Quality Control (QC)
–you can’t be wrong if you’re careful enough.
I have to stress here again: QC is VERY important for your importing business from China. Quality control is not a one time event. It’s an ongoing process which starts the moment you choose a supplier. Quality control is not there to fix problems, but to alert you to potential problems. The earlier you find the problems the quicker you can take corrective action.
1. Open each carton AND each pack, check as more as you can.
2. Don’t let anyone who don’t know your products collect your order and do QC, unless they have a physical sample in hand.
During the last year, we had several unhappy experiences with some suppliers.One of our US clients came to China last December and ordered 1,200 pcs paddle brushes as a trial order. Our client were very happy with the quality of the samples, so we placed the order, after a long wait, the brushes finally arrived in our warehouse.
The supplier promised us. “No problem, there will be absolutely no problem with the quality of these brushes, your customer will be happy.” “You can relax!” I checked a few pcs of each carton, they looked nice. So I paid them.
But when our staffs were tagging these brushes, problems came one by one.
1. Some of the logos were badly printed, the outer layer of paint can easily go off after a few touches.
2. There was a detachment imperfection on the side of some brushes.
3. Two cartons arrived unsealed, with 1 piece missing of each carton.
We thought that were all the problems. Our client agreed to sell them for a discount. The supplier also could cooperate with offering a discount for these problem brushes.
When more and more problem brushes got checked, I became more suspicious about their quality control. So I revisited their shop. After comparing with the original sample, I found a even bigger problem.
They switched. The brushes they shipped were NOT the ones we ordered! They’re only similar products, but the quality is of two different levels. We had to return all these brushes because they cannot replace them. They even can’t agree for selling all these brushes to us at a discounted price. “We’ll probably throw one or two of them to each cartons and ship it to other customers later” As they told me.
Very sad story. Our client waited for more than 3 months. We have to source new substitutes for them again. A big waste for everyone!
Imagine what will happen if there’s no one to do proper QC. You will pay all the shipping cost! Terrible!
So the lesson we learned from this case is: open each carton and each pack, don’t listen to any promises from the supplier. Mistakes like wrong color, wrong printing and wrong packing can ALWAYS happen here and there.
3 Set Of Physical Samples:
Another mistake that buyers often make is placing the orders by themselves, but let someone else do the QC and collect their goods later, without leaving any physical samples to QC people.
This could be a disaster to both buyer and the people who is going to do QC. Because in most cases, the QC people don’t know what the products exactly are! As a result, many problem products will be shipped to buyer, then…
What we learn from these cases is “use the same person to follow up the order”, try to reduce these problems to its lowest level. Or have “3 set of physical samples” – One goes to buyer, one goes to QC people, one for factory for production.
Hope the lessons we learned can be useful to you, too. And you won’t need to learn these lessons again.