AIWIS Review – Let’s talk with your clients
Thickness of plastic moldings reduced very slightly. The total weight of plastic resin saved overhuge production runs can be in the tons. Reduced thickness means reduced strength. • UV stabilizer is sometimes left out of plastic products unless very strongly specified andchecked. Even if not regularly used outdoors, light entering a room will shorten the product’slife-span. • Mild steel components such as screws plated to look like, but they corrode,sometimes in a critical part of equipment. • Items supplied as leather are often made of Polyurethane (PU) plastic, with a leather perfumeadded. 31.3 Various Qualities in One Factory.Having visited many factories over a wide range of industries, I know that some manufacturers havedifferent qualities available off the shelf. The quality variation is related to price, so if you haggle youmay be switched from high quality to inferior quality. Generally, the price difference is slight. Forexample, a pair of leather shoes with good quality leather uppers may cost $8 to $10, but ones withinferior quality will cost $5 to $7. The retail margin will be a substantially higher % on the better quality. 31.4 In-House Quality Control (QC).Manufacturers with ISO compliance certificates can generally be relied upon to exercise reasonable QC.Others can be tested by the simple expedient of a sample order of a quantity that would require a realproduction run. Single samples may be almost hand made, but a hundred or more will usually involveitems being part of a full scale production run. That may apply in some to as few as 10 itemsdepending on production method. 31.5 Quality Assurance Inspections.Countless offers appear on forums from people in China who want to do quality assurance for importers.Some may be OK, but I would never try any that do not have a verifiable reputation. For that reason Isuggest that if a large shipment is being organized, and the buyer wants a quality assurance inspection, itshould be contracted to one of the old established European or US based inspection services, or onesaccredited with the Hong Kong Accreditation Service as listed in Chapter 29 INSPECTION SERVICES. 31.6 What Should The Small Importer Do?The best protection is a good relationship with the supplier, but that takes time to develop. For initialorders, see In-House Quality Control above. Always be reasonable when complaining about faults. If possible, propose a compromise that could amount to a win/win situation. For example, after providingsome proof of the fault, possibly by photographs or video, and offering to return one item for theirinspection, you might suggest that rather than have both parties lose money, a discount be given by thesupplier taking the form of a credit to be offset against the next .Once a supplier recognizes that you are a reasonable person they will take your complaints much moreseriously.Once your relationship is going well, you may propose a payment arrangement of 50% deposit and 50%on receipt of goods subject to QC. After you reach the point of ordering more than once per month tryto arrange an open account as described in Ch.13.1 of my book. Such an arrangement gives you the greatest possible leverage when it comes to QC, because you have the goods but have not yet paid. Thispower must be exercised with great discretion and the utmost politeness. If you can accept a smalldiscount, offer that. If the goods are totally unacceptable, but may have some value as a cheap item tosell in bulk, make a reasonable offer to do so. 31.7 When You Want Better Quality.Don’t tell suppliers early in your contact that you want high quality, best quality, or superior quality. Ifyou do they will likely quote a higher price than usual for their usual production quality. First obtain asample and check out their standard production quality. You may be pleasantly surprised, but if thequality is not good enough for your needs it gives you a starting point in relation to quality and price.Note exactly what the deficiencies are, set out what changes you would like made, and ask the suppliercan they produce items to your new specifications. I would not ask for a price on improved quality inthat communication. If they say the can meet your requirements, you could then ask them to quote tothat new standard.Bear in mind that some changes may require substantial set up costs. Plastic molding is a costlyexample. An injection mold can cost $1,000 for a small, simple one to $20,000 for a complex one. Evensmall changes to a plastic molding can cost a huge amount to implement.Woven items are towards the opposite end of the set up cost spectrum. A jacquard may cost as little as$100 and not likely to exceed $300.Low cost quality upgrades usually relate to a higher grade of raw material; for example, stainless steelinstead of mild steel.Try locating alternative suppliers and check out their samples in order to possibly avoid the foregoing. Afew hundred dollars spent doing this may save you a substantial amount of time and money.
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