Last week I was reading a post on the Silk Road International Blog with some very good advice from an industry expert on how to avoid getting into trouble when sourcing from China. I have to admit that I am really surprised that companies are still missing on two very obvious steps: quality control and production audits.
I’ve been interviewing China experts for some time, and there is one single piece of advice that they never fail to mention: quality control is a must and production inspections are more than advisable, especially with new suppliers.
Here are tips & quotes from some of those interviews:
“Never relax! Even with good suppliers.
Production monitoring and quality control is still critical even when you work with your most trusted suppliers! The underlying issue is that our perception of what “acceptable” means is quite different. Your supplier may candidly approach you questioning why you can’t you take a product which is not meeting your specification if it still serves the purpose…”
from my post “7 Top Tips for Entrepreneurs Starting Business in China”- Interview with LinkPoint Europe.
“Be very strict with your quality control. You will annoy them but the loss is on you if something goes wrong.
I always go to the factory when my products are being made. I don’t tell them what day or what time, I just show up. When production has finished I personally inspect the product. I randomly inspect 10 to 30% of what has been packed. I make them open the boxes and I check the product is complying with the agreed specifications. I once made them open 300 boxes because I was not completely confident about the supplier. They obviously don’t love it, it has a cost for them, but I don’t care. The loss is on me if something goes wrong…”
from my post “5 Tips for Negotiating a Dealing with your Suppliers in China”- Interview with Dalton Asia Limited.
“I randomly check 15-20% of the final production for quality control, and reject anything that does not meet the agreed specifications. It’s usually not a problem as they always have excess production.
If you are dealing with a new supplier you must go for a production inspection”- Interview with Jennifer Patton from Asian Link
These are just a few examples of what experts based here recommend. But you don’t need to be based in China to fulfil this simple requirement. There are plenty of companies providing this type of service, so one wonders why buyers are still purchasing without QC and production inspections.