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Tips for selecting Chinese suppliers of injection molded products

by Renaud Anjoran

As I wrote before, the China sourcing process of two importing companies can be very different, while still making sense in each buyer’s context.

When it comes to purchasing injection or rubber injection-molded products, buyers generally want to qualify potential suppliers before sharing confidential information and requesting quotations.

Here is what the sourcing process typically looks like in this case.

  1. Search potential suppliers on websites like Global Sources.
  2. Review the websites. Look for what equipment they have for making the tools. Check if the equipment is capable of doing the job (an engineer with tool making experience can usually do this.)
  3. Look at the products they make. Are they similar and of the same size as what needs to be produced?
  4. Make initial contact. Get them on Skype or on the phone, and have a good chat. Ask lots of questions to see if communication will be easy. Do not engage in a technical project with a supplier that communicates poorly.
  5. Discuss the project without giving up too much detail; see if they are interested in the RFQ (Request For Quotation) process.
  6. Send out the RFQ. You might want them to sign an NNN agreement first.
  7. Check how much detail is included in the quotation. Ask for any missing information. Here are a few points for the molds: what tool steel is used, what is the hardness, how many shots (life expectancy)? And here are a few points for the molded parts: weight, material, number of cavities.
  8. Plug the details into a spreadsheet and see what the prices are like.
  9. If a potential supplier is price-competitive and is good at communication, ask for a few customer references (if they accept to share some) and send an auditor for checking their facilities.

And then starts the next phase: the development of the mold, the inspection of that mold, the setup for sampling and then for mass production…

Did I forget anything important?


Renaud Anjoran has been managing his quality assurance agency (Sofeast Ltd) since 2006. In addition, a passion for improving the way people work has pushed him to launch a consultancy to improve factories and a web application to manage the purchasing process. He writes advice for importers on qualityinspection.org.

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