Sourcing your products from a manufacturer located in China can help you save a lot of costs compared to working with a local supplier in your country. In fact, China has become the world’s manufacturing hub over the years, attracting thousands of businesses and even leading global brands from the west. Manufacturing accounted for 27% of its national GPD in 2019.
Still, the term “Made in China” often comes with negative annotations, especially when it comes to product quality. It is a common belief that Chinese manufacturers don’t pay attention to product quality. However, it is far from the truth. When it comes to product manufacturing, quality control does matter in China.
We are here to provide you with actionable insights about quality control in China, helping you to make well-informed decisions when outsourcing to this global manufacturing hub. Let’s first, however, understand the concept of quality control.
What Is Quality Control?
Quality control is the process of focusing on creating products that fulfill the required quality specification through various in-house and third-party product inspections. It is a part of most standard manufacturing processes across the globe.
The actual quality control measures, however, may change depending on your product and manufacturing environment. That said, you will need to keep the following five things mind when it comes to product quality check in China.
1. Chinese Products Are Not Poor Quality
One of the most common myths about Chinese products is that they are of poor quality, more like use-and-throw quality products. However, that is not true. Although some manufacturers may not be quality conscious, usually most of the trusted, experienced, and leading manufacturers demonstrate a strong quality control awareness.
A reliable manufacturer is often willing to invest in the skills and equipment required to meet the desired quality standards. They are also willing to undergo third-party quality control inspection as and when prescribed by the buyers.
They are also willing to pay for high-quality raw materials. However, manufacturers need to know exactly which quality standards are to be followed and when, which brings us to the next point.
2. Your Requirements Should Be Defined First
As a buyer, it is extremely important for you to define your quality control requirements before signing the contract. Unfortunately, most buyers simply check the golden sample, approve it, and ask the manufacturer to start making the product. This, however, is a very risky approach.
Approving a golden sample alone is not enough. You need to spell out all quality specifications and the required inspections in detail. The best practice is to provide all the required quality standards in precise terms in writing to the manufacturer. Make sure to include the safety standards in the agreement as well.
Work with an experienced translator to translate those quality requirements into Chinese. In most cases, when you provide clear-cut quality control instructions and documentation its easier for the manufacturer to deliver the desired results. Make sure to communicate everything in writing and clearly, and double-check if the manufacturer has understood what you want to convey.
3. Quality and Manufacturing Cost Go Hand in Hand
As a buyer, you also need to know that quality and manufacturing costs go hand-in-hand, regardless of where and what you are outsourcing. In other words, you get what you pay for.
Unfortunately, most buyers often come to China with the only goal of driving the manufacturing cost as down as possible. However, buying good quality raw materials, manufacturing equipment, and acquiring skilled labor cost money.
If you are not willing to pay for this, you will get substandard products as the manufacturer will be forced to use cheap quality raw materials and unskilled labor to meet your unrealistically low prices. So, you have to make sure to set realistic quality control standards and prices both to ensure better results.
4. Work with Reliable Manufacturing Partners
Naturally, the product manufacturer will play the most critical role in adhering to the required quality and safety standards. In short, you need to choose a reliable, experienced, and skilled product manufacturer, especially if you are looking to make customized (made-to-order) products.
Avoid working with a large-scale manufacturer for making customized products as they often lack the required flexibility and niche-specific skills. Instead, work with a manufacturer specializing in your niche segment.
They often have the reputation and credibility of delivering high-quality products in your niche. They are also likely to know the manufacturing process and quality control measures inside out. As a result, you can start manufacturing fairly quickly.
Before finalizing a manufacturer, do take the following points into account.
- The manufacturer should be able to handle increased order volume during peak season.
- They should be willing to share customer references and certifications if any.
- They should be willing to work with a third-party quality control inspector.
- They should have experience of making products similar to yours, for at least four-five years.
5. Ensure Strict Product Inspection
The last, but the most important step you need to take is to ensure a realistic but strict product inspection. You can ask your own staff or a third-party quality control inspection company in China to make sure the desired product quality is maintained. You must, however, remember that third-party inspections require full cooperation of the manufacturer.
The inspections should be carried out before, during, and after the production. You should also check the products and their packaging before they are shipped. If required, make sure to conduct regular laboratory tests and on-site tests as well. All the while, you have to maintain constant and open communication with the manufacturer to avoid any delays. The earlier you start checking for quality, the better.
Another way to ensure better quality control is to tie up payments with product inspections. So, if your quality control system finds any issues with the product, the manufacturer will have to remake it to receive the payment. They will also need to agree and cooperate with third-party inspections.
As it happens, not all Chinese manufacturers produce low-quality products and it is not entirely their fault either. Hopefully, after reading about these five facts related to quality control when importing goods from China, you can get a clear picture of the manufacturing environment in the country.
A leading third-party inspection company in China like Jonble can help you maintain your product quality without any hassles. Feel free to get in touch with our experts or send your detailed request to find out how we can help you.