My Top-10 QC Tools

This list contains my favorite QC Tools. Which tools do you use?
1. Calipers & Measuring lint: As the Dutch saying goes (and as been repeated over a million times during my years in college studying Engineering) “meten is weten”, translated into “measuring is knowing”
Callipers Measuring Lint.jpg

2. Fabric Sample Cutter: To cut a round piece of exactly 100cm2 from any fabric (diameter about 11.3cm). You can then measure this on your scale to know the grams-weight of the fabric. If the piece you cut out is for example 2.2 grams, you know the grams-weight of the fabric is 220gsm. Very useful as price of fabric is influenced substantially by weight
Sample fabric cutter.png

3. Magnet for stainless Steel & Medicine: You ordered Stainless Steel 304, but did you get it? The most simple way to check is by a using a magnet. If the material is magnetic, it means it is not Stainless 304.
An alternative is using a chemical liquid test. When putting the liquid on the steel surface the surface color will change. The color it changes into reveals the chemical composition and thus the stainless steel type.
Note: These methods are not fault proof and in some cases not accepted by factories. If an official test report is required contact your SGS laboratory.

4. Pantone Colorbook: I cant live without mine anymore. It has helped me in so many orders confirming the product color, making discussions with factories, and getting colors for product range uniform. There are a few other color matching systems like CMYK and RAL but you will find PMS is the standard in China and almost any factory will ask you for a PMS color. Tip: always check colors under white light, or daylight (indirect sunlight). Allow your supplier a tolerance or variation of 1 shade.

5. USB Barcode scanner: Its a cheap way to check if the barcodes have been printed properly and readable or not. I bought my Barcode scanner on for a little over 100rmb. Not a bad investment as getting news from your clients the barcodes cannot be read will cost a lot more
USB barcode scanner 2.jpg

6. Lighter: If you want to know what kind of plastic your supplier used for your product use your lighter for a burn test.
Different plastics burn differently (smell, drops or not, color of the flame). Have a look at the following video:

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Now check out below table and learn how to identify different types of plastics (copyright

Tip: for plastic there are a whole lot more ways to test. Check out this article on ehow which tells you how you can use your fingernail, a drop-test, or a bucket of water to identify plastic:
Finally: the same 50 cents investment in the lighter can also help you identify different types of fabrics by burning yarns. Check this tutorial in Youtube and get inspired:
<iframe width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

7. Precise digital measuring scale: One of the first investments you should make. A good measuring scale is too big to carry in your bag. We have an imported scale from Taiwan ( It cost about 800rmb. Weighs 0.1grams precise (yes, a big wind will be measured) and up to 5kg

8. UV Marker + black light: When you take out bad samples during inspection in factory mark them with a UV marker, preferably when no-one is watching. When you later use your black light you can see if indeed all bad products have been removed, or if they have been put inside the boxes with good products again
UV marker.jpg

9. Pre-formatted Checklist and recording tools
Prepare a detailed inspection list before visiting factory. Take your laptop or Ipad to record it during inspection. Points you want to work out are:

  • Product specifications (including technical & material specifications)
  • Order specifications (quantity, bar-codes etc.). Tip: pre-determine test-size using AQL
  • Pictures of product and specific point to pay attention to
  • Component list
  • Accessories list
  • Packaging specification
  • Specific tests to carry out. i.e.:
    • High POT. (1500V, 4000V)
    • Drop-test
    • Use test
    • Earth Continuity Resistance
    • Screw/Nut Torque test
    • Test finger-pin test
    • Impact hammer test
    • Export carton check (stand on the carton to see if it can hold your weight!)
  • AQL
  • Batch size

Always bring a decent camera and of course the original and approved samples

10. RoHS scanner: these scanners don’t come cheap, but if you want to make sure there are no harmful or illegal substances in your products, this is a useful investment. Third party inspections come at several thousand RMB per test so it will take just a few dozens of tests to earn back the investment.
Portable RoHS scanner.jpg

Further reading: Curious to explore more? Have a look on Alibaba:

Cultural differences China vs West

Cultural differences China vs West

Posted by CVV on July 24, 2011
Differences China vs West
Aspect West China
Time On-time: punctual. Care about deadlines. Time is money. Don’t waste any time, get right down to business Less punctual. Deadlines can be changed if there is a reason for it (there always is…). Time is a tool in negotiations (if you have more than your “opponent”). Take things slow
Self Individual is important Group is important. Preservation of harmony
Conflict resolution By contracts, court, lawyers, publicity, pressure. Economics comes first By mediation through third parties. Keep face. Re-assessment and reconfirmation of interests. Relationship comes first. Loyalty to this relationship is key
Trust High trust. Possible trust issues are covered by law, contracts. Can get into business immediately Low trust. Protect yourself by first working on relationship. Taking initial steps slow. Focus on relationship first. Trust the people near yourself. Never loose face to them. Never trust someone outside your direct close circle
Face/Reputation Care about reputation. Care about face. Always try and avoid loosing face or making loose face
Communication Direct, complete Indirect, subtle. Never disclose more information than necessary. Some topics are sensitive and cannot be discussed. But other topics which may seem very personal and sensitive like health, finance, and discussed completely open
Business priority Economics Not always clear. Can be money, face, political, nationalistic, can be loose in order to win
Emotional Self expression Self restrain
Negotiations Start from the very first moment. End with a contract Only start after a relationship has been made and trust has been established. Real negotiations start after signing contract. Negotiations can be re-opened at any given moment making previous agreements invalid
Humility Humility is a sign of weakness. You are always doing GREAT Humility is a virtue. You are always doing so-so. And laugh away compliments. Giving compliments is better than taking them

In the images (infographics) below. the cultural differences between the West and China are shown graphically.

Communication and self-expression

Lifestyle: independent vs dependent


Human network: connections and contacts

Attitude towards anger

Standing in line

Size of Ego / importance of the self

Streets on Sundays

People at parties

Sound level in restaurants

Fashionable tan level

Problem solving

3 meals a day

Evolution of transport over the last 3 decades

Life after retirement

Time of showers

Mood and weather

View of superiors

Family and children

Approach to something new

Travel spirit

Fashionable dinner


Perception: how Germans and Chinese see each other

On the beach

Images are property of Yang Liu.