Checklist for importers in China and low-cost Asia

by Renaud Anjoran ( USA )
(www.qualityinspection.org)

Let’s say you have done your homework, and you have decided that you should source from China/Vietnam/an other emerging Asian country. Now, what are the steps? Is there something you really don’t want to forget? I got this question several times, so I prepared this checklist:


Describe the product

  • Write down precise product specifications

Identify and pre-qualify supplier(s)

  • List potential suppliers that offer the right kind of product

  • Communicate your standard terms (about payment, QC…)

  • Ask a rough quotation

  • Do a background check on the supplier and an audit of the factory

Share product information with potential supplier(s)

  • Ask the supplier to sign and chop an enforceable NDA

  • Share product specs with supplier(s)

  • Send a sample to supplier(s), if applicable

  • Get feedback about product specs

Develop special tooling/molds with supplier(s), if necessary
  • Find a price agreement

  • Get a development agreement signed and chopped by the supplier

  • If necessary, wire money

Develop samples with supplier(s) for a new product

    Supplier sends 1st sample
  • Client comments about 1st samples

  • If necessary, supplier sends more samples

  • Approval of golden sample

  • Comments for production

Develop samples with supplier(s) for a new labeling or packing
  • Supplier sends 1st sample

  • Client comments about 1st samples

  • If necessary, supplier sends more samples

  • Approval of golden sample

  • Comments for production

Finalize product specs

  • Confirm with supplier that product specs are correct

Issue PO, confirm 1 supplier

  • Select 1 supplier

  • Make the product spec sheet an exhibit of the purchase order

Authorize the supplier to start production

  • Get a manufacturing agreement signed and chopped by the supplier

  • Launch the payment process (transfer of deposit / opening of letter of credit)

  • Remind the supplier to book the materials/components immediately

Comment on production samples
  • Supplier sends samples taken from mass production

  • Comment on samples

  • If necessary, supplier sends samples again

Inspection/testing during production

  • Share PO & share product specs with inspection firm/staff

  • Get an estimate of the price/time necessary, and confirm

  • Tell supplier about inspection plans

  • Supplier proposes timing of inspection

  • Get report & give feedback to supplier

Book shipment with a forwarder

  • Get quotes and compare them

  • Confirm a quote

  • Start tracking shipment with forwarder

Approve quality before shipment

  • Share PO & share product specs with inspection firm/staff

  • Get an estimate of the price/time necessary, and confirm

  • Tell supplier about inspection plans

  • Supplier proposes timing of inspection

  • Get report & give feedback to supplier

  • If necessary, proceed to re-inspection and issue a debit note to supplier

Shipment

  • Forwarder advises closing date

  • Authorize shipment

  • Forwarder confirms the products were made available in time

  • Forwarder confirms the products were shipped out

  • Supplier sends a copy of the documents

  • Confirm that the documents are all correct

Final payment

  • Check the quantity of shipped products

  • If payment by bank wire: transfer the balance

  • Supplier sends all original documents

  • Confirm receipt of all original documents

Customs clearance
  • Forwarder/agent applies for clearance

  • Payment of import duties

Domestic transport

  • Arrange domestic transport

  • Confirm receipt of products

Warehousing

  • Arrange sufficient manpower and space

QC on incoming products

  • Share PO & share product specs with internal QC staff

  • QC service checks conformity & quality

  • If necessary, give feedback to supplier and inspectors


I tried to cover 95% of situations for importers of consumer goods and simple industrial products… Anybody has anything important to add?





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