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Checklist for importers in China and low-cost Asia

by Renaud Anjoran in 'Quality Inspection Blog'

Let’s say you have done your homework, and you have decided that you should source from China/Vietnam/an other emerging Asian country. Now, what are the steps? Is there something you really don’t want to forget?

I got this question several times, so I prepared this checklist:

Describe the product

  • Write down precise product specifications

Identify and pre-qualify supplier(s)

  • List potential suppliers that offer the right kind of product
  • Communicate your standard terms (about payment, QC)
  • Ask a rough quotation

Share product information with potential supplier(s)

  • Ask the supplier to sign and chop an enforceable NDA
  • Share product specs with supplier(s)
  • Send a sample to supplier(s), if applicable
  • Get feedback about product specs

Develop special tooling/molds with supplier(s), if necessary

  • Find a price agreement
  • Get a development agreement signed and chopped by the supplier
  • If necessary, wire money

Develop samples with supplier(s) [for a new product]

  • Supplier sends 1st sample
  • Client comments about 1st samples
  • If necessary, supplier sends more samples
  • Approval of golden sample
  • Comments for production

Develop samples with supplier(s) [for a new labeling or packing]

  • Supplier sends 1st sample
  • Client comments about 1st samples
  • If necessary, supplier sends more samples
  • Approval of golden sample
  • Comments for production

Finalize product specs

  • Confirm with supplier that product specs are correct

Issue PO, confirm 1 supplier

  • Select a supplier
  • Export product spec sheet, as an exhibit of the PO

Authorize the supplier to start production

  • Get a manufacturing agreement signed and chopped by the supplier
  • Launch the payment process (transfer of deposit / opening of letter of credit)
  • Remind the supplier to book the materials/components immediately

Comment on production samples

  • Supplier sends samples taken from mass production
  • Comment on samples
  • If necessary, supplier sends samples again

Inspection/testing during production

  • Share PO & share product specs with inspection firm/staff
  • Get an estimate of the price/time necessary, and confirm
  • Tell supplier about inspection plans
  • Supplier proposes timing of inspection
  • Get report & give feedback to supplier

Book shipment with a forwarder

  • Get quotes and compare them
  • Confirm a quote
  • Start tracking shipment with forwarder

Approve quality before shipment

  • Share PO & share product specs with inspection firm/staff
  • Get an estimate of the price/time necessary, and confirm
  • Tell supplier about inspection plans
  • Supplier proposes timing of inspection
  • Get report & give feedback to supplier
  • If necessary, proceed to re-inspection and issue a debit note to supplier

Shipment

  • Forwarder advises closing date
  • Authorize shipment
  • Forwarder confirms the products were made available in time
  • Forwarder confirms the products were shipped out
  • Supplier sends a copy of the documents
  • Confirm that the documents are all correct

Final payment

  • Check the quantity of shipped products
  • If payment by bank wire: transfer the balance
  • Supplier sends all original documents
  • Confirm receipt of all original documents

Customs clearance

  • Forwarder/agent applies for clearance
  • Payment of import duties

Domestic transport

  • Arrange domestic transport
  • Confirm receipt of products

Warehousing

  • Arrange sufficient manpower and space

QC on incoming products

  • Share PO & share product specs with internal QC staff
  • QC service checks conformity & quality
  • If necessary, give feedback to supplier and inspectors

I tried to cover 95% of situations for importers of consumer goods and simple industrial products… Anybody has anything important to add?




Renaud Anjoran is the founder of Sofeast Quality Control and helps importers to improve and secure their product quality in China. He writes advice for importers on the Quality Inspection blog. He lives full time in Shenzhen, China. You can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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