Doubtful China’s Quality

I have been writing about the quality of the Chinese products for long. When I was in US, my children used to joke that whenever I was in any shopping center I kept on moving around looking at the tags for the country of origin. I found, over the period because of intensive consumerism Americans hardly bother about the quality of household goods. Americans buy without any reservation about its quality. American housewives keep on stuffing their house with clothing, toys, and other decorative items mostly manufactured from China. The Chinese goods are certainly cheap, but very poor in quality in most of the cases. During my short stay itself I found many instances of its poor quality. That was the reason that I couldn’t dare to buy a Haier air conditioner though it was cheaper. I bought a Samsung one, as Hitachi was too costly. Perhaps the Chinese manufacture with a ‘throwaway’ concept- use once and discard. Technically speaking, the Chinese perhaps have not been able to build quality in the manufacturing processes. And with so huge a scale, the quality can’t be inspected that they try to maintain quality.

Quality in many cases demands perception about the damage its deviation from the target can do to the consumers and society. That was the principle of Taguchi’s Quality Loss Function. The whole lot of quality tools and techniques- from zero defect to six sigma, from statistical quality control to total quality management and then Quality Function Deployment– evolved first in US and then in Japan to produce the quality first and in all coming out of the mass production lines. The people from the top management to the first line operators must believe that quality can neither be compromised nor inspected. For making easy money, many short cuts may be alluring but the 100% quality assurance is tough task, and must get into the national culture.

Unfortunately, the unscrupulous traders from India are taking advantage of the free trade and globalisation, and even the government machinery that controls import aids them I unscrupulous practices. The traders buy all the poor quality products of all kinds, sometimes even those rejected by the western customers, at throwaway prices. Taking advantage of the ignorance of the Indian consumers, they market it in all corners of India making huge profits. It will be prudent for everyone to avoid buying Chinese unless the quality is assured.

Yesterday I came across two reports- one in ‘Economists’ and second in ‘New York Times’. I could never believe that Chinese were exporting s much of food and drugs too to US. The reports talk of the shoddy rather dangerous quality of the Chinese stuffs.

In the latest Economist there is a report on the Chinese manufacturing, ‘The diddle kingdom’:

“In May the head of the agency that regulates Chinese food and drugs, Zheng Xiaoyu, was sentenced to death for accepting bribes in exchange for licences to produce fake drugs and medical devices. And this week a report from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, China’s standards watchdog, said that 20% of domestic products tested had failed to meet safety standards.”

“On July 1st Charles Schumer, an American senator, issued a report noting that 60% of goods recalled by America’s main safety regulator came from China. In June alone, the report says, dangerous faults or poisons prompted the recall of 68,000 folding chairs, 2,300 toy barbecue grills, 1.2m space heaters, 5,300 earrings, 1.5m “Thomas the Tank Engine” toy trains and 19,000 children’s necklaces. America’s Food and Drug Administration has also rejected several shipments of contaminated food from China this year, and a wholesaler in New Jersey has recalled Chinese chocolates containing potentially carcinogenic ingredients.”

The NewYork Times has another article ‘China Finds Poor Quality on Its Store Shelves’ By DAVID BARBOZA.

“China said on Wednesday that nearly a fifth of the food and consumer products that it checked in a nationwide survey this year were found to be substandard or tainted, underscoring the risk faced by its own consumers even as the country’s exports come under greater scrutiny overseas.”
“The government said, for instance, that canned and preserved fruit and dried fish contained excessive bacteria; that 20 percent of the fruit and vegetable juice surveyed was deemed substandard, and that some children’s products were defective or laced with harmful chemicals.”

However, US manufacturers can’t give up its preference for the Chinese friends to have the short-term profit even after the doubts about the quality. The latest news comes from Chrysler, one of three biggies of yester years’ US automobile industry. “The Chrysler Group signed a deal with China’s biggest automaker, Chery Automobile, for a production venture that could export the first Chinese-made cars to the United States. The alliance offers Chery, a 10-year-old company based in the eastern Chinese city of Wuhu, an opportunity to realize its longtime ambition of entering the American market. Chinese automakers already export low-price trucks and buses to Africa and other developing markets. But analysts say the automakers lack the technology to meet American and European safety and pollution standards on their own.”

It appears that the days of ‘Made in America’ are dead.

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