What lessons can be learned from yesterday’s post where we posited that “Something may be rotten in drywall from China”?

May 22nd, 2009

There may be better ways to source safer products from China. It all begins with the quality of your supplier data.

There may be better ways to source safer products from China. It all begins with the quality of your supplier data.

Many industry pundits agree that data relative to North American suppliers tends to be pretty reliable. On the other hand, these same individuals also feel as though data for Chinese based suppliers is less reliable and as a result buyers and consumers end up with issues like the wall board contamination we discussed in yesterdays post. Some go as far as to say that for the Chinese market there is not a good database of suppliers. If you do have data these same individuals suggest that it is probably corrupted, inaccurate or dated.

Although there is an element of truth to the above hypothesis, this author would argue that data for these markets does exist and if supported by the proper procedures for insuring that the quality of the supply is what you would expect it to be can be very good. The process which we have discussed before has to include holding these suppliers accountable to the same environmental and safety certifications and practices as you would suppliers from North America. This may include SQF certification for food products, a variety of ISO standards or in the case of China the GB evaluation system for green building program adherence as a starting point.

If the data is not accurate, then enough time and money is not being invested to make it so.

A good database should be able to provide you with a list of suppliers for a particular country that can be sorted geographically within the country while also providing the appropriate contact data, company information and certification adherence. That balanced with the processes listed above (remember I don’t believe in best practices) should result in making Sourcing from China a less risky proposition.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Ron Southard

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