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December 10, 2020 26 min
In This Episode...

You've tuned into part 11 of our mini-series guiding you through effective vetting of Chinese suppliers that will help you to find the best possible manufacturer for your products (listen back to the entire mini-series on vetting Chinese suppliers here 👍). In fact, this is the final part of this mini-series!

In this mini-series, you will already have learnt about due diligence, factory audits and visits, exploring testing facilities, and much more when it comes to vetting suppliers. But how do you carry on getting the results you expect from your new supplier once you have been working together for a while?

In this episode, Adrian & Renaud discuss some of the common scenarios you may face in your new relationship, such as needing to switch from an underperforming supplier to a new one or facing an unexpected price rise, and what you can do to combat or overcome them.

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction / Who needs to listen to the series on vetting new suppliers and why / certain things to be mindful of when working with a new Chinese supplier.

04:15 - How and why to develop a backup supplier. Benefits of doing so in terms of reducing the risk of losing supply of key products/components, how to manage a backup, who is and is not going to find keeping a backup appropriate, and much more.

12:45 - When to switch to a new/backup supplier if things are going wrong with your current one? How it can either be the buyer (didn't vet suppliers and chose a bad fit or didn't explain standards correctly and clearly) or supplier (simply not fulfilling what is expected from them or that they agreed to) that causes a situation where switching to a different supplier is necessary and examples.

16:27 - The typical 'vicious circle' a buyer can fall into with a bad supplier even though they should leave.

20:51 - Dealing with unexpected price rises. Having thorough data about material costs etc can help a buyer push back against a price rise. Having a backup supplier provides leverage if needed when negotiating, as it means you can leave the supplier if they don't modify costs.

22:45 - Developing suppliers based on their quality performance data. Assessing how consistent and reliable the supplier is and their quality systems. Small factories will need a lot more hand-holding and more inspections earlier in production. Larger manufacturers probably won't require such vigilance early on, and, if you're able to negotiate favourable payment terms where you pay after receiving items to your country, repeatedly running a lot of inspections may not make sense.

24:57 - Tracking supplier performance and reviewing it over time - Keep track of performance statistics such as quality inspection pass rate, average defect rate, on-time shipments, serious issues found after shipment, and more. This is also the case with lab testing, too. If a supplier shows that they can be trusted, reducing lab testing frequency may be possible, too.

Extra information you may find helpful
  • Here's how to keep a backup supplier in case things don’t go well with your main option.
  • Here is how to prepare yourself for if Chinese suppliers raise their prices unexpectedly.
  • When you have even one bad experience with an unreliable supplier, don’t place a re-order. Go to your backup instead.
  • Our Contract Manufacturing subsidiary, Agilian Technology, just released this tool to help you assess if you need to switch to a new Chinese manufacturer.
  • Guidance on how to adapt your quality control strategy to the reliability of each supplier.
  • Follow this advice about how to develop your key suppliers over time.
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