What Happened to Low Quality Chinese Factories?

Overview

China has a reputation when it comes to manufacturing quality, and it’s not a pleasant one. However, the reality is most of the risk can be avoided.

Article Highlights

  • Nobody wants to compromise on manufacturing quality
  • Avoid the risks with proper planning
  • Don't make a costly mistake

 

Many people around the world are cautious when they hear of products being manufactured in China. Some even suggest the manufacturing quality is so low there is no point in even considering sourcing from this location, as the product will break soon enough. While there has been some truth to this train of thought in recent years. In this present era, China’s reputation certainly precedes itself.

Over the last several years the country has come leaps and bounds. Currently the level of manufacturing quality within China is relatively high. The main problem is usually as a result of companies purely looking for the cheapest option. Many factories have very similar sets of costs when it comes to producing your goods. Therefore, when you decide to force the price lower, quality of materials is one of the few options a factory may take.

However, low manufacturing quality is not always due to low prices. You should be aware by now that China has been moving away from lost cost manufacturing. The county has evolved into a more specialized manufacturing industry. This has resulted in an increased level of capabilities which should translate to higher quality goods. However, an increase in complexity, may also means a higher chance of faults. Manufacturers will also find it easier to hide below par materials in specialized goods. Hidden away faults may take a longer time to surface. If you expect your product to last 10 years, finding out the build quality lasted 2 years takes too long. 

Ensuring your Suppliers Manufacturing Quality is Sufficient

It cannot be stressed enough how important the constant and consistent monitoring of your suppliers manufacturing quality is. This may include inspecting every shipment once they arrive. Using 3rd party services who can carry out factory visits and only using suppliers who have adequate quality control and assurance procedures in place. The problems many companies encounter is committing to one supplier immediately after receiving a high quality sample. However, factories have been known to impress initially with the hopes of pulling a bait and switch on the following large order.

Although you would like to think your supplier values your business relationship, do not assume this means they will keep up the good work. The majority of suppliers run on razor thin margins, and if they believe they can get away with it, compromising on the manufacturing quality they provide could be an easy way to boost profits. It is advised to always be on high alert, otherwise you may notice a problem way too late to do anything about it.

The best way to receive the manufacturing quality you desire is to approach the  process slowly. This should include conducting proper due diligence, as well as taking the time to receive legal advice. This, in turn should result in you drafting an enforceable contract. Both of these should save time in the event that things don’t quite go as planned.  Then you should be able to enforce your rights and enable your company to be in a position of control.

Conclusion

Manufacturing quality in China is a much debated topic and one that should not be ignored. In recent years the country has come a long way and is starting to move away from problems of the past. Unfortunately, there is still a distance to go. Hopefully we haven’t scared you off from looking to China to source your products, as the majority of firms do not come across any issues at all. Despite this, some companies do occasionally run into problems. It is always recommended to conduct prior research before committing to any agreements. Remember, China has many advantages when it comes to sourcing products which usually results in advantages for your own company. Although a few firms do receive lacklustre manufacturing quality, if you take the right pre-emptive measures, you are unlikely to be at risk.