Quality degradation is a supplier’s behavior of progressively degrading the quality of the products to earn more profits, at beginning, it’s not easy to be noticed; but when later on a significant quality degradation is found by the buyer, disputes may arise between the buyer and the supplier, which can ultimately lead to termination of agreements.

Why does quality degradation occur?

The most important reasons include:

1. Issues concerning business ethics

Business is business. Naturally, a businessman’s end goal is to pursue high profit margins. If you do not investigate your suppliers carefully prior to engaging in trade, you may experience issues with certain suppliers beginning to degrade quality little by little over time in order to lower its costs.

2. Disconnection between quality levels of supplier and buyer

Buyers can sometimes forget to specify clear levels of desired quality in their quality specifications. Additionally, suppliers tend to sway more to the side of providing final products at their lowest cost. This may cause an issue between intended quality levels of the buyer and the final quality levels of products produced by the supplier.

3. Difficulty of controlling overseas suppliers

Some quality degradation can be found in the production process; however, catching subtle quality degradation can be difficult if you are located thousands of miles away. These issues are hardly monitored from far way in such detail. Having awareness that factories may participate in quality degradation can help you stay on top of issues that may occur later on.

Can the quality degradation be avoided?

We believe this problem can be avoided, if the importer focuses on the following:

1. Select a reliable factory

Perform a factory audit and investigate the factory carefully before placing an order. This can help in finding a reliable factory to work with. To find a factory with integrity also means you will save that much more time and money in the future.

2. Have backup suppliers

When you have an alternative suppler, your primary supplier will worry about being replaced and could put in more effort to pay attention to quality if they value your business.

3. Set up quality control system

Even if suppliers have quality control staff in place, their products may still experience issues with quality. An in-production or pre-shipment quality control should be performed by your company’s representative or from a professional third party. A trustworthy third party company can help you with various aspects of your China sourcing endeavors, including factory audit, pre-production monitoring, in-production monitoring, pre-shipment inspection, etc.

Quality degradation is an issue that can happen to anybody. It is important to always make sure you have effective quality control procedures in place.


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