It seems like it is the same story over and over in the world of automotive quality. A company is doing well and looks tries to save money by outsourcing part of its work load to save money.
This time Assembly Mag are warning U.S. manufacturers who source from low cost components offshore about the challenges they may encounter. These can include dealing with a language barrier. It’s great if you have a translator but it’s still a struggle to communicate with someone who does not speak the same language as you. It’s not just language, you are also dealing with a different culture and a deep underlining worldview that could be very different to yours. These can cause huge problems such as not having the same expectations or understanding of what is involved when it comes to quality. (Checks, Testing PPAP etc.)
Practically if you outsource work you need to expect and plan for longer lead times. That’s a given the supplier has to get the material or component to you and then you have to get it to your customer. When you outsource offshore you have a lot longer lead time and if anything goes wrong you are normally left scrambling to find replacement material because it would take too long to get the stock from your offshore supplier.
U.S. customs and border protection can be a nightmare to deal with at the best of times. Never mind when you are importing large amount of material. A word of warning if you are outsourcing material offshore make sure your first order has a good amount of time to get through customs. A small business can short ship a customer by having material locked up in a port and lose too much to keep going.
Assembly mag raises a really good point about some companies receiving a perfect prototype followed by subsequent shipments of poor-quality parts. This can be a disaster for any business. Issues such as these need to be identified ASAP and a new supplier route found or a reason and resolution (8d’s 5Whys, fishbone etc.) needs to be submitted from the customer.
Ill sum this up with a question: Is it cheaper to outsource? Your customer won’t care that you did not produce the material he will only see it that YOU have failed in YOUR contract.
Please look at all the risks before outsourcing!