BEIJING -- Not long ago, a U.S. megasupplier wanted to buy 2 million parts a year from a Chinese manufacturer. The Chinese supplier's quality was certified, but it had purchased that certification "on the street."
"There was no implementation on the production floor," recalls Frank Ogden, a manufacturing consultant in China. "The supplier didn't even have a thermometer to control casting."
To avoid such pitfalls, international parts makers in China are learning that a local supplier-development program is a must. Patience also is a must since it often takes as long as two years for a Chinese supplier to meet international quality standards.
Only 15 percent of Chinese suppliers can meet those standards, says Ogden, who is vice president of global supplier development for the PAC Group, a Shanghai consulting company.