With the widespread use of electronic information, importing and exporting is much easier than before. You can buy anything you want even without any local company or agent. However, there are also a lot of tricks factories have got up their sleeve.To be fair, most Chinese suppliers are trustworthy most of the time. However, some importers often encounter the following dilemma.
At first, you will get a very low price and the supplier assures you everything is good to go. At this stage their answers to your technical questions will be short and very optimistic. Things take a turn for the worse after you place the order and deposit the money. Suppliers will tell you all sorts of problems have come up during production, and that these problems were impossible to foresee when they first got your inquiry.
They just quickly estimated the cost at first (of course, sometimes the factory has reasons for this: companies that contact them often just want to get a quote and weren’t serious to work with them). Sometimes, suppliers will lower prices to get an order, and will tell you that there are different kinds of problems to be conquered. We run into these situations all the time. That’s why we will always source more than 10 suppliers and really focus on the details right from the get go. This is especially important when the product is a new invention. Finally we will choose 2 or 3 factories to work with more closely on more details and audit the factory on site to make sure all the information we get is true.
Also, we must pay attention to quality control. Samples may be in high quality to meet your request, but mass production can be a different story. The quality can deteriorate throughout production. That’s why on-site quality control is very important. Most factories will ask to be paid in full before products leave their factory. If you didn’t inspect the product and come back later with defects, there’s usually little room for negotiation.
Last but not least, it’s crucial to pay attention to the raw materials that factories use. Since suppliers will always want to make as much profit as they can, they will try to control costs relentlessly. Controlling cost is good, but unfortunately often that means factories will skim out on raw material quality. At times it’s impossible to judge material quality through appearance. To avoid this issue altogether, we usually define our materials very clearly in our production contract with the factory. The more specific this contract is, the more real control we’ll have down the road. On top of that, we will ask the factories to provide certifications such as the FDA or SGS if they are required. As ultimate assurance, we even send materials to professional labs if we still have doubts. This is especially key when we make food grade products.
These are just some of the tricks we encounter at work every day that I wanted to share with you.