When you source from China, you need to find a good supplier, but it’s a big challenge. If you’ve found a supplier with all below five qualities, you can be confident you have found a relatively good one.

1. Accountability

Admitting to a mistake can be difficult. But when your goods are on the line, it’s essential that you’re working with someone who can take responsibility for their half of a deal and actively work to fix any problems that occur. That’s why accountability tops the list of qualities of a good supplier.

Imagine finding untrimmed threads in 25 percent of an order of garments you’re importing. Even though this might be considered a “minor defect”, the number of pieces affected makes it impossible to ignore.

A supplier with accountability will take responsibility for the quality problem and work to address it quickly. They might offer to remove the untrimmed threads and implement stricter quality controls or revise work instructions to prevent the same defect from appearing in future production runs.

2. Production capabilities

The ability to actually manufacture the product to your specifications is one quality of a good supplier. In fact, many importers tend to focus so much on the production qualities of good supplier capabilities of a prospective supplier that they may overlook other vital considerations. But knowing with confidence what a supplier can actually deliver is harder than simply talking to a supplier representative you found online.

A good supplier should be able to consistently manufacture a product that meets your requirements. Without having the necessary procedures and skilled staff at the factory, your supplier is going to fall short of meeting your standards.

3. Ease of communication

Language and cultural barriers can present real challenges for importers buying from suppliers overseas. You’ll benefit greatly from working with a supplier with good communication skills. Effective and efficient communication can prevent a variety of problems ranging from delays to product nonconformities.

4. Cooperation with third-party inspection

Most people don’t like to have someone looking over their shoulder and meticulously checking their work. But third-party inspection has become a fairly standard requirement. A good supplier will comply with an importer’s request to have an outside inspector verify the product before it ships.

5. Work ethics

Ethical sourcing has made its way into the spotlight. As larger brands have made headlines in recent years for social compliance violations in their supply chain, countries have taken steps to outlaw goods made with forced labor.

Many importers don’t want to be associated with a product made by workers that are treated unfairly or working in unsafe conditions.


It’s not always easy to identify a good supplier immediately. But after some initial communication, you should be able to qualify one by looking for these five traits.

Just because a supplier is convincing and shows you a few amazing product samples doesn’t mean you should overlook how they actually function. These traits will help you sort the good from the bad and help you determine if using a particular supplier is best for your supply chain, your customers and your business.


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