Articles by: chinablueprint

‘Made in China’ is no longer a compromise on quality

You can get quality goods if you know how… China has made progress in the manufacturing quality of many goods over the past 30 years, and has made steady progress towards moving away from its ‘low price – low quality’ image. The giftware industry is one such area. Just perusing the halls of the popular Canton Fair (held annually in April & October) gives you a sense of just how far giftware lines have come and a heightened sense of how much is actually made there. Follow this exhibition with a visit to the Reed Gift Fair and you will…

Apple can take the bad publicity, but can your company?

Over the last few months, there has been heightened interest in the media about Apple’s responsibility for poor working conditions in their China based factories. This has included reports of underage employment, draconian style work places, work related suicides and dangerous work conditions resulting in poisoning.It raises the question; who is ultimately responsible for an employees working conditions when the factory is not yours?

Are you a professional importer or a hobby importer?

In my business I meet many people who are dabbling in importing– I call them ‘hobby importers’. They are prepared to take on greater risks; they hope that one day their import business will turn from a hobby into a full scale business; and they also dream about one day become an internationally recognised brand owner. Whilst there is nothing wrong with being a hobby importer, I rarely see these hobbies commercialize into serious business ventures. Perhaps its time for some of you to do a stock take of where you really want to be by now…

Back up supplier – why do you need one?

Many importers do not adequately protect their supply chain by having a back up factory. Only when it’s too late and their current supplier doesn’t deliver, do they realize the importance of this safety guard. Having a back up factory is critical to import success. There are many factors that can impact a supply chain and not all of them are within the control of your manufacturer. These include problems like; • labour shortages; • equipment failure; • electricity outages; • logistics problems; • adverse weather conditions, or even • materials shortages

Can anyone tell me what due diligence means?

I recently presented at the Import & Export Show in Sydney on the topic of trade with China . A common question during this session was; “I found a supplier online, how do I know they are legitimate?” Here’s my advice; you don’t know unless you have done due diligence on them. Due diligence is NOT; 1. Meeting someone who ‘says’ they are a manufacturer and thinking they are a nice person; 2. The fact that the person representing themselves as a supplier has a web site and can be found on Alibaba.com; 3. Seeing products at a trade fair…

Can you find a factory that will make small quantities?

I have been prompted by a recent article and a client enquiry to write this blog. The article was featured in this week’s BRW special on China. It’s about an Australian shoe designer who found a factory that agreed to make very small quantities of shoes for them, one at a time to be precise – a rare situation indeed. This prompted a customer to call me and suggest that given this shoe designer’s success; surely he too could find such a factory to make small quantities for him.

Canton fair haze?

Well you should have all returned form the Canton Fair by now. If I recall the feeling on return its pretty much – thank goodness that’s over – in a good way of course. The Canton Fair can be fantastic but also overwhelming. So while you are sitting there looking at the massive number of supplier brochures you brought back with you, let me give you some timely advise about what to do next. Step 1. Review your brochures and be brutal. I know you made a huge effort to bring them back with you and are probably feeling guilty…

CE certified? Look closer.

The CE symbol stands for “Conformité Européenne”. Many factories producing electronics in China will boast that their products meet the CE regulations which include all safety requirements of the European Union. This is relevant to Australian importers because, in many cases, CE regulations are the same as Australian standards and we can use this as a way of gauging the capabilities and eligibility of a factory when beginning a sourcing project. As with all Chinese factory claims, we need to remember to never accept this information at face value. We have to look closer, perform due diligence and do whatever…

Chinese whispers – why factories get it wrong sometimes

Many importers currently dealing with Chinese factories will already know that manufacturing there can be wrought with complexity. They don’t always deliver on time, on spec and on budget as the project managers like to put it. Few importers though, will bother themselves to understand the complexities that exist within the factory that significantly impact their ability to deliver. By having visibility into the manufacturing process, you can better manage the risks!

Commercialise your hobby import project

There are many ‘hobby’ importers out there who have seen some success through importing from China. Dare I say they found a supplier on the internet that agreed to small quantities and then actually received what they paid for! I cringe as I admit that this could be possible – although I would NEVER recommend it. In any case, the next challenge for those ‘lucky’ hobby importers is to take the big step… turn their successful hobby into a full scale business. Can it be done…yes, of course it can be done, but it rarely happens.