Chinese factory verification (or any other country for that matter).
As someone who has worked in offshore manufacturing for many years, I often get asked a lot of similar questions from clients. They usually take the following shape;
· “How do I know if a particular factory is good?”
· “How do I know if a factory can make my product?”
· “How do I know if a factory can achieve my required quality level?”
· “How do I know if a factory is actually a factory and not a trading company or agent pretending to be a factory?”
All of these questions, and more, can be addressed with proper factory verification, or evaluation.
The next question, that comes up, is rather obvious. How do you verify a factory?
There are a number of methods, that can be used individually or in combination.
Third Party Factory Inspections/Audits.
Many third-party inspection agencies, such as Intertek, Asia Inspection, and SGS, will audit a factory for a fee.
This fee depends on a number of factors, which are beyond the scope of this post, but a general report will consist of a number of sections, such as a general overview with a score, a factory profile, workflow and organisation, production lines and their capacity, factory facilities and machinery, amongst others.
There are usually optional things the auditor can check, such as social compliance, R&D, etc.
They will then have a general overview and photos. Specific areas of concern will be noted, as well as recommendations.
Bear in mind that these reports can run into 30 or 40 pages, so I have only covered the tip of the iceberg.
For more detail, you can check Asia Inspections Website, Asia inspection Factory Audit
This method has obvious advantages, such as experienced and certified inspectors, and objectivity.
The major drawbacks are twofold. Firstly, if you want to inspect multiple factories, it can get really expensive. Secondly, an audit is simply a snapshot in time. Things might change tomorrow. A factory might have “borrowed” a machine from a friend’s factory, just to pass the audit.
The most well-known site for sourcing factories in China, is Alibaba.com. They even have audited Gold Suppliers. This might seem as a one stop shop, but there are also major disadvantages.
Firstly, the coveted Gold Supplier status is purchased. I have