eComEngine’s Liz Fickenscher recently hosted a webinar about quality control with Meghla Bhardwaj of Global Sources, a company that specializes in helping global importers find and meet reliable exporters in China and other parts of Asia. The fantastic one-hour presentation included vital information for Amazon sellers and other eCommerce professionals who source products from overseas.
One of the most important concepts to grasp is that the definition of “quality” means something different to everyone. Bhardwaj explained that a production manager of a Chinese manufacturing company may not have the same quality expectation that your buyers do.
For this reason, you must be as specific as possible when sourcing from China. Outline your requirements with crystal clear product specifications. Instead of saying you simply want your logo to be blue on your packaging, for example, provide a sample of the exact shade of blue you need and include the Pantone number.
This precision is especially important when safety regulations and testing requirements must be followed. These manufacturers work with buyers from all over the world; do not assume that they are familiar with quality control conditions as they pertain to your exact product in your country. Bhardwaj outlined the steps you should take to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.
Identifying Potential Problems
When sourcing from China, the most common issue you’ll likely encounter involves improper labeling. This can be as minor as a misspelled word or as serious as failing to include important information required by local regulations. Since labeling is highly regulated and varies from product to product, this is something you will want to address immediately.
You might also find that the packaging isn’t quite right. This can range from having the shipping labels put in the wrong place to using packing materials that have been forbidden by Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”). Since you don’t want things being lost in transit or to risk violating Amazon’s guidelines, this is another area that will need your attention.
Of course, there’s always a chance that something is wrong with the product itself. In the best case scenario, it’s a cosmetic issue that involves a distorted logo or superficial damage. It’s very serious, however, if safety requirements haven’t been met, especially for products that have contact with the skin, will be ingested or are intended for babies and children.
Protecting Your Reputation
After considering the potential challenges, you might decide that sourcing from China is in your best interest. If so, there are things that you can do to safeguard your reputation and protect your customers.
It’s very important to conduct quality control. The webinar covers four main types of QC:
- Pre-production inspection (PPI)
- During Production Check (DUPRO)
- Container Loading Check (CLC)
- Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI)
Each of these options come with their own advantages so it’s definitely worth listening to Bhardwaj’s discussion on how to choose the best one for your needs.
Regardless of your method, quality control is not something you should take lightly. Failing to ensure that your product meets quality standards could result in your orders being seized, high fines, low ratings/bad reviews and potential harm to your customers.
If you’re considering sourcing from China, a proactive approach can stave off many of the most common problems that arise. For many, many reasons, ensuring the quality of your product should be your top priority. Take an hour of your time and learn more about the issues you may face and how you can prevent and address problems as they arise.