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Deciphering the Role of Sourcing Agents in Factory Audits


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A factory audit is a standardized process overseen by quality managers to determine if a supplier meets a company’s quality standards for services and products. This guide aims to explain the working and significance of factory audits, covering factors involved in the process and different types of factory audits.

How Factory Audit Works?

The final step in supplier selection is approving the production factory. Factory audits confirm the factory’s ability to produce quality products on time. Regular audits are crucial for continuous improvement in the factory’s operations.

The steps involved in auditing any factory can be the following:

– Identification: Searching potential suppliers in China on directories or trade shows.

– Screening by questionnaire: Shortlisting of about 3 to 5 manufacturers.

– Background checks:  Conducting a thorough background check of the supplier.

– Documents verification: After the screening, the auditor will conduct a verification of the company’s financial information, official licenses, and certifications.

– Observation of the production area: This is the main part of auditing, which involves the understanding of the factory’s product specialization. Thereafter checking how the production line of the supplier works. Next will be checking the factory’s facilities, machinery, human resources, and production line.

– Verification of the quality system: In this process factory’s quality system is compared with the ISO9001 certification. Verification of materials usage, product processing, and how final goods are checked.

– Social compliance issues: Assessment of matters of concern, including living circumstances, fair compensation, overtime, and the effects on the environment and the working conditions of employees.

– Report preparation: Finally, the auditor prepares a report based on observations and an assessment that is subjective.

What role a sourcing agent can play?

A sourcing agent is a person who can play a very effective role in conducting the auditing of any Chinese factory with whom you are interested to deal and source your product for a longer term.

Sourcing agents are typically individuals who work independently or with an assistant, often from small offices or home-based setups. Many have backgrounds in sourcing or trading companies.

China sourcing agents are widely available for freelance work via their own websites and on marketplaces such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.

Employing a reliable sourcing agent will greatly ease your workload if you are attempting to assess a few factories in Shenzhen for your product.

Sourcing agents will either audit themselves or get audited through any professional company in China, as per your format.

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