Quality Control When Source Products from China

China is called “the world factory” for its business ecosystem, huge labor pool and low production costs. As a result of focusing on production-oriented upstream and downstream in production facilities, materials, design, and freight transportation within a specific area, a close economic and technological cooperation circle has been established to reduce production costs and increase production efficiency. 

 

China has a long list of producers, thereby leaving you spoilt for choice. You have the flexibility to choose a producer whom you think is best and as per your preference. However, one of the biggest issues is quality control, considering you stay tens of thousand miles away from the production line. In this article, I’d like to share some of my thoughts per my 20-year experience.

 

1. Understand the value of your products

When you plan to source products from China, you must have a full understanding of the products. With the product value in mind, you are allowed to figure out the quotes from suppliers which may help you settle on the market. You have to figure out the raw material, basic process, functions, and even the design.

 

The most important thing you have to understand is about product quality. You have to know the price range of the product at a certain level of quality. Normally, you will find a different price on the market for similar products because of different quality standards. As such, you have to understand the value of the product. The full understanding of your products will definitely help you to specify the quality standards in detail in the contract when you cooperate with manufacturers.

 

2. Cooperate with a quality supplier

Remember to cooperate with quality suppliers when you start souring from China. First and foremost, you have to reach them to check their qualities. You can find these suppliers on different platforms such as B2B websites, Google, trade shows, and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Find them and get their contact info and background info to know much more about the supplier. Secondly, you are allowed to entrust a third-party inspection company to inspect the manufacturer. Remember to ask for the inspection report if you entrust someone or a company you are familiar with. This helps you narrow down your choices.

 

3. Quality Control over imported products

When it comes to quality control over the imported products, there is a wide variety of stuff to do on the list. It covers all possible links ranging from the beginning of the production line and the ending of pre-shipping management. We’ve divided it into three different periods for the product.

 

(1) Pre-production Inspection

The first comes to the pre-production inspection. At this period, you have to check the raw material and components. Generally, manufacturers are inclined to source the cheapest material and components, and they are not aware of the raw material restrictions of your country. To make sure the quality of the raw material and components, you are allowed to draw a few samples randomly for the lab testing. Besides, you have to check the prototype of the product to ensure a successful design. In addition, you have to communicate frequently before it enters the mass production period. All this is to make sure that your quality specifications, materials, components, and process are completely understood by the manufacturer.

 

(2) In-process Inspection

Then it should be the in-process inspection. This means the inspection during the mass production. You have to make it in case of possible unsellable products produced. During this period, you have to check the quality of a few products that were already manufactured and avoid possible issues on the rest production. You should never check it too early or late given its turnover of the product manufacturing. Try to find out the non-conformity products based on the buyer’s requirement. Besides, you have to pay attention to the visual defects of the products. This is of great importance before it enters the market. What’s more, you have to monitor the process for the product such as the forging process, and the assembling requirement. You can supervise the manufacturing process. If possible, you have to keep frequent communication with the supplier to follow up on the manufacturing process and give specific details about the product. Frequent communication delivers a better understanding of the products specification. Get the manufacturing update from the suppliers, and find possible revisions, and correct it during the production period. You can get the potential problems fixed before it’s too late.

 

(3) Pre-shipment inspection

Literally, pre-shipment inspection means the product inspection prior to the shipping. Normally, you will get the finished product quality control from the manufacturer. But that’s not enough. Pre-shipment inspection is normally carried out once 100% of the order is produced, and almost 80% packed. Some may even wait until all orders get packed. This is to identify possible faults and errors in the batch orders before you ship the items. This is how you make it easier for suppliers to rectify an issue. For this part, you may not be able to check the product one by one. The best solution is to carry out the sampling test onsite. Sampling plans are available for you to determine the acceptable number of defects. Pick randomly and figure out an accurate overview of the quality of the batch order. Get the test report and evaluate if it is up to your quality standards.

 

4. Who will carry out quality control?

It’s important for you to entrust quality control to a reliable partner to ensure quality product sourcing. As such, you can make it by yourself, hire inspectors, or entrust a professional quality inspection agency. Make sure they fully understand the requirement of your products.

 

(1) Travel to China to Inspect Products Personally

You may not know the best way to conduct product inspection. Remember to take the details of the process into account and get the necessary training. You have to figure out the inspection quantity. As we know, it is impossible for you to inspect all the products one by one. You have to know the sampling inspection process, the on-site testing procedure, and the equipment for inspection. Besides, traveling to China takes your time, money at the expense of the opportunity which may neglect other business activities at home.

 

(2) Hire a third-party inspection company

A third-party inspection company will be the best option for those who don’t have a big budget to fly to China or hire your own inspection staff. The third-party inspection company will offer you their professional service with their expertise.