Category: Manufacturing

Are you a manufacturer in Africa or buyer of African goods?

Are you an African manufacturer or potential buyer of African goods?

Over the past few years, business leaders and investors have become increasingly aware of the vast potential in Africa’s burgeoning consumer market. In addition, most exporters in this emerging continent are salivating at the opportunity to sell their goods to developed countries. According to the WTO, Africa’s exports to the European Union topped €116 billion in 2016. Europe is by far Africa’s largest export market, capturing 35% of its exports, followed by Intra-African trade, China, the USA, and India. With this in mind, the question for African manufacturers and buyers of African goods remains:

How do you ensure the factory management system and product quality align with global standards?

 African countries are rich in resources and capabilities, but a factory’s output is only as good as the factory itself. Where a rising industrial country often struggles is increasing production while at the same time meeting or maintaining global quality standards. Besides, manufacturers often fall short of quality expectations simply because they don’t have the internal knowhow to improve on their own. Other times it’s a lack of capability or understanding of the relevant quality standards, social responsibility expectations, and security systems that apply to their products.

Developed markets such as USA or Europe demand higher quality standards, sustainable and consistent performance, as well as continuous improvement of processes. Being a reliable supplier consists of much more than offering the lowest price in the market, and a sophisticated buyer is not only looking for a suitable range of products on offer. It’s equally essential to deliver a product that meets global quality standards and ensures that production capacity is sufficient or can be quickly and efficiently increased to meet future demand.

Is ISO 9001:2015 enough to fulfill the ever-changing demands of the international market?

 Organizations that invest in meeting global market standards tend to enjoy long-term cooperation with their partners. An investment in this regard could be interpreted as:

  • Providing transparency and data related to your quality management processes
  • Allowing a thorough evaluation (audit) to identify a corrective action plan, and
  • Executing the plan which will result in better products and services for all customers.

Moreover, it will align processes, standards and quality to developed countries or experienced producers like China and ensure the ability to compete with overseas products on quality and production efficiency.

If you are an African manufacturer and looking to enter into international markets, your first step is to ensure compliance. A good litmus test is to ask yourself the following questions:

– Do we have a quality management system in place, such as ISO 9001:2015, in order to enter the international market?

– Do you have sufficient manufacturing capability and capacity required to be a reliable partner?

– Have your manufacturing process and control system been delivering high-quality products consistently over a long period of time?

If you are a buyer looking to purchase or work with an African supplier, your first step is also to ensure that your supplier can comply with all the necessary local compliance. Here are a couple initial questions to ask yourself:

– Does your manufacturing partner use a responsible and ethical supply chain?

– Are there any security issues that may raise alarms to you or your potential customers?

– When was the last time your supplier was audited by a reputable third-party quality assurance company?

Whether you are on the supply side or on the buying side, these questions should be carefully considered. If you need help answering any of the questions above, we, at Pro QC, are always will to have a detailed initial discussion to determine how we can assist.

Pro QC not only supports manufacturers to meet International Quality standards (ISO, IATF, FDA GMP…) but we ensure suppliers establish, maintain or improve their QMS. Our Supplier Development Services team help resolve these challenges for clients and suppliers around the world.

If you are interested in a detailed discussion about any of the quality assurance offerings mentioned in this article, please contact us directly at info@proqc.com or visit our Supplier Management page for more details.

(Article written by John A. Belinga, Business Development Manager) 

Considerations for Manufacturing in Mexico

Despite recent threats of tariffs related to current immigration issues in the U.S., Mexico remains a solid contender for global organizations looking to mitigate tariffs in China, or simply diversify their supply chain.

According to Inbound Logistics, “Mexico is becoming an increasingly popular option for any and all manufacturing industries that want to mitigate costs without compromising quality.”

As a result, U.S. imports of Mexican goods rose 5.4% in the quarter from the year-earlier period, while imports of Chinese goods were down nearly 15%, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Traditionally known for automotive, aerospace and electronics, more recently, manufacturing and assembly of office furniture, stamping and metal mechanics, and textiles (industrial applications) has emerged.

Examples of market movement include:

Companies like China’s Hisense, one of the world’s largest television manufacturers, is bringing more suppliers to Mexico as it aims to switch production of all U.S.-bound flat screen TVs to its largest plant outside of China.

GoPro wants all of its U.S.-bound cameras to be in production in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the second half of the year as it seeks to insulate the firm against possible tariffs.

Cosmetic Colors, a thriving Mexican producer of eyeliners and other cosmetic products, recently got a €7 million ($7.8 million) order from a European cosmetic giant for items that were previously made in China and faced a 25% tariff. The company’s high-end plant in the city of Toluca exports 85% of its products to the U.S. for the world’s top cosmetic brands.

(Source)

The advantages of considering Mexico vs. China include:

  • Mexico follows similar Intellectual Protection laws as the U.S. and Canada
  • Logistics advantages
  • More compatible time zones for U.S. and Canada
  • Lower travel costs
  • Skilled workforce
  • Reasonable labor costs
  • Mexico’s exports on average contain about 35% or more U.S. parts, whereas Chinese exports contain far less, at about 4%. (WSJ 6/2/19)

So, why wouldn’t organizations want to manufacture in Mexico?

  • Identifying new suppliers can be a slow process. Organizations wanting to quickly hedge tariff implications will likely encounter slower response times in communications.
  • In many cases, the costs remain higher than if sourced in China or SE Asia.
  • Government regulations, including labor requirements, can be challenging to work through.

Pro QC assists organizations in identifying new suppliers in markets around the world. Within Mexico, Pro QC has an ISO certified testing laboratory in Monterrey and a network of sourcing and quality professionals throughout the country. Contact us for additional information.

 

Additional Resource:

Why Manufacturing Industries are Nearshoring to Mexico

https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/leadership/why-more-manufacturing-industries-are-nearshoring-mexico

 

 

 

Support Manufacturing Education & Awareness on October 7th

“Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.” ~James Dyson

We post this quote predictably each year as Manufacturing Day approaches.  This year, Manufacturing Day will be observed on October 7th.

What is Manufacturing Day? 

“Manufacturing Day℠ is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.”

Why is it important?

Research reveals the theory behind Manufacturing Day works. For the first time, participants were polled about their experience. A new Deloitte perception survey developed in collaboration with The Manufacturing Institute was distributed to the more than 2,500 manufacturing hosts to gather data from attendees. The results are dramatic:

Our words of advice to manufacturers about ensuring quality…

downloadOver the past few months, I’ve reached out to our team asking them to share their advice to manufacturers regarding ensuring quality.  Our team’s responses are included here:

What words of advice would you give manufacturers about ensuring quality?

“Never stop improving your system, structure and process to stay competitive. Implement a continuous improvement process with regular slight adjustments and optimization rather than waiting for the day you need to take extreme measures. Finally you can’t inspect quality; the factory has to produce quality products. With our experience we can help them to get to this level and maintain it.” ~Thomas Kaiser (General Manager, Germany)

“Always make quality your priority, because good quality equals trust and that is something you don’t want to loose.” ~Nancy Barroso (Account Manager, Latin America)

“To manufacturers, I would explain that ensuring quality means clients’ satisfaction, high clients’ retention and more orders being placed to them.” ~Bruno Singier (Sales & Marketing Director, Europe, Middle-East & Asia)

Top 5 Manufacturing & SCM Resources

Over the years, we have collected several “Useful Links” that we incorporate into our quarterly newsletters. Our Top 5 related to manufacturing and supply chain management include:

1) Manufacturing Metrics Checklist

As part of a recent metrics survey,  the manufacturing metrics listed were identified as being the most utilized by discrete, process, and hybrid/batch manufacturers.  From OEE to Engineering Changeover Cycle Time, the key indicators are here.

2) How Stuff is Made (Visual Encyclopedia)

How Stuff Is Made (HSIM) documents the manufacturing processes, labor conditions and environmental impacts involved in the production of contemporary products. It’s an excellent resource for learning or to stimulate creativity and innovation.