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
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?
8. Get copies of the company's business licence, ISO certification and relevant product reports etc.
9. Take photos!