6 Bad Quality (Made in China) Myths Debunked
We’ve all heard the rumors – China produces low quality, cheap products. While it’s true that China can produce low-cost and low-performing goods, the focus has shifted to high-quality goods in recent years. We’re here to show you why these rumors are unfounded, and what you should look out for.
World class products always have and still are being produced in China. In this blog we will take a look at some myths surrounding quality of products being produced by Chinese factories.
The Achilles heel and ultimate downfall of many companies and individuals attempting to manufacture products in China.
1. Chinese Factories Fully Understand the Client’s Requirements
The most common problem for manufacturing first-timers is making assumptions and underestimating the importance of communication with their suppliers.
It is of the utmost importance that you communicate clearly and provide all your product specifications early on in the process, EVEN if you feel it’s irrelevant. Include all the details such as materials, approved components, dimensions, color, finish, logo artwork, etc. anything and everything The more information you provide (and keep a record of) the better your results will be and with it your overall satisfaction in the manufacturing process.
You might be under the impression that a factory will request additional information on anything they deem unclear, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, most of the time if you don’t explicitly specify, they won’t ask.
So how do you AVOID hitting panic stations after receiving a substandard product?
SPECIFY everything you require well before production begins. If you fail to define the quality of the material to be used in production beforehand the supplier WILL take the most cost efficient route available to them, ensuring them maximum profits.
2. Manufacturers Are Supposed to Understand a Product’s Function
It’s plain foolish to believe that the factory will automatically know what your product’s intended use is, even if the product is an everyday commodity in your opinion. Therefore it’s of vital importance that you to provide thorough explanations on not only the product itself, but what its function and application is.
What about SAFETY?
If your immediate thought is concern over IP(Intellectual Property)protection, there are ways alleviate your concerns. You have options available to you to protect your IP. One method is to outsource components to different factories and to only do the final assembly at a different location, and even a third for packaging.
Communication is a PROBLEM, regardless if you make an asserted effort to be as clear as humanly possible things do tend to get lost in translation. Be it because of the language barrier or specific technical jargon that was incorrectly translated and ultimately misunderstood the problem persists.
This is when working with a locally-based Western team can be a good option. When you have skilled engineering teams at your disposal based in the West and the East that fully understand the manufacturing environment in China communication becomes a non-issue.
3. Quality Problems Are ONLY the Factories Fault
Most Chinese factories just manufacture the design you bring them, that’s what they’re meant to do. If you insist on low-cost, sub-par materials you’ll get exactly that, it’s as simple as that. And as previously stated if you don’t specify the quality or production standard you want the manufacturing to adhere to it won’t magically happen.
This is where China’s bad rap for substandard quality stems from. The negative connotation when everyone assumes that “Made in China” literally translates into poor quality. But, chances are the problem doesn’t lie with the factories’ inability to produce quality products, but rather the result of poor design execution.
Buyers often fail to work in close collaboration with the product design engineers which can result in low-quality or faulty products. Although the factory isn’t to blame, they are often blamed or made the scapegoat.
That being said, it is possible to lower your overall costs by utilising an expansive supplier network to negotiate with, without compromising on quality.
BUT if it were easy everyone would be doing it, so why not speak to an expert to help you in your decision making process.
4. Factories Are Unable to Produce High-Quality Products
By now you should realise that this statement holds no water, considering you read this far, and all of our customers would agree with this. If a company managing supply chain in Africa can procure good quality products from China, the whole world should be able to do the same.
There is an abundance of perfectly capable factories in China that will not only meet but exceed your expectations. In most cases, if you don’t see a stamp of origin you wouldn’t be able to guess the source.
China-made goods have gotten such a bad rap over the years that, for some consumers, it’s difficult to move past the negatives and accept the fact that quality goods can be produced in China. The key is to be clear about your specifications and find a proven supplier who can meet your requirements, and do so consistently.
5. Factory QC Inspectors Cut Corners
To be honest, this is a real possibility if you put 100% control into your supplier’s hands and opt not to use a third-party inspection company.
Any third-party inspection company worth their salt will be completely impartial and scrutinize EVERYTHING. You will receive daily reports with pictures and conformance tests etc.
There are many ways to skin a cat though, and you’ll do well to remember that not all quality inspection companies are quality, so best to research this thoroughly beforehand.
6. Chinese Factories Will Ship Regardless of Prior Approval
Well if this were true then nobody would have a foot to stand on now would they?
CONTRARY to popular belief the buyer has complete control over what is allowed to ship. We’re coming back to the importance of clear communication here. If you set out your buying terms correctly from the start, including the payment terms, you should have complete control of what gets shipped and what doesn’t.
Only after the goods have been INSPECTED, cleared to buyer’s detailed specifications, signed and approved, will the products be shipped. This prevents the supplier from shipping products without fully disclosing any quality issues that may exist before or after packing.
If any non-conformances pitch up during the review process the buyer can demand that all or part of the product(s) be reworked. Or can conditionally allow shipping to continue if the quality issues are minimal and non-critical to the product’s performance.
What about the RUMORS?
Irrespective of what you’ve heard in the past don’t lend your ears out to rumors and negative press. Use the tools you have at your disposal and find people in the industry with an excellent track record. Read articles and reviews and research whether there’s any negative floating around about the particular factory you want to work with.
In the words of Confucius – “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” This goes for the modern age as well, even if it’s a virtual room. Point is you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Given, Provident has an office in China with skilled engineers, but the supply chain Africa struggle used to be a nightmare, until we started listening to good advice and ignoring the bad. If you know what to look out for and can move past the stigmas and myths you’ll be doing your company a massive favor.
We hope that this blog has helped you understand some of the more common rumors and myths about manufacturing in China.
Do you require any advice? Are you looking at manufacturing in China and not sure which direction to go?
Feel free to send us any inquiry you may have in the comments section below