Importers are frequently trying to source cheaper Suppliers for their products in Asia. Needless to say that there are plenty such Suppliers across China (particularly in textiles, domestic appliances. electronic gadgets, plastic goods, raw materials, etc.). The Internet is full of links and brand names of Chinese Suppliers, for almost any product on earth.
Approaching potential Suppliers The first impression from the Supplier that was approached is of high importance. Because, if it appears that he can not prepare his documents effectively as expected, how will his products look like ?
Generally the first impression should consist of the following :
pedantry, paying attention to details, quick response.
The Customer’s impression should be built from the Supplier’s following points :
1. List of Customers (Western are preferred) that have purchased similar products
2. Contact details of the main customers of the Supplier. This will allow in getting their opinions. Suppliers refusing to disclose their Customers should be judged with suspicion
3. A well structured and functional organizational structure of the Supplier’s Company
4. The organizational structure of the Supplier Quality Management (planning, Quality assurance, Quality control) Function. Particularly to whom the Quality function is reporting ?
5. The number of graduated engineers and their ability to develop new products
6. Cost estimators and planners Capabilities, tools and their level of professionality
7. Acquaintance with the international markets requirements, from production standards, Quality, rules, etc.
8. Range of products
9. Price attractiveness
10. The Supplier has a well managed work procedures system (resembling QMS – Quality Management System). Usually this is not available in the Chinese industry
11. Well managed document control system
12.Good Housekeeping (may be judged from pictures taken)
13. Is the “Supplier” a commercial Firm or a Manufacturer ? A hint may be provided that a truthful answer will reduce risks in the possible order. If the “Supplier” is a commercial Firm he may have capabilities that a manufacturer might lack : Communication, well organized export paper work, Quality control, etc.
14. Willingness and co-operation in conducting Audits and inspections.
It is recommended to consider the following points with SUSPICION :
1. The e-mail address is something like : @163.com or @yahoo.com. These types of e-mail addresses are dangerous to the Importer, and also demonstrate lack of professionalism
2.A late answer to the approach letter
3. Using templates and/or e-mail presentations
4. Sending large appendices with the e-mail
5. Receiving an approval on the order placed which contains expressions contradicting what you ordered
6. A “Yes man” Supplier for every thing
7. Vague promises like “We will do our best”
8. A Supplier that invoice under a different company heading
9. Attempts to become too friendly with the Buyer or the Inspector
10. Driving luxurious cars while manufacturing equipment is old and/or worn out
11. A request of the initial payment to a personal account instead to his Firm’s account, claiming he will evade taxes – a RED FLAG
12. A request to receive a higher initial payment than what is accustomed (accustomed ± 30 %)
For more proffesioanl Artical about poor Quality