In this episode…
To celebrate our 100th episode over on Sofeast’s podcast Renaud called on listeners for their manufacturing-related questions and answered as many as possible!
They’re questions that are relevant to so many importers, so, hopefully, the answers will help you get better results from your suppliers, too.
Just hit the play button to start listening..!
Listen to the episode right here 👇👇👇
00:00 – Greetings and introduction.
01:50 – Should importers be worried about Chinese supply chains in relation to the Russian invasion and its sanctions?
Yes, it’s a worrying time and sanctions on Russia can affect China already in terms of energy cost rises etc. But if China goes too far toward supporting Russia it may end up being sanctioned itself, although this may be less likely.
06:56 – What inspection level is needed for medical devices? (AQL limits).
Acceptance sampling is not the right approach for medical devices that have a critical impact on health or life (such as Class II devices) – in these cases, there must be close to zero chance of defective devices making it into a hospital, for example. Class I medical devices, like glasses frames, are much closer to consumer goods. In this case, normal severity and 2.0 major and 4.0 minor defects may be acceptable. However, for devices where there is more risk to the user, a stricter AQL limit like 0.65 for major could be appropriate.
10:19 – How to improve the quality of products being purchased from China? The bikes and office furniture we buy keep breaking!
Products may have been designed with a poor choice of components and/or materials and may be assembled in a way that leads to poor durability and reliability. If you design the product and have it manufactured in China you specify materials, components, and manufacturing processes that will ensure you get reliable products. Poor quality components etc at this stage will lead to issues down the line.
When buying products directly from suppliers, do your due diligence and perform reliability testing on samples – many ISO standards for furniture and bicycles include reliability aspects (Sofeast can help with this by receiving your samples from a potential supplier, formulating a test plan, and testing them before you place an order).
18:13 – Any tactics to deal with volatile costs?
Renaud shares tips on how to deal with an RMB that gets stronger (negotiating with suppliers in RMB, RMB accounts, etc), rising material costs (get accurate material cost data to challenge suppliers, redesign products to use different materials, etc), electronic components (test them as risks are higher these days of receiving defective or fake parts, etc).
25:02 – How to work with Chinese suppliers without being ripped off?
Be seen as an experienced buyer, a long-term partner, and build a good relationship to be seen as someone they want to work with. Sourcing a reliable supplier is important. Avoid irregular payment terms such as paying an advance of more than 30%. Sign a manufacturing and/or product development agreement that is enforceable in their country.
30:10 – How can I be sure that the product quality is as expected if I’m not in China to supervise the order myself?
Is the product design reliable and durable? Test samples and confirm these points (testing can be done by local third parties like Sofeast and doesn’t require your presence in China).
Assure that the supplier has the ability to manufacture the products properly by auditing the factory (again, you don’t need to be in China for this). Put in place controls in a manufacturing contract to make sure that they don’t subcontract the work to an unknown factory. For large orders, inspect incoming components and materials to avoid poor quality products being made. For smaller orders, do an inspection after the first products come off the line, or do a final random inspection once all products have been made (companies like us can do inspections for you in China without you needing to be there).
Your supplier also needs to be made aware of your quality standard otherwise if things go wrong they have a convenient excuse that your expectations were not clear.
38:34 – Wrapping up.
- The Impacts of Russia Sanctions on International Trade & Logistics
- What is the AQL (Acceptance Quality Limit)? An exhaustive guide
- Manufacturing Contract: Fear And Its Impact On Payment Terms
- Factory audits (from my company Sofeast)
- Product inspections (from my company Sofeast)
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