China Sourcing- Someone Has Got to Do the Work

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Quality Control- Scaffolding Order

China Sourcing is an interesting industry and my journey has been long and fascinating. For the past 12 years I have helped companies buy products and services in China and the most important advise for anyone wanting to buy from China is simple: You Have to Do the Work. I guess I could say you “need to do your homework”, but it is much more than that. There is another cliché that comes to mind when I start to think about how we have developed our processes over the years: “The Devil’s in the Details.” Another phrase I like to use is “when a project is 90% done, we still have 50% of the work left to do”. In my experience, this is where people and companies go wrong in dealing with China.
 

Measuring thickness of the Galvanized Plating

Avela Staff Nancy and Steven are performing extensive QC procedures on a $700K scaffolding order.

btw, if you want to see the entire 7 minute QC video, click here: http://youtu.be/ajp2LXAjzDQ

China Sourcing is an interesting industry and my journey has been long and fascinating. For the past 12 years I have helped companies buy products and services in China and the most important advise for anyone wanting to buy from China is simple: You Have to Do the Work. I guess I could say you "need to do your homework", but it is much more than that. There is another cliché that comes to mind when I start to think about how we have developed our processes over the years: "The Devil’s in the Details." Another phrase I like to use is "when a project is 90% done, we still have 50% of the work left to do". In my experience, this is where people and companies go wrong in dealing with China.

I remember that one of the first lessons I taught my staff years ago was involved the word "ASSUME". I told them that if you ASSUME, you will make an ASS out of U and ME. We snickered at this wordplay as kids, but it took on dramatic meaning for me working in China. One must never assume anything. Even the tiniest detail must be "Double Confirmed" as my staff likes to put it.

So what are the Double Confirming Details? Well, first there is the actual sourcing and the basic question of who is really in charge when we decide on a Chinese company. This is a foundational question and a factory background is critical to getting things right and preventing problems down the road. I could write a chapter on this “who” question, but suffice to say that it is the single biggest mistake people make. It’s true you can get lucky, but I do not believe lottery odds are a good way to plan your business.

After you vet your sources, communication is the next pitfall. And this takes me back to that word ASSUME. Our 12 years of experience has culminated in a process that results in asking the right questions. Again another chapter, but suffice it to say the right questions involve materials, supply chains, vendors, equipment, processes, testing, packaging and that is just the tip of this iceberg.

Having a process for developing a custom quality control procedure for each product you are considering is hypercritical. This procedure would fill several chapters in a book on China sourcing and yet not even be the last chapter.

Towards the end of our book would be the topic of logistics. Things can go terribly wrong if logistics are not handled correctly. In fact, logistics should seriously be considered long before production even begins.

And this all leads to the tile of this article: Someone Has Got to Do the Work. This is way we have a team. This is why whenever I hear someone tell me "they know a guy in China", I fear for them. Sourcing is a lot of work with so much that needs to be considered and not assumed. Someone Has Got to do the Work.

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Gary Young: Founder, President and CEO of the Avela Corporation Gary Young CEO of the Avela Corporation helps companies source produces and services in China with offices in Houston and Shanghai since 2002. Mr. Young’s experience extends from sourcing both commodities and unique OEM opportunities, to intense product development projects. His relationship with China extends into his personal life with his daughter-in-law Eva who is from Shanghai and the newest addition to the family Aiden ,who is presently learning English, Mandarin and Shanghainese. Mr. Young is a Vistage Member since 2001.

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