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5 Tips to Protect Yourself as a Buyer

  1. Visit the factory:

    You should conduct a factory visit and/or it is highly advisable to mandate a factory audit by a third-party inspection company. This will allow you to determine whether the factory capacity meets your requirements.

    Example: you may believe you are ordering 100,000 pieces to be produced in this factory. However, it may be that this factory is only able to produce 20,000 pieces and needs to outsource the rest of the production to four or five other factories which are not under your control. This could result in inconsistent product quality.

  2. Your supplier should be ISO 9001 certified:

    Is your supplier certified ISO 9001 by a reputable certification body? This guarantees that quality management system (QMS) standards have been established as a framework for how the business manages its key processes. The QMS can help the supplier achieve greater consistency in the production process.

  3. Use a third-party inspection company:

    Hire an inspection company and advise your suppliers that all the goods you purchase will be inspected by a third-party inspection company. Do this not only with a new supplier of a new product, but also systematically indicate on your purchase order that there will be a quality control inspection. It's very important to send this message to the factory along with the order so that they know they will be inspected.

  4. Provide a “golden sample”

    Provide a Golden Sample (or a perfect sample or prototype).  Qualified inspectors will check the goods during production or just before shipment against your golden sample. The result will determine whether the goods are fit for shipping and whether the supplier should get paid. Hence, a quality inspection process leverages your bargaining power over the factory.

  5. Get a quality certificate

    An inspection certificate (IC) will help protect your payments.  The standard way to protect yourself when you open a Letter of Credit, is to submit the required documents for L/C payment clearance such as the invoice, packing lists and shipping documents. If you add an inspection certificate, from a third-party inspection company, you can ensure the supplier will not be paid unless you confirm the quality requirements have been met. Not only are you additionally protected, but you also have the final word.