Factory Audit in China – Tips and Tricks

Factory Audit in China
Before you decide to import latest products from China, it is essential to ensure the product quality. An ideal way to do this is to visit the factory and conduct China factory audit. You are perhaps contemplating to skip this trip because of additional expenses. However, you must value the importance of China factory tours if you wish to get great products delivered. If you are considering imports from China, you should definitely confirm the process and also build a good relationship with the potential suppliers. This is because mistakes in the Chinese factory can lead to reduced sales. Therefore, it is critical to pay close attention to the factory environment before finalizing a deal. After you finally realize how beneficial these visits are, you must learn to make most out of the trip to China. This article features some important tips that you must know before going on the factory visit and meeting the Chinese suppliers. This meeting is when you will be able to assess whether your goods will meet customer expectation and if they will be able to consistently and timely provide good quality items.

5 main points of factory audit in China

  1. Get to know the supplier in person. It is recommended that 2 parties must meet up at least a few times before contracting. Do not excuse this step because of the distance between 2 countries. It is critical to meet face-to-face before making a business deal with high value. Personal relationship in China is the root in any kind of business, which is sometimes more valuable than any contract signed.
  2. Check the factory inside during your China factory audit. Look around to see how many production lines and what type of production machineries they have. Find out how many employees are working around and what Quality Control methods are employed. You must also find out what inner logistics solutions they have and how they store their ready-made products in their warehouse.
    Chinese Factory Warehouse
    Chinese Factory Warehouse
  3. Assess the goods before they are shipped from China. Checking after they arrive in your country is not an effective measure. Returning these goods is a hassle and expense is ultimately increased.
  4. Secure a good freight forwarder. Also make arrangements to collect products promptly from the warehouse. This helps to avoid demurrage charges.

Tips for successful supplier research

Before you book a ticket and travel to China, do preliminary research on the company:
  • Speak with other existing customers of the Chinese factory and confirm that the quality they provide is satisfactory.
  • Be sure that you are purchasing directly from the Chinese manufacturer. Even if you cooperate with an agent, you need to visit the factory and discuss with them all product relevant topics.
  • Discuss with the potential suppliers regarding a convenient date first and then visit on that assigned date.
  • Sometimes, informed visits might not be effective as the other party will be fully prepared to impress. Drop by for a second unannounced visit to learn about the processes.
  • Do not fear that insisting to visit the factory will offend the potential suppliers. It is normal to request China factory tours, especially when you are in town.
  • Before your visit, make a list of questions and topics, which need to be discussed. This is a more efficient way to discuss as much business related details in person as possible. Don’t forget to ask about factory production capacity, product materials, product certificates, employee numbers, engineers number, product quality guarantee period, potential error rate, export experiences and countries they supply products, packaging methods and materials, accepted payment options, etc.
  • During your visit, ask the same questions to multiple people at the Chinese factory. This will tell you whether the responses are consistent or not.
    Production Machineries in China Factories Varies
While these were some points you need to consider while assessing the supplier, you have to review the goods you wish to purchase. Below is a list of the things you can do to ensure the products meet required quality.
  • Visit the China factory personally before the product is shipped to check it meets quality standards. If you cannot be physically present, you can send an agent.
  • You may also request the supplier to send one batch by air as sample before the rest is sent by sea.
Sometimes, even after orders are made and payments are sent, the product is not sent. This is why you must establish trust with the suppliers before placing big orders. A smart way to avoid huge loss is to make small orders initially. After a period of time, when you think the supplier is reliable, make bigger orders. It is also recommended to pay in stages. Always withheld some money until the shipment is delivered. Request the supplier to deliver the items to your local warehouse.

The China Factory Visit – Resolving Issues with Suppliers

When 2 parties work in close proximity, differences are expected to arise. The ideal way to handle this situation is to meet personally and resolve the issues. One excuse to fly down could be the China factory visit. If you decide to meet for a meal, bring the topic up at the end of the meal. That is how the Chinese conduct their business meetings.

Ensure Effective Communication

The Chinese language and dialect varies significantly from your local language. During your visit to the factory, it is advised to have a trusted interpreter or translator. This will ensure that your questions are not misinterpreted. The translator will also help you gather a better insight of the factory workers’ responses. Having an interpreter seems professional, and it establishes credibility.

Trouble Reaching the Chinese Factory

The first step is to take a detailed address of the factory. It is also important to compare the address given by the factory and the officially registered one which you can get after company verification. However, even with address, getting to the right location might become difficult. For this reason, it is best to take a local with you during your first visit. You can request the potential suppliers for help. Even though arranging transportation is easy in China, the distance between different places  -even from the closest airport – could be a lot. Factories in China are usually in locations far away from the regular spots. In conclusion, you must understand the importance of the factory audit in China and plan accordingly. The location is different and so is the culture, but you will have to accommodate. There is no better way to ensure product quality than personally visiting the factory.