With strict virus-preventive actions and quarantine measures in China already within a month, every element of the supply chain industry is trying its hardest to get back on track within the shortest time possible. Being a part of this is both thrilling and uneasy, but crucial for recovery.
Our V-Trust China Team have already fully resumed operations (except the Hubei area) for three weeks. And to get an insight on how our Chinese inspectors work during COVID-19, I have got in touch with Carrie Bao, our senior inspector for textiles & fashion in the heart of Fujian province, to know more on the restrictions and challenges inspectors meet these days.
Inspection and audit arrangements
Carrie says that even though it is harder, it is still possible for us to travel for inspections almost everywhere in China. As a protective measure many factories limit their visitors to only local personnel, or those who were isolated for 14 days after travelling inter-province or inter-city.
We reach factories by arranging our local inspectors within the same province/city, and provide with needed documentation - our employee health reports, recent 14-day travel records and letter of commitment to ensure health of inspectors before visiting. With official documents we are able to get permits for on-site pass controls and arrange inspections promptly.
As long as the factory is operational or the warehouse is open for the inspector’s use, we can visit them for inspection.
Saying that it’s totally fine is not that realistic. Most public transportation is limited, as is the number of passengers in each carrier, so sometimes it is quite difficult to even purchase a ticket. In some areas transportation is completely suspended, making it very challenging to reach.
We mostly drive to factories ourselves or help each other drive to required locations. Some of us take a Didi (Uber-like taxi) to reach faraway places – it does impose a certain risk, but we try to protect ourselves as best as possible. Actually, train travelling for longer distances is safer, because it is regularly disinfected and well controlled now, but is avoided by many.
At the factory site
Inspections these days are lacking previous human interactions. Usually for product inspections, cooperation of the factory staff is required – to move cartons, unpack and pack goods, assemble products, etc. Now this help is limited, not because the factories are uncooperative, but mostly because everyone has to keep at least one-meter distance from each other and limit inter-personnel contact.
So, actually, work is harder these days, as all the processes are done solely by the inspector, which increases the inspection workload and is more tiring.
Because some customers are worried that production schedules would be more delayed due to lack of manpower at factories, we help to keep an eye on the factory’s real-site situation and readiness for operations and report on the percentage of workers that are back to production line.
Even though the outbreak is slowing down, safety still remains the first of concerns. As a pass to the factory we have to wear basic protection gear, such as face masks, and spray our clothes and shoes with disinfectant (before and after inspections).
But as a particular requirement for some inspections we usually cannot wear gloves – it can affect the hand feeling of the product and thus the outcome of the product check, so the least we can do is apply some disinfectant and wash hands as much as possible.
It is heartwarming to know that our customers care so much about their supplier’s health and safety. For example, we often receive requirements to check how the factory is helping to prevent virus and ensures safety of its employees, so during the audit we would check availability of protective clothing at the factory, temperature check guns, disinfection schedules, as well as employee health records of, etc. With a great number of workers at factories much attention should be paid to safety of employees.
Although the difficulties of virus-preventive actions stand in the way, our inspectors fearlessly do their best to overcome every obstacle to bring quality control to your supply chains.
Feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if any support with product inspections, factory audits or lab testing is needed, and we would be more than glad to provide consultations and organization of your QC projects in China, India, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Stay in touch with us on further updates and articles about Quality Control!