How to Import from China Part III
Over the last few posts I have been giving readers my thoughts on how to get the best results when and sourcing products from China.
Many readers have asked for my thoughts on a couple of other important aspects of importing goods and products from China namely, how to ensure and maintaining the product quality of the products you order, and what are the major cultural differences when dealing with Chinese manufacturers and suppliers. In this post, I’ll look at the product quality issue.
Ensuring Product Quality
Most Chinese manufacturers and suppliers make a tremendous amount of effort to make sure their products are of a high quality. This ensures that they get repeat business and great customer reviews and high ratings on B2B online marketplaces.
However, sometimes problems do occur. Here are a few tips to make sure that what you ordered is the quality that you expect and that quality is maintained.
Don’t get obsessed with the cheapest prices. Often it is a more cost effective option to go with a product that is a little more expensive which is of a higher and verifiable quality.
Ask your potential supplier for samples. Even if you have to pay a small fee, this may be a preferable option to making an order for goods of unknown quality.
If the sample sent to you is not to your liking, keep persisting until you get the ‘perfect’ sample. By this method you make sure your product specifications are exactly what you want, and it also allows you to define your tolerances and limits. Remember that good quality is also in the suppliers’ interest so this procedure is of mutual benefit.
If a Chinese supplier or manufacturer won’t work with you to make sure that the quality of the product is up to the standard you want, then get another supplier.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! That is, don’t rely on one supplier alone and spread your orders over a number of them. Then if there is a problem, there will be a minimum impact on your business.
Make the minimum quantity purchase order from one supplier. Although a vendor may be making a great, ‘too hard to refuse’ offer on product, it’s often best to first not rush into a large order straight away. This also helps with your inventory storage and control.
Always perform quality control on your shipment when first received and before you sell the products to your customers for obvious reasons.
If your order is particularly large or you are spending a lot of money, you should consider using a China-based reliable quality control and inspection service which can check the quality of your products before they are shipped, or perform an audit on your preferred supplier.
Lastly, if you’re serious about importing and have the time and means, visit your supplier (or a number of them) in China!
In my next post, I’ll share insights on doing business with Chinese suppliers in relation to understanding some major cultural differences.