Everyone has heard the stories about companies ordering goods from China and only receiving low quality (or worse yet, broken!) products. As a company sourcing products from China we have met many people with the same story. More often than not they then become clients of ours.
Dealing with any business at arms length comes with risks and this is certainly true when manufacturing products in China. Chinese suppliers often have the reputation of producing low quality products – albeit undeserved in our opinion.
How do you avoid this happening to you?
You should never find yourself in a situation where it has gone wrong if you have the correct check and measures in place during the process!
As with anything, you need to start on the right track and this involves finding reliable Chinese manufacturers.
Easier said than done? Maybe not.
Most people’s first port of call when looking for overseas manufacturers is websites like Alibaba and Madeinchina. These have their positives and their negatives. They do not identify the difference between a reliable manufacturer and an unreliable one.
As with any business interaction is very important that you do your research and find out who exactly you are dealing with. You have to make sure you ask all the right questions and run your checks on the company.
- Who do they supply at the moment?
- What other products do they produce?
- What factory certification do they have?
- Are they responsive to your questions?
- Are their language skills high enough?
History is always a great predictor of the future and if a Chinese supplier has a history or producing excellent products for reputable companies then they are likely to continue to do this.
It’s harder to correct a mistake then it is to stop it in the first place. This is the main principle you should use when sourcing manufacturing in China.
It is vital that you have a procedure with checks and measures in place to confirm that no mistakes are being made with the product during manufacturing.
After you have found a reliable Chinese manufacturer, you MUST get a sample.
You can do this in several stages. At first, to save on cost, this could be a sample of a similar product which is already being made by the factory.
If this sample is acceptable, you can progress to a sample in your design or with your branding. If you have packaging requirements this should be with your final packaging. This will become your silver seal sample and your yardstick for bulk manufacturing.
This is a good start but by no means the end. In an ideal world, you would visit the factory or send a representative to the factory during production.
From personal experience, even the best Chinese manufacturers make mistakes and it’s about spotting these as early as possible.
Using a company like GHL Sourcing is a good cost effective way to get feet on the ground and ensure these checks are in place.
When production has finished, if possible, you will send someone to the factory to carry out a pre shipment inspection. If this is not possible, you can air freight several production samples to check the production has been carried out properly as well as getting photographs of the cartons and packing.
Once these basic checks have been carried out, you know for certain that the product was finished correctly.
If product still arrives in your warehouse in pieces, make sure you have a good cargo insurance policy!