When you order samples from a Chinese manufacturer at any stage, it goes without saying that you, as the customer, expect to see a close to final product with small exceptions that only mass production can achieve.

Very often a buyer will accept that a mass production item will/should look like the sample they received. This is a fair assumption but unfortunately, more often than not, this is not the case.

If the correct and detailed drawings are supplied from the beginning, this can eliminate further interpretation by the manufacturer. If you are developing a product straight from the factory the supplier holds a certain amount of creative control over the process. This often leads to the supplier telling you what can and can’t be done in their opinion, or based on what’s easier for them in the short-term.

In my opinion samples differ from the final product because of shortcuts and interpretation of the original design. It’s a lack of clarity and communication that is unfortunately common when dealing with Chinese suppliers, due largely to language and cultural barriers.

If you want to ensure that you are getting the product you approved and expect, it is an advantage to look for ways to be represented at the factory during this process. It’s very important to get design files and make sure that the drawings you have are adhered to at all times. It’s about eliminating as many possible avenues for interpretation as you can.

Every order from then on should be checked to make sure that the product remains as close to the original approved sample as possible.

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