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No production without standards, a leap in product quality
China Standardization 2021-12-02

Production without standards used to be a severe and lingering problem in Chinese enterprises, especially in township enterprises and small or private operations. Products made under such condition were restricted from achieving better quality, which brought a tough task for management authorities to ensure the quality control of these enterprises.

In 1995, the product qualification rate in private-operated and township enterprises were 38.6% and 67.2% respectively, much lower than 80.2% in state-owned companies, according to the spot check results released by the state supervision authorities. And in the spot check for the third quarter, about one third of the inferior products were made without standards.

According to No.135 document issued by the former State Bureau of Technical Supervision in 1997, the products made without standards refer to those: 1) produced without legal standards; 2) with incomplete standards that cannot ensure product quality thoroughly or precisely; 3) whose standards applied in production were inconsistent with those declared; 4) whose production and inspection not complying with standards; 5) export-oriented products sold at home not complying with domestic standards; 6) defined by the provincial or national departments in charge of standardization as production without standards.

Production and inspection without standards posed a big threat to the product quality improvement in township and small enterprises. To cope with the problems in township enterprises such as backward management, weak standardization consciousness, production without standards as well as inferior product quality, the former State Bureau of Technical Supervision started the pilot work on eliminating production without standards across the nation in 1995.

The first step was to carry out an investigation on the products produced by all industrial enterprises at the township level across the nation.

The next step was rectification. Enterprises were required to solve problems found in implementing mandatory standards and encouraged to adopt the recommended standards. If there was no responding standard, they were also encouraged to develop enterprise ones. Those with weak technical capabilities could obtain support from supervision departments.

Enterprises with strong capabilities were allowed to adopt international standards and internationally advanced standards to improve their brands. By doing so, companies shall deal with production and inspection strictly with standards, prevent inferior products from entering the market. Any products made by imported or adapted foreign technique must comply with international standards or advanced industrial standards.

Strict inspection and acceptance check. Provincial technical supervision bureaus conducted unified inspection and acceptance, rigorously carrying out the general acceptance method created by former State Bureau of Technical Supervision. Counties that passed the acceptance would win "No production without standards" title, and should continue to consolidate the achievement in follow-up work. Qualified enterprises were encouraged to implement the GB/T 19000 quality management system and establish a sound and complete system including standards on technologies, management, and operation.

On December 24, 1996, The Quality Invigoration Programme, issued by the State Council, required "township enterprises to reinforce their foundational work, implement mandatory national standards, and stop production without standards".

In June 1997, the former State Bureau of Technical Supervision received a congratulatory letter, acknowledging the importance of eliminating production without standards, from Wu Bangguo, the then Vice Premier of the State Council. Since then, governments on different levels, quality inspection bureaus, related departments, and producers were fully mobilized to carry out coordinated campaigns.

Relevant work has achieved great success with the support of the special fund from local governments, promotion of the former supervision authorities, and active rectification of enterprises. With better management capabilities and stronger awareness on standards, the enterprises laid solid foundation for technical advancement and quality improvement, which contributed to the further development of China's standardization cause.

In February 2003, SAC announced the achievements of the campaigns. Since 1997, about 770,000 enterprises in 2,300 counties/cities registered in the survey with authorities, who established over 10,000 standing books of enterprises' production information. Standardization departments on various levels assisted in the development of 194,347 enterprise standards while providing the training on Standardization Law of China for all legal persons and related staff from the companies.

All 2,300 counties passed the acceptance check, realizing the goal that "product standards coverage rate achieved more than 95%, qualification rate in product quality spot check reaching 80% and above with a rise of 10%-15% in average in county-level manufacturing enterprises". So far, the nation has put an end to production without standards.

(Chinese version provided by Sectoral and Local Standardization Office of Standards Innovative Management Department; edited and translated by Liu Hongbo)
 

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