For sourcing of any kind of industrial or any other consumable products, China has emerged to be one of the cheapest sources in the world. Therefore, if you want to be profitable in your business then you cannot ignore China as a possible sourcing destination.
However, a few years back, China had a very bad reputation for producing inferior quality products, and hence that had created a very big issue on the market. However, over the years that tag seems to have reduced a lot and people have now started recognizing any Chinese products also as good quality products.
However, it is necessary that while sourcing any products in bulk quantity from China, you need to do thorough research about the source. The idea of hiring a Chinese sourcing agent was also born due to this reason and many importers prefer to hire an agent so that it can be ensured that what you end up getting from China is the right quality of a product.
The problem faced by the importers from the western countries is as follows:
- There is plenty of red-tapisms that one has to come across that may consume plenty of time.
- Communication is another biggest issue while dealing with Chinese companies as very few among them can speak English.
- Chinese workers are used to a more hierarchical structure in which each person has a clearly defined role. Therefore, they cannot take any decision unless it has been ordered by the higher authority.
- There is a basic cultural difference and hence while dealing with them one has to understand their way of working.
- It takes a pretty long time to make a business relationship with a Chinese company.
- The Chinese management style.
Due to all these reasons, initially, it becomes very difficult to understand each other and creates a lot of confusion while doing business in China. Often it has been found that you have demanded ‘X’ and what you may end up getting is either ‘Y’ or ‘Z’.
Therefore, it becomes very difficult to do business directly with a Chinese company unless you have someone in between you and them who can understand your requirement well and translate that into Chinese ways and then deliver to you.
Therefore, if you want to establish a better quality of the product while importing from China, the following are a few steps that you need to consider.
- Do an extensive research
Conduct thorough research on a Chinese manufacturer/supplier before doing business with them. Request quality and compliance certificates, manufacturer references, and case studies of work done with other, preferably any foreign companies.
Inquire about the quality of the company’s manufacturing process with companies with whom the manufacturer has worked.
- Access how the supplier communicates
It is very important to establish a convenient way of communication with the supplier. Most of the quality issues often arise due to communication failure. Here, you may see a major tole of your local sourcing agent who can be your reliable spokesperson to make clarity in communication.
- Check the facilities of the company
Don’t get impressed by seeing a nice picture shown by the supplier about their manufacturing facility. It is necessary to visit the company and see by yourself to evaluate whether it is as per your entire satisfaction or send some of your trusted agents and get a realistic report.
- Discuss your product specification and standards
As such, every supplier will claim that they are supplying the top quality of products, but don’t get convinced by mere words but discuss in detail about the specification and standards. You should not mince your words but speak out every detail.
- Order for a sample first
The best way would be to order a few samples first after you have clarified everything about your specifications and standards. Check the sample in your own setup and satisfy yourself with its quality parameters. It may take a few iterations to get satisfaction and approve the sample.
- Keep a proper track of their manufacturing process
Regardless of whether you requested a sample or not, you should keep track of their manufacturing process. This will ensure that the production process stays on track and that nothing goes wrong in the middle that you didn’t agree to. You may try to get the support of someone to keep an eye on.
- Ensure everything is as per your order
You must have your own set of standards that you expect from everything that you are getting from the supplier. Make sure that all your points have been covered and satisfied. There should be no loose end anywhere.
- Have better clarity about the production schedule
Also, make sure you have a good understanding of the scheduling timings. Have a rough estimate of how long it will take for your order to arrive. Having such vital information on hand will assist you in resolving any unexpected issues that may emerge.
- Inspect the items thoroughly
Whenever you get any shipment from the supplier, you must inspect them thoroughly and do not hesitate to reject the entire lot if it is not as per your satisfaction. To get a proper quality, particularly from China you need to take a very strong measure.
- Make your expectation very clear
While discussing with your supplier, you must discuss all your expectation from them and also ensure that they understood your expectation from their point of view. Often this is a grey area where you need to do a lot of work to bring proper clarity. Your local agent can play a very important role here.
There can always be the possibility of unforeseen complications while working with a new supplier. It is difficult to foresee every potential issue. Whether you are sourcing from China or any other source, this is true. However, by following the above tips, you can safeguard yourself.
You will have a better experience if you conduct due diligence after every step of the process, from finding your supplier to setting your expectations and ensuring your provider follows through.