Your potential supplier will be more than willing to show you their ISO9001 certificate, but a better option to gauge their attitude to quality may be to take a look at their testing facilities.
Many factories in China - especially in state promoted industries - have well equipped modern testing facilities, containing test equipment which companies are mandated to purchase.
Visiting the factory for the first time, it is easy to be blinded by this expensive array of equipment. However, of more pressing concern are the following issues:
- does the test lab actually get used?
- are the equipments calibrated?
- are tests carried out to a formal procedure?
- are tests results analyzed against relevant standards and set criteria?
- how are test results recorded?
- does the test lab employ technicians, or are tests carried out by the Quality Manager (a sure sign of trouble!)
To ensure their products are as good as they claim to be, all factories should have suitable means to check their production.
Usually this doesn’t require state of the art equipment; it requires appropriate testing to be carried out at regular intervals in a methodical manner, using calibrated machines to set procedures.