Doing Business in China Series
We have very tight quality control standards in the U.S. and chances are, you’ll want to employ those same standards in your facility overseas. China has different, often non-existent, standards so managing quality control is solely up to your team. Ensure that you have a team of individuals who oversee everything from your engineering documents to intellectual property to equipment selection and installation. Here are my top four areas that must be managed closely to ensure quality control.
- Construction materials, methods and standards must be clear, concise and reviewed frequently. It’s critical to work very closely with your general contractor and meet often to review your expectations. Don’t ever make assumptions and appreciate the translation barrier. Common words and concepts may mean one thing to you and something completely different to them. I highly recommend using pictures, detailed drawings, schematics, and even physical mock-up environments showing details such as wall penetrations, floor junctures, lighting fixtures, sanitary standoffs, welding in stainless ductwork and more, to ensure you have the same understanding.
- Background checks on contractors, engineers and installers are a must. Make site visits to their previous projects prior to doing any work to determine their capabilities and qualities.
- Most Chinese contractors don’t specialize in just one area. Your electrical contractor may also be laying your plant’s concrete. This requires additional oversight and management.
- Jobsite safety is an afterthought in China. Regulations are not necessarily enforced like they are in the states through OSHA. It’s important to establish your own full-time safety manager onsite to ensure that the contractors are following your jobsite safety rules. Be sure that your contractors understand these rules up front, as they may have additional costs for body harnesses, hard hats, boots, face/eye protection, etc. for their employees.
If you’d like to hear more about my experience overseeing quality control on China projects, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.