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Case Study: Why you should thoroughly screen your suppliers before ordering! and Asia Quality Focus partnership

Why you should thoroughly screen your suppliers before ordering!


A client of AQF recently started ordering from a factory in China, and dealt with quite a frustrating and exhausting situation described below. While unfortunate, we decided it would be useful to post, as it shows yet another possible pitfall in sourcing from Asia.

  • Client placed 1st order, which upon inspection turned out okay, was paid for and shipped.
  • On the client’s 2nd order, when inspection took place, quality of mass production was an absolute disaster.
  • Client carried out several subsequent inspections on this order, but quality did not improve.
  • Due to time constraints of the end buyer in France, they were forced to ship around 5,000 of the total 30,000 piece order. Only about half of those pieces were accepted by the end buyer.
  • Meanwhile, the 1st order is about to arrive at port, and the supplier would not provide the original bill of lading (necessary to gain possession of the goods) unless the client paid the balance of the 2nd order, which is of course of poor quality. The supplier was actually blackmailing the client, who already paid for the 1st shipment, into paying for (excuse my French) “morceaux de merde”.

This above situation is a sticky one that most importers thankfully will not have to deal with. However, it proves the importance of thoroughly vetting out your supplier before putting down any money. It also proves once again that quality should not be taken for granted; one order passing inspection often has no correlation to how a next order will fair. Doing extensive auditing of potential factories will be a good indication of what kind of care the factory has for their client’s orders, and what might be expected of future orders. These audits, along with continual QC inspections, will go a long way towards helping to secure your imports.

For additional info about dealing with bad suppliers, check out China Sourcing Information Center‘s website, which has lots of great free articles and expert opinions. Recently, they posted a great article that will certainly assist anyone who has received defective items.


David Fisher

I used to be AQF's Business Development Manager, leading marketing strategy. I have recently left AQF to get my MBA, but still serve as a blog contributor. I enjoy visiting China and helping clients with their Asian business and quality control strategies.

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