One of the concerns that we most often hear from our clients when they start importing products manufactured in China is, without a doubt, quality. Even nowadays there are many people who are falsely concerned about the quality of Chinese products, unaware perhaps that, a large proportion of the articles we use in our day to day lives have been manufactured in that country.
As import experts, we can assure you that the association of the word “China” with “low cost” has already been abandoned. Furthermore, history has taught us that the Asian giant is not the only country to have suffered from a commercial stage associated with low quality. It is worth insisting on this in order to make people understand that countries advance and that prejudices cannot remain forever.
Although many people are unaware of it, Japan, the country that we always associate with good quality products today, was considered the absolute opposite in the middle of the last century. Post-war “made in Japan” products were synonymous with low quality, as strange as that may now seem.
The end of World War II had left Japan in ruins. Its economy was devastated and the country did not have the means to train a qualified labor force. At that time, the country’s production was limited and of poor quality.
Things began to change in the middle of the century thanks to William Edwards Deming, an American statistician and University professor, who specialized in “statistical process control” and “total quality”.
In 1950, Deming traveled to Japan and spoke about his theories of quality to the major Japanese businessmen, who were very interested in improving the reputation of Japanese products and being able to trade with foreign markets to enable the economic reconstruction of their country.
Deming’s advice and methods marked a distinct before and after stage and companies began to work with the concept of “a Comprehensive Quality System“. This influenced the takeoff of the Japanese economy considerably. Deming’s name was forever associated with Japanese growth. In fact, he is known as “The father of the third industrial revolution” in Japan.
China y su calidad (actual).
China has experienced something similar since the economic expansion of the Asian giant in recent decades is also closely linked to the current quality of its products. The Chinese government has largely been responsible for promoting this improvement with the aim of becoming a world power for manufactured goods.
The process has not been easy and, in fact, a variety of initiatives are underway to reinforce this concept. Proof of this is the Made in China 2025 Plan, launched in 2016. This strategy aims to develop and restructure its industry by promoting the quality and efficiency of its production with the clear objective of turning China into the “Factory of The World” (a phrase that we often hear).
China’s progress does not end here. Having been transformed already into the second economic world power for some years now, the Asian giant has set itself the goal of changing the “Made in China” tag to “Designed in China“. This venture aims to show that China is an innovative country, capable of generating ideas and not simply imitating or manufacturing those of third parties.
Do you import products from China and are they still low quality?
At this point, it is time to consider that if we are importing Asian products and we believe that their quality is unsatisfactory, the problem lies not in the country of origin but in some part of the importation process.
As we can see in our post about the main problems when importing from China, it is highly likely that the cause of the poor quality of products purchased is in the initial stages of importation, particularly the incorrect selection of suppliers.
However, there may be many other problems, and most of them related to communication, that can end up causing our international purchases to fail.
The processes that an import goes through are numerous and extremely diverse. Previous experience is necessary, not only to manage them successfully, but to be able to confront any setback that may arise during the different stages of the importation process. That is why a purchasing consultant is essential.
The purchasing agent (or sourcing partner) is in charge of finding the right supplier, the best price and the optimal conditions for each aspect of the import, from reviewing quality standards of the items to knowing what procedures must be completed in order to import each type of product.
At S3 Group we have been working for more than 15 years to make imports a simple and reliable process for any company, regardless of the product you want to import. As William Edwards Deming said, “quality is everyone’s responsibility.”