The Olive Way E-Newsletter 

September 2009


Quality - A Matter of Choice


A few days ago a client brought up the made-in-China topic.  “Yet another boring moan and groan,” so I thought.  Well, that did not happen.  What did happen were praises, praises for the quality! 


That might sound surprising to many.  After all there has been no shortage of consumer complaints, and when these complaints are magnified by the media, a stereotype is formed: made-in-China has become, unfortunately, the equivalent for low quality.


Why then is there such a vast difference in quality for products from the same origin?  To answer this, one needs to understand that a market like China is huge and diverse.  While there are only a few players in one industry in many other countries, in China there could be a hundred or a thousand more.  These many players differ from one another in scale, resources, technology, facilities, training and skills, and R&Ds.  They cater to a wide range of markets: low end, high end, and somewhere in between.  


Global sourcing has become a way of life for many businesses.  Companies must be cost effective to stay profitable.  Quality, if overlooked, will affect one’s bottom line.  How to avoid some unnecessary future troubles early on remains critical for any business.  Here are a few suggestions for buyers:


· Know your market.  Determine your own market first, who you want to service, before proceeding with your procurement.  Are you servicing a high end market, low end market or one that is middle-of-the-road?  Once you determine that, then you won’t get lost in a sea of suppliers, and your purchasing activity will be correctly focused.

· Don’t just go for the lowest price.  It is a good idea to keep in mind this saying “you get what you pay for”.  If your market is very quality conscious, and your purchase does not match up with your customers’ expectations, however good a deal you think you get, it is a bad deal,  for you, for your customers, and for your supplier.

· Once you have chosen a good supplier, think long term instead of a one time deal.   Work with your supplier to build a long-term relationship.  Don’t nickel-and-dime your supplier.  If necessary, consider to pay a premium to guarantee consistency of your supply.  Your commitment will help their commitment to servicing you, and you will have happy customers who commit to your business.

· Quality assurance should be in place early in the sourcing process and throughout the whole supply chain.  This will ensure that any quality issues be caught and taken care of before your purchase reach your customers.   


Sourcing the right product for the right customers and from the right supplier will help prevent much headache down the road.  Often many of the quality complaints arise as a result of buyers failing to make the right sourcing decisions.  Quality, after all, is a matter of choice.



Have a comment?  Want to share your thoughts and stories with me or our readers?  Please send your email to us.  We look forward to hearing from you!


© 2009  Jacqueline Wu & Olive Kan Global.  All rights reserved.


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