Quality Control Remains Key to Successful Partnerships with Chinese Companies
If you are sourcing and manufacturing products in China, you may have been impacted by the US-China trade spat which has resulted in a reduction of trade between both countries due to the tariffs imposed on a variety of each other’s products. This has hurt some China-based manufacturers, reliant on low tariffs within the US-China trade space to keep their China-made products competitive. While some companies may be seeking alternative manufacturing options outside China, their commitment to Chinese manufacturing appears to remain steadfast.
It’s interesting to note that most of the shift has been in the areas of soft goods as opposed to durable goods and electronics. Although some costs have gone up due to tariff increases, China remains highly competitive in these categories. Trade analysts generally agree that even though bilateral trade is down, this is likely a blip that will iron itself out when the U.S. and Chinese administrations can agree to a new trade deal.1 Although political issues garner headlines, the underlying challenges impacting manufacturing quality control in China remain largely unaddressed.
Longer Working Hours Impact Product Quality
Product quality remains a concern for U.S. companies outsourcing goods from China. In China, workers are required to work long hours amid fierce competition and rapidly changing technology trends. This expectation is similar to that experienced by Silicon Valley tech workers during the 1990s. Chinese software engineers typically adhere to a ‘996’ work schedule – 9am to 9pm, six days a week.2 But long working hours does not equate to productivity nor offers companies a competitive edge. Fatigued workers are more likely to make mistakes and produce poorer quality products, thus the need for independent inspection remains a priority.
Poor Quality Has a Ripple Effect
Given these circumstances, it’s critically important for U.S. companies to ensure that the quality of goods acquired from China is of superior quality. In today’s competitive market, companies are focused on their bottom line. To most, that means acquiring new customers and increasing distribution networks. However, there is a way to increase profit quickly – by reducing the cost of poor product quality.
The effect of poor quality can lead to exponential costs, both internally and externally, and can hinder long-term growth if not addressed. In addition to the direct cost of the defective product, you need to consider the internal processes that directly or indirectly led to those errors, and how poor quality ultimately affects consumer relationships and your brand reputation. For example, if you don’t have the proper systems and procedures in place for detecting a defect early in the production cycle, a product could get rejected once it reaches your customer. This can result in a chargeback, or worse, it could be put on the shelf only to end in a return or bad review by a consumer.3
Your Eyes in the Supply Chain
T-Link functions as an extension of your management team at a much lower cost than having your own in-country team and can help you gain peace of mind that products acquired from China are produced to your specified quality standards. Since the 1970’s, T-Link’s executives have been working with distributors and manufacturers to assist them in sourcing products in Asia with a full range of services. We have relevant expertise in a variety of product categories including electronics, appliances, health care products, plastics, wood products and more.
T-Link works throughout China but specializes in South China in the greater Shenzhen area and has a presence on the ground to work with you through every stage of the process including design, sourcing, manufacturing and final packaging. We conduct product inspections at various stages of the process, which enables you to safeguard the quality of your product and protect your brand image. In many cases, T-Link has become the equivalent of a Chinese office for our clients at far lower cost and with greater convenience.
In an increasingly competitive world, the demand for higher quality products and tighter than ever margins makes product sourcing and inspection more critical than ever. T-Link has decades of experience working with clients to provide high quality, competitively priced products from China and Hong Kong.
To learn more about how we can be your Quality Control Partner in China – find out more HERE.