We all have such experience, that the buyer or the shoe box factory expectations on quality of goods are not the same.

It creates big amounts of work for you and trying to get a solution acceptable to both sides. That is impossible in most condition to find, and you find yourself either protecting your client (most of the time). Or the shoe box factory (when client has changed the rules). And when this happens there is always the same ending.

You have made your client upset most likely lost them. But certainly harm your reputation. Even if the cause is created by the client not being clear on what he wants, or has not put a detailed quality and specification or worse still they have changed the specification. And quality at the last minute. All situations I know you will have experienced. If you have not upset your client you will have upset the shoe box factory as you will have had to side with the customer against them. (that is how the factory always sees it regardless if they are in the wrong !). And this may be permanent and if not permanent will certainly make future trading with the factory more difficult.

At last,

you often will upset both parties by searching for a compromise. where both sides have to give some concessions. and then you have two aggrieved parties which is a lose lose situation, and miles away from the perfect WIN WIN .So why is it such a regular occurrence .PRICE Often customers demands for lower and more competitive prices result in you negotiating hard with the shoe box factory. and in an effort to win your business the shoebox factory accept a lower price where they know they will have to compromise their quality standards to achieve it .Buyers are not clear on what they want and negotiate the price. and then tell you the specification after all pricing is agreed


Detailed specifications of shoe box factory are often negotiated after the sale is agreed .

Quality is discussed but not agreed .Many of you mistrusting the effectiveness and impartiality of Quality Inspectors .Factories demand to manage their own quality control .Factories do not understand the quality requirements .IN SHORT THERE IS NO CLEAR AND DEFINITIVE QUALITY STANDARD BEING WORKED TO BY ALL PARTIES

So you I suspect all recognise some of the situations I have described here and I am sure many of you have experienced them all .AND I KNOW YOU ALL WOULD WELCOME A METHOD OF AVOIDING THEM AT ALL TIMES IN THE FUTURE AND BE ABLE TO WORK WITH A SYSTEM WHERE EVERYBODY UNDERSTANDS the quality and not just the specification and materials used but every single element of the product .Specification what it does, shown clearly and concisely .

Quality standards What will be the quality standard applied to your products .Its Gift Box,Blister Pack, Clam Shell, Bag etc all fully detailed and understood  .Its outer Carton Box standard and weight is sufficient to protect the goods in Transit .All instruction manuals product guides are detailed and understood along with the languages it is offered in and of course the quality and type of paper they are to be printed on .IMPOSSIBLE I HEAR YOU ALL SAY THAT CANNOT BE ACHIEVED.


But firstly let me tell you two true stories of experiences I had, in Buying products not all in China and why I and some colleagues developed the system we will introduce to you later. The first involved a company who shall remain nameless who made Steam Irons for me and supplied me with 200,000 plus Irons a year. They were not the highest priced or specified Irons but like with all my purchasing we paid a fair price for them and fully inspected every shipment prior to container loading at the factory.

This was done by an outside firm of Quality Inspectors and they had inspected every delivery since we had started with the company failing none and only finding an odd major a few minor and no critical failures .This was good and up until the problem we had no reworks whatsoever From a personal point of view and from experience I do not like reworks as they often create more damage and fail at higher rate after being reworked as there are more cosmetic failures found  •The lack of any production failure I believe made the factory rather complacent and the purchasing team decided that they could change a component part and save less than RMB 0.02 per unit.

The part they decided to change was the fuse in the UK Plug.

And this fuse is designed to break when there is a surge in the power going to the product and protects the end user from further harm. The counterfeit fuse they purchased unfortunately did not have a vital ingredient in it of silica sand which when the fuse breaks absorbed all of the impact and all that happened was the machine would stop working until the fuse was replaced with a new one. However with no silica sand the fuse could explode violently and blow the plug to pieces showering hot parts into the end users home or work room .

This stupid decision to make some very small additional profits by a parts buyer, resulted in me having to recall 20,000 irons for all plugs to be reworked. And to pay my customer the costs of all the recall notices and in total it cost my company in excess of £150,000.00 ( at the time in excess of 1.5 million Yuan) which I then recovered from the manufacturer in the coming two years trading.

Ironically as we dealt with it immediately and very professionally our client increased their shoe box business with us.

Another less good irony was the Inspection House who had passed every shipment and were specifically directed to check for counterfeit fuses in the plug which every inspection report stated that they had been tested and passed .Their compensation to us was a refund of the inspection charges!!!  A negligible amount and a very small faction of the cost to me and the factory. They never accepted any responsibility for their inaccurate reports.

•So this experience left a bad taste in my mouth yes with the factory.

But more so with the inspection company who did not accept any responsibility for their poor quality reports and inadequate testing .This lead me to monitor closely all inspection companies we used their inspectors and also of course the quality of their reports .Many companies advised me that the inspectors sent were abusing their power by asking to be collected from train stations and driven to the factory for better quality hotels to be booked for them to be taken to good restaurants, to be entertained in the evening or to sell some products to the factory and its workers all making it very clear that if these were not given/allowed their inspection report would be a bad one and for sure would fail .

It came to a head when an inspector who did not know who I was rudely interrupted a meeting. I was having with a factory owner and threatened the owner with a Inspection failure, unless he purchased a quantity of product (used/second hand mobile phones) from him. This was conducted in the local language but my interpreter who respected me very much advised me what had been said. So I gotinvolved introduced myself and fired the inspector on the spot, I conducted a short inspection of the order with my interpreter. So it would not be delayed. Later I sat down with my engineers and purchasing team, and devised a stronger system which would avoid any outside interference and assure us of the quality and integrity of all of our products. AND NOT BE RELIANT ON THIRD PARTY INSPECTORS.


There are THREE KEY PLAYERS in all product orders, the production of the product and the quality control standards that are applied. THE MANUFACTURER/SHOE BOX FACTORY .THE CUSTOMER .THE AGENT/SALESPRSON .The common area in all dealings is the product so all negotiations start and finish with the product – Price – Delivery Lead Times – Minimum Order Quantity – Approvals, everything is initiated by the product so lets start with the factory who will make the product and see how we created a process which is acceptable to them and their suppliers and achievable by them and their suppliers. That is something which you must accept and agree with the factory.Do not force them to accept standards they cannot accept or meet.

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