3 Key elements for importing quality goods from China
As many importers knew the pre-shipment inspections are necessary to secure quality of shipment from China. they would say: You get what you inspect, not what you Expect !
But pre-shipment inspections are not enough. The inspectors you send to your supplier will help to stop defective products from being send to you, and this is smart. but in any case, not receiving defective products isn't same as receiving what you order, conform to specifications and agreed upon
In order to secure on time delivery of quality shipment from Chinese suppliers, you'll need to think about areas or three pillars:
- Work with the right supplier;
- Don't miss quality control;
- Schedule the inspection with delivery plan.
1. Work with the right supplier
I'd like to summarize the importance of supplier selection in three sentences.
- You may NEVER get quality from a supplier that is not properly equipped to make it, unless it is by incident. Suppliers need to have the right equipment, skills and experience.
- You will OCCASIONALLY get quality from a supplier with the right equipment and skills but which as poor processes in places.
- You will get INCREASING quality from a good supplier with equipment, skills and processes and which is also willing to cooperate with you on regular improvements.
- Welding Poor Equipment and Practice
- Welding Good Practice
- Supplier Poor Practice
- Supplier Good practices
- More on supplier selection.
2. Don't miss quality control
As I said earlier, when an inspector rejects a delivery because products are below standard, the good news is that it prevented defective goods from being sent to you.But the bad news is that you do not get any goods at all.
It is better to work upstream to further reduce the risk of getting goods below standards instead of just filtering them at the end of the process.
Most buyers purchasing from Western suppliers will “delegate” all quality control activities and planning to the supplier. But in China, it is dangerous to do so. Quality remains the responsibility of the supplier, without any doubt.
But an experienced China purchasers will dig in the details of what actions the supplier has implemented to fulfill this responsibility.
After you select a good supplier, you will want to review the quality control plan the supplier is using as a routine. The review is used to make sure that all aspects are covered.
When some areas are not covered, it is common practice to ask the supplier to add a few control items to the plan. In most case it is really not a problem to have additional controls and to receive reports on the results.
It also allows you to explicitly highlight quality requirements and expectations. Many misunderstanding will be avoided during this step.
3. Schedule the inspection with delivery plan.
Once the two previous key elements are covered, you can think of pre-shipment inspections.
The main purpose here is to avoid that the supplier makes sub-standard products, not only to catch poor products before shipment.
When you focus only on catching poor products, it is like subscribing to a full coverage car insurance policy but continuing driving recklessly which leads to lots of accidents.
Beside catching poorly made products, pre-shipment inspections also can have a strong preventive role. When the supplier knows that it will not get away with it, it would be stupid (but not unheard of) to knowingly present poor products for delivery.
In addition, discussing the inspection plan with the supplier is the best way to avoid misunderstanding.
The role of the inspection should include:
- Review of the supplier routine QC documentation and reports;
- Do again a range of tests on a sample of the goods;
- Possibly performing additional tests (material, destructive tests or non destructive tests).
From our quality control experience, there is no shortcut to these three key elements. The difference between very good suppliers and others is that the process will be faster and more straightforward. But skipping one step leads to problem one day or another. just think about what do you need from the importing.