need to be careful about how you outsource. If you work with the wrong companies and are lax regarding oversight, the quality of your end product could suffer. Do what you can to ensure that isn’t the case.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.