Product Quality Inspections to Do When Sourcing from China


74569981 copy 3.jpgIntroduction

China is the holy grail for companies looking to source products. When it comes to business, the sweet spot for any successful company is cheap manufacturing with quality products. However, sourcing products from a place you don’t have direct access to can be a stressful affair. The fact that you can’t directly assess the quality of the products you are paying for in advance demands a lot of trust in the system. This is especially true if you are new in the business and the country you are sourcing from is China. China is an attractive product sourcing option for several reasons: The variety of products made, the incomparably cheap labor, and the several versatile manufacturing services offered are just a few of those reasons. However, keeping a check on them can be a hassle.

Lack of direct access, the language barrier, cultural differences, etc., can make the business dealings difficult to navigate through. On top of all this, China has disrepute among the general public about their products and production management. Most of these are baseless, but it can add to the stress when your start-up has invested a lot of money on a shipment from China. Keep in mind that China continues to be the most sought-after sourcing country despite all these assumptions. Anyone with experience in sourcing products from China will know that China inspection services take care of these concerns. In this article, we look at the facts about some of the myths about Chinese products and the steps you can take to have a stress-free transaction.

Busting the myths of the “made in China quality”

China made products stand the test of time

A popular misconception that some people have is that China-made products are not of good quality. But this is not the truth. The reality is that, with Chinese manufacturers, you get what you pay for. You choose a reputable Chinese supplier and you'll get premium quality products better than those manufactured in the USA and Europe.

You see, unlike countries like Japan and Korea, China has broken into the market at all economic levels, making its products affordable to people of all economic classes. You get the same product at different prices, with different quality levels. However, nowadays, you do find some Korean, Japanese and even American brands for selling low-quality knock-offs to gullible customers.

As for product quality in China, you will find top-quality products that are at par with the global market along with the extremely affordable lower-quality ones. This should not be surprising considering the fact that China is at the top of the game in terms of technology.

Chinese products maintain low pricing because of the incomparably low labor cost. Materials used for different products are pretty much the same across countries. Therefore, you can be sure that Chinese products are of high quality if you take proper quality control actions.

When dealing with a manufacturer, the important point to remember is to specify exactly what you expect in your shipment. This includes the material, finishing, and any intricate details.

Chinese manufacturers are aligned to client specifications

Some importers have the misunderstanding that their specifications may not be followed when they order from Chinese suppliers. But this is just not true. China - due to its technological superiority - has the ability to meet all types of client specifications. No matter how simple or complex.

Here is the truth about sourcing internationally. All outsourced production deals run the risk of not meeting expectations. This risk becomes manifold when the manufacturer you are dealing with is culturally and linguistically different from you. So, you can get a German supplier or a Bangladeshi supplier who may fail to meet your specifications. This is because they don't understand your language. China gets massive disrepute in this regard because a lot of western businesses fail to navigate this cultural and linguistic gap effectively. With constant involvement in the process, and having a Chinese-speaking employee on the team, you will be able to solve any challenges you face.

Often, the responsibility of the production assignment is put entirely on the shoulders of the manufacturer once the consignment is assigned. It is assumed that the manufacturer is entirely responsible for understanding the specifications and requirements accurately with whatever input they get from their clients. This is unrealistic. You, as the buyer, need to do your part in ensuring there are no communication gaps with your supplier. It's necessary to go the extra length to clarify your product requirements. Pictures, video demonstrations and actual samples can be extremely helpful in avoiding any miscommunications.

Often, when dealing with foreign clients, the manufacturers sometimes don’t maintain direct contact. Communication is almost entirely done through sales representatives. Although this helps with the language barrier, it makes it doubly complicated to ensure your instructions are being followed.

Many companies work around this complication by ensuring that at least one of the factory floor staff is in the communication loop. China inspection services help bridge this gap by assigning representatives that serve your interests.

Chinese companies reasonably priced suppliers of premium quality goods

When it comes to Chinese suppliers, one thing is true. No one can beat them at pricing. But sometimes this makes some importers wonder about the quality of the product they're being given.

Here is the truth about Chinese product pricing. Among Chinese companies and manufacturers, prices vary quite drastically. This is because of three reasons:

  • Extremely low-cost labor - which significantly drives down prices.

  • Easy availability to local materials - which cost much lesser than imported materials.

  • Access to homegrown production technology - most Chinese suppliers have cutting-edge technology, which allows them to automate certain tasks, allowing them to produce higher quantities. This in turn helps you get economies of scale.

Also, unlike Western companies, Chinese companies encourage price wars in their market. So, you are bound to benefit from the incredibly low prices offered by some suppliers. Additionally, China quality inspection services usually cover aspects of overseas export and also provide cost-effective bits of advice when helping you choose a manufacturer.

Chinese companies will ship products once you have signed off on the product quality

There's a reason why Chinese suppliers are so popular amongst so many importers around the world. They are sticklers for specifications and customers' satisfaction. The accusation that Chinese companies don't listen to their clients is based on scattered experiences that don't reflect the entire truth.

As mentioned in the previous sections, the language barrier and the cultural differences often pose a problem during communication. However, China inspection services would prevent any mismanagement of an order, such as shipping before client approval. 

All QC inspection services in China emphasize pre-shipment inspection, of which client approval is an essential part. Pre-shipment inspections are done after about 80% of the production is done. This is then checked independently by a representative of the QC team and by the client themselves. This due process ensures that the products don't get shipped without a green signal from the client.

Chinese companies are very easy to work with

Working with any foreign supplier is difficult and it is wrong to blame just Chinese suppliers. The truth is, many buyers don't like to shoulder any responsibility when it comes to sourcing internationally. The expectation that sellers need to know English or follow the same trade rules as in the buyer's home country, is not possible realistically.

When it comes to working with Chinese suppliers, it helps to have a Chinese-speaking employee on your team. When communication barriers and cultural barriers are reduced, you will see how friendly, cooperative and helpful Chinese suppliers really are. You should also invest in translators, on-site representatives, etc. Once you do this, you will see just how easy it is to collaborate with your Chinese Supplier.

Chinese companies have really stringent quality control processes in place

There is a baseless assumption going around in the world that Chinese suppliers don't use any quality control processes. This is a blatant lie.

The truth is, all countries - China included - have quality inspections. Just think about it. If Chinese suppliers did not have quality control processes in place, why would they receive so much demand? Why would so many countries buy from China?

The reality is that China has a system of quality checks in place. Several China inspection services can help you ensure that these systems are followed on your consignment.

ING_52006_03209 copy.jpg4 types of quality inspections every Chinese manufacturer implements

Pre-Production Inspection (PPI)

Pre-production inspection is done on all production orders. This involves a detailed examination of the raw materials and the factory. The quality and quantity of the raw materials are assessed to make sure that they are adequate for the product in question. China inspection services also involve checking the factory’s production line and capabilities in terms of human workforce and machinery. Additionally, PPI can ensure that the timelines and checkpoints are realistic for the factory.

During Production Check (DUPRO)

During Production Check is done for production that is already underway. This involves regular check-ins to ensure that the production meets the timeline checkpoints and maintains adequate quality across the production process. Random sampling is done to make sure that all products meet the quality standards. Also, in cases where the PIP was less than satisfactory, China inspection services conduct DUPRO as a follow-up to check on the compensatory arrangements made. DUPRO also usually involves checking on the packaging process and regular feedback.

Pre-shipment Inspection (PSI)

This is done by a China inspection company when at least 80% of the manufacturing is completed. Random samples are selected and tested against the relevant quality and safety standards as a final assessment. At this point, major corrections are rarely done, but there is still some room for finishing touches.

Container Loading Check (CLC)

Container loading check is an important part of overseas consignments. This helps you stay on top of the loading process as well as the containers used in the process. CLC keeps a check on several factors such as the weather conditions during loading, the sturdiness of the containers, and the loading and unloading activities. It also involves making sure that the containers are securely sealed and appropriately numbered.

Best practices to ensure Product quality when sourcing from China

Invest enough time and effort into finding a suitable supplier

Do not make the mistake of going with the biggest, cheapest manufacturer. Find a manufacturer that meets your requirements specifically. Often, the big factories are less flexible about timelines and product specifications. When you are starting out with your business, it is important to find the right manufacturer for you, since you might be working with them for a long time to come. Also, look out for factories that are not transparent about their working system. A lot of factories give out their contracts to smaller contractors. This often ends with you having no control over how and where your products are being made. A China inspection company can reduce the hassle for you by doing the research for you before you have to make a decision.

It is also important to find a manufacturer that works in a similar line of production as yours. This way, it is easier to communicate the specifications about your product with minimal chances of misunderstandings. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a good chance that at least some of the materials involved in the production of your product are not native to China. So, there is a good chance that they might not be familiar to your manufacturer. Include these aspects in your research and encourage your manufacturer to ask questions. A detailed demonstration can go a long way in bridging the communication gap.

Communicate expectations clearly

A lot of companies overlook the importance of clear budgeting when hiring a manufacturer. Whether it is a local or overseas manufacturer, it is important to communicate your budget constraints accurately. It is often the case that when budgeting is done efficiently beforehand, you end up trying to cut corners in the final stages of production, namely, quality inspections.

Expectations regarding the timeline you have in mind for the production process need to be agreed upon beforehand. Make sure that the manufacturer has understood and agreed to the timeline you set up. Additionally, get him on board for regular communications. An effective way to keep this system in place is to set up a payment system that is tied to the different milestones in your timeline. This way not only is the manufacturer motivated to adhere to the timeline, but you are also checking in on the product at different stages of production.

You also have to keep in mind that different countries have different cultural practices when it comes to quality control. In several developing countries, a quality check is not as strictly practiced as in the West. So, often the manufacturers in these countries work under the impression that a ‘good enough’ product will sell as well as a ‘good’ product. This means, your expectations of the quality of the product might be in conflict with what they consider good enough. These products might be able to go in their markets, but your country’s quality control laws might put your business on hold entirely. China quality inspections, when done through China quality inspection services, often take into consideration the quality standards of the client’s country as well.

70641675 copy.jpgHow Maple Sourcing can help customers preserve their product quality

Quality checking is an important yet difficult part of business. If not done properly, you might end up with low-quality products unfit for the market. A common mistake among inexperienced businesses is assuming that quality checks can be done satisfactorily by themselves. Without adequate experience in the area, it is easy to overlook details that might prove crucial in maintaining quality for your products. This is especially true because of the fact that most manufacturers tend to cut corners on aspects of production that are easily overlooked by clients. Hiring QC inspection services in China is more of a smart investment than you probably realize.

Maple Sourcing was founded as a relief for overseas clients who work with manufacturers in China. As one of the QC inspection services in China, Maple Sourcing helps you keep in touch with your valued products in the process of production, at every stage. This is done by assigning a verified representative who will help you outright from the beginning of your production journey, which is choosing a manufacturer who suits your specific requirements. This is often a laborious task for clients who have no prior experience in researching and hiring manufacturers, especially when they have no direct access. Maple sourcing gets you all the relevant data, compares your requirements against those of several manufacturers, and finds you the best in the business. With the experience and knowledge of several years in the market, Maple Sourcing gets you the best deal at the lowest prices.

Once a manufacturer is hired, Maple Sourcing will essentially be your eyes and ears on-site. An initial round of samples is sent to you to ensure your satisfaction right from the beginning. Based on your feedback, mass production can be initiated, while you can rest assured that the products meet your expectations.

Regular interventions during production ensure that the manufacturing process is satisfactorily underway. This way not only are your products delivered on time, but also with expected quality. You can also get additional samples at any point of production.

Maple Sourcing also oversees the delivery process by taking care of all the paperwork and loading-unloading involved. 

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