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What should I do to ensure that the products delivered meet my expectations?

Posted: 2011-07-05

Full Question

I am a first time importer from China and am trying to make sure I am covering all bases, given the plethora of horror stories out there! I am after feedback on the steps that I am undertaking to see if there is anything vital that I have left out.

I attended the Global Sources trade show in Hong Kong, and met with a few suppliers. I also attended the conference and thought that if that's all I got out of the experience, then it was worth it!

Out of my suppliers, I have shortlisted a couple I think would fit (I am buying phone accessories "off the shelf" with no customization, and am looking initially for flexible Minimum Order Quantities).

I have requested samples from these guys and they all seem to check out.

I am going to Shenzhen to meet with my chosen supplier, and walk away with my first order (ie check the boxes myself for correct order/quantity/quality, and take them with me to ship home). My first order is only going to be around 20ctns.

I will meet with 2 other suppliers so that I have a backup if need be.

For my second order, I will have a bi-lingual p/order stating expectations, who is responsible for non-conforming orders etc. I will also pay a 3rd party for a "container loading check" (even though it won't be a container full).

Have I covered all bases? Is there anything glaringly obvious that you would suggest? I am hoping that by meeting them when placing my order and making the business a bit more personal, that it may assist in the long run.

Again, many thanks for your assistance. This ask-the-experts service is brilliant for first timers like me!

Answer

Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the Global Sources conference and are taking advantage of the ask the experts service.

First off, kudos on actually going to the factory in person to check it out BEFORE placing the Purchase Order. So you can check that off the list of essential moves.

I'm also very happy to hear you will engage third party QC, that will certainly save you money and drama. You asked if there is anything missing from your plan. I would say you have the key bases covered assuming you were planning to do the following:

1.  make sure you engage a reputable third party inspection agency. My preferred service provider in this service area is www.AsiaQualityFocus.com by the way.
2.  link your inspection (weather it is via a third party or DIY) results to the payments. For example, you mention a pre-containerization inspection. Well done! If you are paying a small deposit upfront, then the remainder at shipment, I recommend you to wait for the results of that inspection before making the final payment to the supplier. And state this approach in your contact. I know it sounds obvious, but I have witnessed cases where the supplier fails the pre-shipment inspection but still wants to get paid because the contract said "pay at ship date" and didn't mention an acceptable level of quality.

Thanks for your question and glad to see you are going in the right direction!

Reference: China Sourcing Conference Video and other educational material is at http://chinasourcinginfo.org/category/videos/

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