Enquiries about quality control make up a fair share of the conversations that I have these days, and for good reason; it is one of the most frustrating and misunderstood aspects of sourcing products in Asia.
Unfortunately, a good amount of these conversations start with a question of what legal recourse a person might have against a supplier, now that a container of defective goods has already arrived to a warehouse in the USA (or worse, sent directly to Amazon!). When it comes to quality control, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I’ve been sourcing and manufacturing products in China for over two decades now, and in that time I’ve progressed through all of the stages from Anger to Resentment to Acceptance, and finally ended up with a program that works to get consistent output, at least for me. It’s this Quality Program that I spend a lot of time teaching. In this post I outline the fundamentals of the program that I use to manage production quality.
I’ve found myself making a few “How to get to Southern China” guides recently, so I thought it would be best to get all of this information in one place.
Ok, so assuming you have a visa, global mobile phone plan, and an airline ticket in hand, lets talk about what happens when you hit the ground.
A man famous to all of us around him for his razor-sharp wit, my father often uses his humor as a vehicle for imparting business knowledge.
“Any idiot can make plan” he said “it’s the good managers that know what to do when things don’t go according to plan”
It was good advice that has since driven a lot of the work that I’ve done throughout my career.
On your hundred-and-eighty-third day in China during any calendar year, you cross the line from “business traveler” to “part year tax resident’. If you have a resident permit, receive salary payments in Chinese Renminbi, or if you happen to have an ownership stake in the parent company of a China subsidiary, you most likely become a tax payer in China the moment you set foot on the mainland. Like any tax situation, you may get away with violating the law for a short period of time but heed this advice: Don’t do it! The only things are are assured of are death and taxes, and on death I’m actually not one hundred percent sure.
Of the countless things on my to-do list (Wunderlist, in case you were wondering), writing a book to pull together my decade of China manufacturing experience is high on that list. When the urge hits, most times on a long train ride or in the back of a minivan somewhere in China, i pull out my phone and make notes (Evernote), sometimes short sometimes long, and then later I come back to the random pile of notes and start organizing.
Lately in my editing I’ve been pulling out chapters here and there and thinking that they would make a good article on their own. The article below is in that category, the start of a series of chapters on the considerations and practical implications of moving to China to live as an expat.