Saturday, May 30, 2009

China: May 26-27

The 26th was a pretty relaxed day. We didn’t have much to do. We visited a small operation that might do some work for us and were pleasantly surprised by the operation. However, the quality system was horrible despite the fact that they had an ISO 9001 approval. To tell you the truth, I am not sure that the companies in China are held to firmly by the ISO system. Most of them most likely pay for the certification and aren’t audited vigorously. The facility we visited had no system for routing the parts though manufacturing and had not written anywhere what their testing procedures were. Both are huge no-no’s in the ISO system and there is no way that a competent auditor would allow a company like that to keep their ISO certification. But like a lot of things in China, if you pay enough money to the right people, you get what you want. The ISO certifying agent gets a company that has to pay them for the certification, and the company gets a certification that gets them business. It is a win-win situation for everyone except the customer who gets the product.

However, if they add the routing and testing documents to their system, we’ll do business with them. Especially since they are the only ones we can find who are capable of making the parts we need for a new line of valves we are making. That sort of situation can make you ignore things that would normally make you shy away from a company. Such is life.
Once we were finished with that, we went back to YMV and wasted some time until lunch. I spent most of the time writing up the reports I’m doing on the audits I’m performing. We went to supper and had a nice meal then came home and went to bed.

The 27th was a travel day. We are leaving Yuhuan and traveling about 1000 miles north to Yidu. It is on a peninsula above Shanghai. First, we drove to the ferry that took us over to Wenzhou where we were flying out of. It was a perfect day for a ferry ride. It was sunny and about 80. I was taking a look at the surrounding area and was surprised to notice that there were very few if any houses on the waterfront. This surprised me because in the US the waterfront property would be the most valuable in the area and would be bought up quickly. He explained that there were many reasons why people didn’t build on the water. The first was hurricanes. They come through the area regularly and can destroy the houses. Second was the water. It is so polluted that no one will swim in it. That takes a bit out of the pleasure of living on water. Finally, he said that they rarely air condition the houses in China and that means that moisture would quickly deteriorate the houses and they would fall apart. I guess all of those reasons sound like a good enough reason not to buy a house on the water to me.

Finally, we arrived in Whenzhou and flew up to Quindao (sounds like Chin-dow). From there, we drove up to Yidu. It made for a long day. We didn’t get in to the hotel until about 9:00 at night. After a day of that much travel, there is only one thing you want to do, go to sleep. However, the people at Yidu had a different idea. We have to eat supper. The food is a little different than in Yuhuan. Because they are on a peninsula, there is a lot more seafood. This lead to the most interesting food I have had to eat so far. And by interesting, I mean disgusting. They are called sea cucumbers. I have been forced to eat sea cucumbers 3 times now. They are absolutely disgusting. They don’t have a very strong flavor (thank god), but the texture is truly horrible. Imagine a bumpy, slimy, greenish-brown, 4 inch long, super ball and you might have a slight idea of what it’s like. I have included a picture that gives a good idea of what we are dealing with.

So anyhow, I had another 2 hour meal and then finally had a chance to get to bed. It was a long day, but fortunately most days we don’t start until 9 or 9:30. I was able to sleep in.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin