Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Quality Control and the Rimei RM2003

I, personally, have received three Rimei brand, model RM2003 razors. (Though the three razors were purchased from two different sellers, all three arrived in identical packaging with the same return address -- leading one to believe that despite different sales outlets, they were shipped from the same location.) At a sales price everywhere of under US$13, and at under US$6 from most sellers, you wouldn't expect a work of art.

Yet I have to admit that I don't understand this Chinese manufacturer's approach to quality.

In all three razors, I have seen imperfect but completely adequate plating. For a bargain-basement price, I have no problem with this aspect of their manufacturing quality. I can live with a bit of wavyness in an otherwise functional finish that protects the substrate, which in the baseplate is likely mild steel, and in the top cap probably a zinc alloy.

I have also received handles that are completely fine. No complaints other than that the edges of the grooves could be sharper for even better grip, but as is, the handles are totally acceptable.

However, the baseplates and top caps are a different story.

My first razor had a baseplate safety bar that was bent and unusable.

Both my first and second razors had baseplates with safety-bar flanges of different lengths. This doesn't necessary affect razor functionality, but contributes to a low-quality image.

My third razor had a more symmetrical baseplate, but the top cap had about a 3-4 mm depression along one of the edges that holds the blade edge straight. Fortunately this didn't adversely impact the positioning of the blade, but again shakes confidence in the instrument and its manufacturing and quality processes.

All three razors have slightly differing shave character when comparing the two edges of a given razor. Not a huge problem, but still, not the ideal situation; after all, both edges of a given razor should shave the same -- and if the manufacturer asked me, I would recommend that they fix this issue.

What I can't wrap my head around is the manufacturer's perspective on this. If they simply improved their uniformity and consistency of manufacture, they could appropriately charge at least US$12 per razor and it would still be a good value. If they employed modern manufacturing statistical-process controls (read W. Edwards Deming for more information), they could, after a time, improve both quality and production output of their product.

I just don't get it. Or maybe they don't.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment