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Sending a regular survey to your Chinese suppliers

By Renaud Anjoran

Large companies usually send an annual survey to their suppliers. The feedback helps them see opportunities for improvements and gives them data to justify some of those improvements.

On their side, suppliers will generally be happy to be asked for feedback. If you then take steps to improve on some issues that seem important to them, this will help you be seen as a “good customer” and, hopefully, enjoy preferential treatment.

Here is an example of such a survey. Obviously each company needs to tweak these questions a bit to fit their situation.

 

1. About our company

1.1 Purchasing

• Is it easy to communicate with our purchasing staff?

• Do you know what they expect in terms of timing and pricing?

• Are our general terms & conditions clear and understood?

• If you have suggestions for us to improve, please share. (Note that we will read your comments but won’t be able to act on all comments.)

1.2 Quality & compliance

• Do you receive clear guidelines and do you know what standards to follow?

• Do you receive clear feedback to your inquiries?

• Do you get timely approvals/rejections of pre-production samples?

• If you have suggestions for us to improve, please share. (Note that we will read your comments but won’t be able to act on all comments.)

1.3 Product development

• Do you get the information you need about new products?

• Do we take into account the specificities of your processes?

• Do you get timely approvals/rejections of pre-production samples?

• If you have suggestions for us to improve, please share. (Note that we will read your comments but won’t be able to act on all comments.)

1.4 Accounting

• Do you receive payments as expected?

1.5 General relationship

• When our employees visit you, do they behave in a professional manner?

• Do you feel we visit you too often, or not often enough?

• Do the production and the quality staff know us? Or do they just know our PO numbers?

• Do you see us as a long-term customer?

 

2. About the service providers we work with

2.1 Courier company(ies)

• Are they easy to communicate with?

• Have you had problems with them?

2.2 Freight forwarder(s)

• Are they easy to communicate with?

• Have you had problems with them?

2.3 QC inspection company(ies)

• Is their standard lower, similar, or higher than ours?

• Do they communicate their findings clearly and accurately?

• Have you had problems with their inspectors?

2.4 Quality/compliance auditing firm(s)

• Do they apply the standard strictly?

• Are required corrective actions clear?

• Have you had problems with their auditors?


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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