by Dan Harris in 'China Law Blog'
The other day, I did a post, entitled, "Sourcing Product From China: The Definitive Checklist." That post dealt with the steps, from beginning to end, one should take in sourcing from China. I received the following email in response to that post:
Really liked your post linking over to Renaud's checklist. I have been put in charge of our China sourcing so I have been reading everything I can get my hands on (digitally speaking, pun intended) on that topic. Just saw this post by Mike Bellamy that I thought might make a nice follow up to your checklist post.
The post to which this reader was referring is "How to select a supplier," and it prescribes the various steps for finding China "suppliers who meet targets for price quality and lead time." The post calls for step one to be defining the right supplier and it provides a "survey template" to rank potential suppliers on their price, quality, location, service attitude and "other attributes." Step two then becomes finding/identifying the supplier who meets the necessary attributes. This step consists of the following:
After you have done the above, make contact per the following:
After you have narrowed the field to around five "highly qualified candidates," you should bring in a quality auditor to check out the factory and you should conduct due diligence "to confirm the factory has a good reputation, no legal problems and is sound financially." Your next step is sampling.
This is a great list.
I particularly like the advice on making sure you are dealing with the factory and not a broker and that English language skills are not very relevant. My firm has been called in many times to deal with factories that provided bad product, only to discover that our client never even had a contract with the factory; its only contract was with a broker. In these situations, the factory can easily claim that it never agreed to any quality or timeliness specifications. I also cannot tell you how many times I have heard/seen someone go wrong for thinking English language skills directly correlate to high quality when, near as I can tell, there is no correlation at all.
What do you think?
Dan Harris is founder of the Harris & Moure law firm, a boutique international law firm focusing on small and medium sized businesses that operate internationally. China is the fastest growing area for the firm. Dan writes ChinaLawBlog.com as a source of China legal and business information.