All international purchasing managers try to minimize import risk. In order to achieve this goal so you undertake plant visits to China before you place an order, for the following reasons:
It makes sense to meet the people who you will be working with before you place an order. You will get to know their personality and will start building a relationship with them. As we know, good relationships (or guanxi in Chinese) play a crucial role in business in China – hence the value of a face-to-face meeting can never be underestimated. ?You can inspect manufacturing areas to get an idea of raw material quality, workers’ skills, production capabilities and the internal QC process of the manufacturer. There is nothing better than to see it with your own eyes. ?You can find out to what extent your manufacturers subcontract their production to other plants by checking their work areas and warehouses, or by asking them during meetings. ?You can experience the working environment and meet the workers to be sure that your suppliers are not using child labour and are providing protection masks etc. ?By making the trip to China, you can give your suppliers a sure signal that you are really serious about quality issues, and more so if you emphasize quality during your meeting. When they produce and deliver products, they will put you in a ‘Picky clients’ list and will therefore be more careful with your products.
Some extra benefits you can gain from visiting your China plant:
You may find out that you can actually source many other products in China besides those in your current plan. I had a client before who saw good packaging material during his plant tour in a steel tube plant and finally ordered some packaging materials as well. ?You may see your competitors’ products in a production line during your plant tour. This happens a lot in the top equipment manufacturing plants of China as they get orders from all major international players.