I exhibited at a few trade shows and I talked to hundreds of importers. I noticed that many of them don’t have their products inspected at all. Another thing I noticed is that they have not really thought about it. It sounds like they can choose a supplier, arrange the payment and the freight, pay for import duties, and “the job is done”.
In this post I am sharing the good reasons why an importer would not consider third-party quality control.
-1- Your company controls the manufacturing organization. It can mean you own some (or all) of the factory capital. It can also mean you are their main customer, year in and year out. The quality system was designed professionally and you regularly make sure it is implemented. Inspections might not be necessary, but maybe a good consultant could help the factory increase its productivity and its quality level.
-2- You always import the same product from the same factory. Processes are under control.The factory knows you check the goods upon arrival in your country, and they know they will go on getting regular business from you. If you really trust the manufacturer and the facts give you reason, fine. But make sure you keep some regular pressure by notifying them of the slightest discrepancy.
-3- You have your own QC staff who follows production. The factories are mostly in the same narrow geographical area, and the activity is not seasonal. Overall, you have calculated that it is less expensive than an independent service provider. It is strongly advised to keep a close eye on the inspectors, though, since corruption can rapidly become a big issue.
-4- Your market does not care about quality. Your product does not pose any safety threat to the user, and even defective goods are easily sold. I often see products that fit in this category when I’m in factories. The technicians would say “this is for Africa”, or “this is for India”, and they say their customers are only focused on price.
-5- You buy some standard products once they are delivered in your warehouse, after they passed your own in-house QC. If you reject the goods, you don’t have to pay. This is only valid, of course, if you have not promised these goods to your own customers. This type of sourcing is developing fast. The customer gets the feeling that “if it’s already been shipped, it’s already passed QC, so I’m safe”. From my observations, these products are usually not inspected at all–price is the only consideration.
You will notice that some reasons did not make the list. For example: “I buy through a trading company”. Why? An intermediary will face the risk of a cancelled order if he discloses quality problems to the importer. In 90% of cases, the interests of traders are not aligned with those of their buyers.