If you are visiting China to look for new suppliers chances are that your time will be very limited, you will arrive feeling tired and more than a little bit lost!
You want to maximise your time by checking out a wide range of suppliers to get as clear a picture as possible of what the factory is really like.
One option is to engage the services of a specialist inspection or consulting company such as Senlinx Consulting, who can help you to review potential suppliers without having to make the long trek to China.
However, there are also many reasons why it is a good idea to see the factories with your own eyes, and for those wishing to embark on a sourcing trip we have created a simple checklist of what you should look for:
9 Key Objectives for Initial Factory Reviews
1. Check the cleanliness and orderliness of both the factory and the office
2. Check how they identify, maintain and keep track of materials
3. Observe the production equipment, their condition and output capacity (calculate: can they really produce as much as they claim?)
4. Take a look at product samples and compare with the quality you see on the production line
5. Observe what in-process checks are being carried out during production
6. Figure out what testing or final inspection processes are occurring. Are they meaningful or just for show?
7. Take a look in the warehouse and identify where else they are selling products to (local or overseas? to developed or developing economies?)
8. Get copies of the company's business licence, ISO certification and relevant product reports etc.
9. Take photos!
Earlier this month, Senlinx visited the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to attend the CLSE Show - more formally known as the 5th China (Guangzhou) International Labor Protective Equipment And Security Emergency Rescue Exhibition (Chinese name: 第五届中国(广州)国际劳保防护用品展览会).
With the aim of assisting our international client’s source high-grade protective gloves and safety helmets, the show proved to be a little bit of a disappointment as it was mainly focused on the domestic market.
However, the exhibition provided Senlinx with ample opportunities to communicate with a variety of old and new contacts in the PPE manufacturing, testing and distribution fields.
Compared with the internationally-known COS+H show (China International Occupational Safety & Health Exhibition 第六届中国国际安全生产及职业健康展览会) which Senlinx attended this autumn in Beijing
, this domestic exhibition attracted more SMEs from Guangzhou Province as well as nearby provinces and municipal cities such as Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai etc.
At the exhibition, Senlinx was also delighted to attend informative seminars on the CE certification mark and European safety footwear testing, which was presented by SATRA
Although the fair proved to be quite positive for Senlinx as we further added to our knowledge and understanding of the market, it was felt on the whole by many exhibitors that the event was a little underwhelming and didn't live up to their expectations.
The trip to Guangzhou, historically known as Canton, proved very popular with the Senlinx representative as it offered a respite from the short and cold winter days currently being experienced in Shanghai.
Senlinx is planning further visits to many PPE shows, including a visit to the 86th China Occupational Safety& Health Goods Expo in Shanghai, China on 17-19 April 2013. Please get in touch if anyone requires support for this event or others.
Being an Australian-owned and managed business based in Shanghai, China, Senlinx is an active member of AustCham Shanghai
and has recently taken part in a range of informative Servcorp SEC
(Shanghai Enterprise Collective) events.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank TXM Lean Solutions
for hosting the event on Lean Manufacturing in China and Bureau Veritas
for their presentation on Business Certification to name just a few.
Informative events like these help to further broaden our team’s manufacturing and business knowledge, make great new contacts and learn about China’s business trends.
Since introducing market reforms under Deng Xiaoping, China’s manufacturing industry has developed a dominant position in the global market; however over recent years the outlook has darkened somewhat.
"create a culture of sustainability, continuous improvement and innovation"
China is currently experiencing a transformative period featuring fierce competition and a turbulent global economy environment, with many issues and challenges which shouldn’t be overlooked, such as:
- Inexperience in internal management systems
- Spiraling costs, particularly the cost of labour
- Poor development of intellectual property and branding
It is becoming essential for Chinese manufacturers to create a culture of sustainability, continuous improvement and innovation not just for their success, but for their very survival.
Its nearly two years since a huge fire
engulfed a residential tower in Shanghai's Jing An Temple district leading to the death of at least 58 people.
After the event the authorities made a big push to improve awareness of fire risks and displayed posters and distributed booklets to residents.
With the fire still at the forefront of everyone's memory, for the subsequent few months, fire doors were kept shut and residents were being vigilant.
In addition, bright orange emergency boxes were soon to be introduced. They can now be found stationed near the entrance to high rise buildings throughout Shanghai.
At the Senlinx office two vending machines made way for ours which is located at the bottom of the stairs.
A check of the emergency box in our office building revealed the following contents:
- LED traffic control baton (x2)
- LED lamp
- whistle (x2)
- ID armband (x2)
- rope & harness
- loud hailer (x2)
- pair of fireproof boots
- camouflaged bag (contents undetermined)
- reflective vest (x2)
- tool box
- first aid box
- CO2 fire extinguisher
- fire axe
The emergency box is kept locked and there is no obvious way to open it, except for trying to smash the glass.
Since the box arrived we haven't been told who has the key, how to open it, who to contact in an emergency or how to use the equipment.
There are no certificates or records evident to demonstrate that the emergency box has been checked and is still in usable condition.
With the two year anniversary of the disaster approaching it is difficult to find clear signs of progress - posters have been replaced, booklets are collecting dust in the back of cupboards and fire doors are once again propped open.
Of course there is one obvious exception, the not entirely useful, but highly visible, orange emergency boxes.
Last month Senlinx travelled to the nation's capital to attend the 6th International Occupational Safety & Health Exhibition
(COS+H), held at the National Convention Center in Beijing.
Since its inception in 2002, the biannual event has become the leading trade fair of its kind in China and is increasingly world renowned for its range of exhibitors and attendees.
With the incredible range of companies presenting their wares, the super-size event not only helps manufacturers and distributors create and build on partnerships, but also acts as something of a giant classroom for study of China’s personal protective equipment (PPE) market.
At the exhibition, the Senlinx team was delighted to meet so many professional, generous and friendly exhibitors from both China and abroad, and build the foundations for future cooperation with several domestic suppliers.
Featuring the world’s largest workforce, China has witnessed a considerable growth in industries associated with work safety and occupational health. With stricter enforcement of China's existing workplace safety laws, coupled with the maturing of the country's manufacturing sector this growth is expected to continue.
Statistics from Frost & Sullivan — an American market research consultancy — indicate that China’s PPE market is expected to exceed the USD20 billion mark by 2014.
Whilst on a recent business trip to Jinhua in Zhejiang province, the Senlinx team took some time off to explore Double Dragon Cave.
Although it shares a name with the 1980’s beat’em up video game, fortunately that is where the similarities end – getting there did not involve beating up any thugs!
On a hot summer’s day dressing in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops seemed like a good idea, but upon entering the cold and damp cave it was apparent that we were somewhat underprepared.
We visited two very contrasting caves, one of which followed an incredible path over, through, under, around and in between an array of rock formations, pools and waterfalls.
The other was a huge cavern at the top of a mountain climb, which although spectacular, had an eerily almost church-like feeling to it.
Rather than being decked out with head torches and following a guide, these caves were lit up with fluorescent lights which made navigation easy.
It also left us feeling that we were on the set of a Star Wars movie! May the force be with you!
During a recent trip to Australia, Senlinx took time out from a busy schedule to catch up with members of Wynnum Redlands Cycling Club’s JG Trading team, who we have sponsored for the 2011/12 season.
The team, whose kit is emblazoned with the Senlinx logo, was very welcoming and kindly invited us to both watch a race and to attend their annual awards evening.
It was a great pleasure to meet members of the team and see them in action.
Here are some photos from the race:
Great News! Senlinx has become a member of AustCham Shanghai, Australia's Chamber of Commerce in the city.
Founded in 1994 as the China Australia Chamber of Commerce, today AustCham Shanghai is a modern networking organisation with over 300 company members represented by 1,500+ card-carrying employees.
Their events range from business conferences to social gatherings, with the highlight being the annual Great Australian Ball.
Joining the association should help the business to gain more recognition and develop in the future.
to view Senlinx's entry in the membership database and here
to learn more about the organisation.
Senlinx have been quoted in the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association's magazine.
Their Autumn 2011 release was a special international edition and included an article "The Chinese Challenge", for which Senlinx were approached to contribute to.
The following quotes were provided by and attributed to Senlinx:
"Doing business in China is a somewhat daunting task that regularly tests your patience and commitment, it is no small undertaking, so understand what you are getting yourself into first"
"The lack of clarity from the regulatory and bureaucratic system makes seeking good advice of key importance - small decisions which seem inconsequential at the time, can often come back to haunt you"
"Local knowledge is critical in order to get things done efficiently - language and cultural differences are always challenges when doing business overseas, but in China these differences are amplified"
Senlinx is a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) consultancy business registered in Shanghai, China.
On 9 December, Senlinx held a Christmas gathering to celebrate the festive period and the conclusion of a successful year.
Despite the bitter winter weather, guests were kept nicely warm thanks in no small part to the mulled wine prepared by our special guest from the UK.
Thanks to all our friends who have supported us during 2011, we are truly grateful.
Here's to a great 2012!