Posts Tagged ‘QC’

Ordering from China for the first time

November 21st, 2011 No comments
Taking on the dragon?

Taking on the dragon?

Sourcing from China for the first time can be a daunting experience.

There are many cultural and language differences as well as huge differences in business mindsets. These combined issues can put you on the back foot from the start and put the supplier at a much more advantageous position.

This can easily negatively affect the result of your negotiations, both in terms of price and product quality.

Consider appointing an agent for you in China, who has local knowledge, experience and connections that can put you at an advantage over your new suppliers and your competition.

For a more detailed look at sourcing from China, take a look at some of our earlier articles, including:

Developing your products with existing Chinese manufacturers

Read more…

Sourcing and Manufacturing Agents in China

July 26th, 2011 No comments

If your company is understaffed or on a tight budget it’s a useful consideration to use a sourcing, QC and manufacturing agent when manufacturing in China. These are 3rd party entities that act on your behalf in China and in the factories.

It is sometimes an expensive affair flying out to a supplier in China to watch over a production or to solve a quality issue. A sourcing agent is a viable solution. Many SME’s use these services in order to guarantee quality and delivery time in a cost effective way.

A typical sourcing and manufacturing agent can provide:

  • Factory Audits and supplier checks
  • Quality Control on your order
  • Sourcing new products
  • Managing and coordinating multiple orders in different locations

There are a lot of sourcing and manufacturing agents in China. While on the surface they all appear to provide the same service, it is important to select a company to represent you that:

  • Insists on signing an NDA that protects your interests
  • Requests all relevant drawings and a control sample
  • Cares about what you are producing and takes pride in their work
  • Can solve your production problems and issues
  • Represents your company properly as a member of your team
  • Asks the right questions to you and to the supplier
  • Provides a clear report of issues discovered and solved
  • Has on the ground experience in China within your relevant sector
  • Gives you useful and timely updates of progress
  • Always works within your budget

You know you have the right partner looking after your interests on a day to day basis in China when your orders are delivered on time with no nasty surprises and in great condition.

If you want to know more about what a sourcing agent can do for you, and for a free, no-obligations quote, click here.

Factories in China: Production Samples and Final Products

July 14th, 2011 No comments

Why is it that we hear so many stories about the differences between approved production samples and the final bulk product?

I have heard so many excuses over the years blaming raw materials, real large scale production, ambient temperature, extra chemicals, original sample degradation over time, etc. It’s a real minefield and a drag on your resources to be embroiled in an argument about why your final products are nothing like the approved production samples. This is, of course a sign of a factory not in control of their purchasing or production. It is also a sign that you, as the customer are not fully in control too. An approved sample is an agreement between you and the manufacturer that they will produce that item for you in the quantities you require. If there are any changes from either side, it should be mutually agreed upon. There should be more than one approved sample produced so that more than one party can reference it. At least a minimum of one for the manufacturer and one for the buyer should be produced.

It would make sense to have representation at the manufacturing facility prior to the order being sent/delivered to check this sample against the mass produced product to determine any issues and discrepancies before they are shipped. As I have said before, to discover a fault or difference after acceptance of a delivery is often useless to the buyer and effort then needs to be spent on either refunding the items or sending them back. This rarely happens and many SME with substandard product are forced to sell at cheaper price, making a lower margin and releasing a poorer quality brand onto the market.
Most manufacturers of course don’t want to make these mistakes but when a purchasing or sales department member gets involved with your product, what might seem like a small change to them (link to cost saving raw materials) could end up being a crucial detail for your brand. You are the owner of your brand and product and you know it better than anyone else. If you have manufacturing documentation, and product specification clearly spelled out, then any deviation in the final product from that is deemed not suitable for you or your brand.
To have 3rd party representation on the ground in these facilities at the time of production, comparing your approved samples, checking materials and your product specifications can save you time, money and hassle in the future.
For more advice on managing your China sourcing and a free quotation, visit the ETP official website.

How to increase your influence over China manufacturers: Part 2

July 14th, 2011 No comments

Locking clients in with ‘special order’ items and MOQ stock purchase

A regular and effective business trick of Chinese manufacturers is to convince the purchaser that a material used is a ‘special’ one and needs to be ordered in advance and more often than not, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) is above your required amount, prompting them to explain that they need to order more, but they can use this on the next order.

It is also difficult for you to get the supplier information about this component and this helps the supplier ‘lock’ you into future business. If you need to look for another supplier, then the whole process of tracking down this ‘special’ order material begins again and the new supplier has an item they can use as leverage against you. At least this material will not appreciate in price, if you can afford to buy more than your order requirement. If the supplier buys it, you really have no idea how much is being used until the next time it is ordered and the price has risen yet again.

There are 2 different options the supplier normally presents you with:

1. You purchase a quantity to last a certain amount of orders – You bear the cost and are effectively locked in until it runs out.
2. The supplier purchases a quantity to last a certain amount of orders – You guarantee the supplier this business.
Both situations seem to satisfy the client whether you are financially constrained or not but actually they satisfy the supplier even more, with both eventualities leading to more business with them. A long and good working relationship is indeed an advantage between both parties however if these types of concessions are being made where you as the client are buying into a longer term contract with the supplier, you have to be convinced you are getting the best possible product out of them.

A 3rd party quality control service can, over the long term, assist you on a daily basis to maintain and increase the quality of your product locally.
For more information on dealing with your production in China, please visit the official ETP website.