• Elksourcing:Good Suppliers Share Same Good Qualities

    Per my 20-year experience in global sourcing and quality management, I’ve learned that good suppliers share the same good qualities. 1. Accountability for quality issues Admitting to a mistake can be difficult. But when your goods are on the line, working with a quality supplier that takes responsibility for their half of a deal can make a world of difference. That’s why accountability for quality issues tops the list of characteristics of a good supplier. But a supplier without accountability is more likely to deflect responsibility. They might tell you the quality of the fabric was poor and difficult to work with. Or, if you used a third-party inspector to check the goods, the supplier might accuse the inspector of incompetence or unprofessionalism. A supplier that won’t own up to their mistakes can hinder your ability to meet deadlines and product requirements. Look for signs of accountability as a key characteristic of…

  • Elksourcing:Why Early QC Involvement Is Important?

    Successfully sourcing your products from China implies being careful and diligent about each step of the manufacturing process. QC (Quality Control) is one important step that responsible importers implement at some stages of their production, usually before shipment because it is believed to be the most cost-efficient stage for quality control. Pre-shipment inspections are best sellers in the 3rd party QC industry; they are performed when production is finished (or almost finished). But without earlier preparation and follow-up with the factory, these inspections might present a few risks that you need to consider: 1. Costly Rework: Identifying defects late during the production cycle involves higher costs of rework and repair. Unpacking all the finished goods, sorting the defective products, reworking or changing them and repacking them again is costly. 2. Negative impact on Time-to-Market: If problems are found, repairing them often delays the shipment of your goods, which might affect your time…

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  • Elksourcing:Benefits of Quality Control Inspection for Importers

    Is quality control inspection really necessary before shipping? What value am I actually getting from inspection, and what risks do I take in forgoing it? Many importers manufacturing good in ask these questions. And if you’re wise, you too will consider what real benefits QC inspection offers and whether these benefits outweigh the costs. Because, ultimately, only you know what product quality your customers demand and the price they’re willing to pay to get it. So, what are the benefits of quality control inspection for you, the importer? Let’s dive right into those that likely matter most to you. 1. Quality control inspection lowers your costs Yes. You read that right. You may be thinking, if I have to pay someone to inspect my products, and inspection doesn’t directly improve quality, how can it lower my costs? Despite the fees you might typically pay someone to visit your supplier’s factory…

  • Elksourcing:Important Steps for Quality Control in China

    Recently I was asked what the important steps are when it comes to quality control in China. Interesting question. Well, the first is to find the right supplier. That’s probably the most important thing you can do, if you need to manufacture products in China. It is necessary. But it is not sufficient. Aside from supplier selection, there are three steps that I feel are indispensable. Most experienced buyers never skip these steps. 1. Product specification sheet Before you confirm an order to a Chinese supplier, you need to explain what you want. In other words, define your expectations before you order. A good specification sheet includes: How the product needs to be checked, and what is expected How the product should be labelled and packed What the tolerances are on measurements What the potential defects are and how to classify them Note that you should be aware of your country’s…

  • Elksourcing:Quality Control for Importing from China

    When your business entails importing products from China, it’s vital to incorporate a quality control process at the factory you work with. Even the best managed factory might not always produce a perfect batch, so a robust quality control plan should be used to ensure your specifications and quality expectations are met within every order. What is Quality Control? Quality control can focus on both product specifications and manufacturing process specifications for any type of goods and is especially important for importing from China. The goal is to identify any problems, defects, and non-conformities in the product that doesn’t follow required specifications from the buyer, or from general international standards. When caught early enough, these issues can easily be solved to fix the initial batch and avoid any future problems. Challenges for Importing from China Import business owners face several specific challenges that can affect their return on investment as…

  • Elksourcing:China Quality Control Reminders

    While China quality control is no longer a nightmare, there is still a lot of “hand holding” required to ensure suppliers fully understand your specs and have the ability to maintain quality. Only through physical inspection of the facilities and review of actual production samples will you gain a true understanding of your supplier’s ability. If you are unable to make the trip yourself, there are independent QC agents that can assist with this qualification and analysis process. Always see an actual production sample from the actual supplier. It may sound simple, but you would be surprised at the number of so-called suppliers who actual trading companies that farm things out to sub-suppliers without full disclosure to the buyer. This creates an additional level of margins. More importantly, should a problem in quality arise, the lines of communication are complicated by middlemen. Ask the supplier to provide their internal QC documentation. For…

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