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Why Sourcing & QC Do Not Mix

conflicts of interest

In the past, we posted the article 3 reasons why QC inspections can’t be done by your agent. While it holds true that inspections should not be done by sourcing agents, how about the opposite? Should you work with an inspection agency that does sourcing?

To many, Quality Control and Sourcing in one company sounds like a match made in heaven. As the firm is a QC firm, they must have worked with thousands of factories and must be able to provide a few good sources for product XYZ, right? The vendors who have passed inspections for other clients must be reliable, right?

Unfortunately, it is almost never a good idea to work with a Quality Control firm providing both inspections and sourcing, because:

  • Conflict of interest: Should the company provide private details like client’s factory names? While this is an obvious “no”, many of these firms do indeed give away this sensitive information. Imagine having your existing factories, that you worked hard to find making products for your competition.

Furthermore, when working with these QC / sourcing firms, past factory performance can not be a necessary indicator of future performance

  • There is no guarantee that the factory will be able pass future inspections – in fact, your own product quality can depend on a number of different factors, even when working with the same factory, including: your relationship with vendor, size of order, price paid per piece, complexity of goods, etc.

AQF, for example, holds all client information completely confidential and does not provide sourcing advice. While it may seem convenient to combine your sourcing and QC operations, remember that Quality Control and Sourcing are two different skill sets and that you are best off managing them separately.


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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