Nowadays, many businessmen are operating with Chinese suppliers and factories due to affordability. However, working with an overseas company can be a real hassle especially when quality problems arise. These issues will not only affect you but also your customers and sales.
While some quality problems can be ignored, others can disrupt the entirety of your transactions. In this article, we will look at some important actions to take when dealing with a quality problem with a Chinese factory.
What is a Quality Problem?
Quality problems are variations or deficiencies that can be seen in a product. They stray an item away from its standard design and form and can cause harm to users in the long run. For example, if an imported bicycle has loose wheels, a biker can face injuries when riding it.
While there is no perfect manufacturing process, quality issues should always be minimized, if not avoided. This way, sales can be maximized for you and your business. Better quality management also leads to a lower chance of lawsuits against your company.
Types of Quality Problem
Quality problems can be dissected into three main parts:
- Critical Issues – these are serious and life-threatening defects that can cause harm or fatal injuries to a customer. Products with critical issues are subject to a total recall, leading to a great loss of sales and profit. Other customers might even resort to legal action for damage charges.
Example: Major salmonella outbreak caused by peanut butter processed by Peanut Corp. of America.
- Major Issues – problems that affect the operation of the product, but not to the point where it may harm a user. Can lead to RTS (Return To Seller) scenarios.
Example: Phone batteries that quickly drain.
- Minor Issues – very small defects that are sometimes not noticeable at all. Most customers ignore minor issues, but it leaves a bad taste in your brand.
Example: Extra threads in T-shirts, or extra paper in packaging.
Sources of Quality Problem
Manpower. This is one of the most common sources of quality issues. This can stem from a shortage of workers or even a lack of motivation. Human errors are unavoidable, and they greatly affect the outcome of a product. Untrained personnel is also part of this source.
Machine and Material. Machines are responsible for bulk production. Thus, if a defect exists, a whole batch may be affected. In such cases, critical issues may even arise.
Another possible source is the materials that you use on your product. Substandard raw materials will result in easily broken outputs. They might even lead to very visible variations.
Management. If a management system fails, then the whole production process is also bound to be unsatisfactory. Common management problems include lack of direction and supervision, inefficient systems, poor planning, and poor execution.
Method. This refers to lousy procedures in manufacturing, packaging, and delivery. It also relates to the overall structure of the process and its efficiency. If your chosen company lacks good methods, then you should not expect acceptable outputs from them.
Dealing with Quality Problems
These are the things that you should do once you notice that your product has quality problems.
- Identify the source. Before complaining to your Chinese company, you should first identify the root cause of your quality problem. In some cases, the shipping company might be responsible and not your manufacturing factory. Make sure to document the errors and defects so that you have proof.
- Contact those who are responsible. Once you have identified the source, you must quickly contact the company responsible for the error. Explain the variations that you have observed and demand an explanation. You can even choose to speak with their higher-ups in such cases.
- Ask for a replacement. The next thing that you should do is to ask for replacement of the goods. This will allow you to recover from potential losses as you will still be able to deliver the replacement products to your customers.
- If replacement is not possible, ask for a refund. A refund should be your last resort since this also means that your deliverables to consumers will be greatly delayed. This could even entail order cancellations.
- Ask for a guarantee that the problem will not happen again. If your company does not give you a guarantee, then you are better off with other manufacturers. Major to critical problems are a tell-tale sign of incompetence in management systems.
- Look for alternative companies. Search for better manufacturers with lesser tendencies to produce quality issues. Proper research and background check are needed for this to happen.
You can take other steps that you might deem necessary, but you should never forget these 6 points if you want to recover from quality problems.
It is better to avoid quality effects rather than to fix them. Thus, you should employ additional measures to ensure that you will not face these issues in the future. Here are some of them:
- Quality Assessment
This involves research on the quality and credibility of your chosen Chinese company. You should be wary of their previous performance, number of workers, advantages, and disadvantages before engaging with them. Not only that, but you should review if they have lawsuits stemming from quality control issues.
- Product Testing.
This is a crucial part of quality problem prevention. You should test one order from them so that you can see the overall build of the product. This also allows you to formulate questions and even identify potential trouble. From packaging, operation, and product inspection, everything should be satisfactory. Once this factor is not met, you must be ready to drop your connection with your chosen company.
- Request Samples. When a manufacturing company is willing to provide product samples of their goods, this usually means that they are confident of their product. This also allows you to gauge whether your manufacturer can follow your instructions and expectations.
- Ensure Shipment Quality. Quality problems do not only arise from the production process. They might also be in the shipping service. It is good for you to check on your manufacturer’s shipping means as it can make or break your orders. Ask about the shipping company before confirming a transaction.
- Ask for Material Specifications. Subpar raw materials will result in substandard outputs. Thus, it is better to know that the order will be made of to ensure that it withstands problems that it may encounter.
Results of Quality Problems
Failure to prevent or deal with quality issues results in a domino of misfortune that can affect the gains and even the credibility of your business. Here are some of them:
- Customer requests for refunds and replacements. Any customer who receives defective products would always want new ones. Others may even ask for their money back. Either way, this will result in a bad reputation, and might even lead to big losses especially when a large number of batch orders are involved.
- Negative online reviews. In e-commerce, reviews are always one of the indicators of a good business. Quality issues cause customers to leave a bad impression on your page, and this discourages others from buying your product. Not only that, but it also might lead to the extermination of credibility on the internet.
- Lesser organic growth. Quality issues lead to lesser customer and brand retention since they will stereotype your products as unreliable and defective. This will significantly affect your business in the long run as investors will be discouraged to deal with you. Your competitors might even take advantage of this situation, leaving you behind in profit.
What you should do
Preventing quality problems should be one of your main concerns since dealing with them face-to-face could mean great losses on your side. A great first step to take is to research your Chinese company’s performance and track record. This way, you will have an edge in knowing their strengths and weaknesses. This also allows you to gain more information whether you want to stick with them or not.
As easy as it may sound, researching Chinese companies can be a very daunting task. It is better to have a professional do this job for you since they provide better insights and reports. This is where our company, Verifyfull, comes into the picture.
Our Job at Verifyfull
Verifyfull is a trustworthy Chinese Company researcher which aims to gain information about their credibility and reliability. We partner with various brands and importers to guarantee that they get the best manufacturers in the market.
We provide great authenticity and transparency in all our reports. Crucial details such as manpower, management, and previous experiences will be presented in a very organized manner. Our customers can treat us like their own set of eyes in the Chinese market.
You can contact us and avail of our service if you want to prevent companies with quality control issues. We will be more than happy to serve you and your business.