The Bigger You Are, the Harder You Fall

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Remember back a few years ago in 2007, when Mattel made headlines with lead-tainted toys that were made in China? If you need a refresher, you can read an independent article regarding this matter here.

While years after, Mattel is still one of the top toy maker in the world, fate may not look upon another company with the same kindness. As a matter of fact, many companies' reputation have been destroyed beyond salvage by the products that they make. This is true in America as it is worldwide. So how does a company protect itself from unwarranted product defects by contracted factories overseas? Is this even a possibility?

The short answer is quick and painless: "no." While we can't speak for other developing countries, we understand that in China, it is next to impossible to get zero-defect out of any factory. In the case of Mattel, the toys were functioning as expected, it was the material that made the toys were tainted with lead. This goes beyond simple functionality, it goes into the material composition territory.

The article about Mattel mentioned the lead-tainted raw material sneaked pass five levels of quality control... When big companies such as Mattel can put in five separate layers of QC and still have them compromised, how would the small companies fair? The outlook is definitely not very optimistic.

The matter of fact is that nowadays, smaller U.S. buyers entrust the factory who makes the product for quality control. This is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. Let's face it, each layer of QC that's put in place have a correlated cost. The same cost will directly reflect on the overall costs of the products being produced. Consequently, the lesser the QC, the cheaper the product. And when the smaller buyer does not have the consistent purchasing volume and frequency, the overseas factory will be even less motivated to ensure that its quality is within buyer's expectation.

As stated elsewhere on this site, Chinese business people are very short-sighted. This short-sightedness is further amplified when orders are placed by fly-by-night shoppers who are just cruising the Internet looking for the lowest price possible. Buyers beware, you may feel that you've gotten the absolutely best price possible under the sun, by the same token, the same factory will also try to cut corners at every turn to ensure its own profitability. The short-sightedness nature will enable the Chinese factories to morally justify their cost-cutting actions. Their reason is that the buyer has no loyalty and only wants the lowest price; the next order will also be shopped around for yet even lower pricing. If that's going to be the case, why even try to keep the business by providing a quality product? Instead, making sure there's ample profit on the current order and not be baited into the next order is the best course of action. One can hardly blame them for fostering this type of mentality.

Unlike shopping in the U.S., where buyer is not responsible for quality control - he takes it for granted that the quality is, and always will be, within acceptable range.

Nevertheless, this buying model is not sustainable. Not only the supply side cannot be consistently sustained, the demand side (consumers) will not come back for the cheap and inferior products that the buyer is selling. At the end, the vicious cycle will gradually make buying from overseas an impossible alternative. So instead of cost-cutting, a company may very easily fall victim to its own tactics - losing customer base and reputation along the way until the very end. The time and cost involved to recuperate the loss business and reputation will be many times higher than the costs saved!

So, what is there to do?

Finding the lowest price overseas supplier is actually very easy, if not the easiest step in the overall picture of things. In the States, this is the most common online shopping experience. Once the seller has been narrowed down, buyers would just fork over the payment and have some type of guarantee that the product to be received will be satisfactory. The same experience will not work when it comes to overseas sourcing; it is merely the very first and easiest step.

Unlike shopping in the U.S., where buyer is not responsible for quality control - he takes it for granted that the quality is, and always will be, within acceptable range. On the other hand, overseas sourcing involves a long list of checklist that needed to be examined and exercised. Each item on the checklist may be interlinked to another item down the list, and there are even more items to go through when the product is out of QC and ready for shipping. In other words, buyer will needed to become fully immersed in product quality control and shipping; this will be a very different experience than shopping on Amazon. And without being physically involved, one can almost guarantee that the end result will not be ideal. Either the product is faulty or delivery time is missed, or worse, both.

Small companies now have a choice. Instead of doing it on their own, they can choose to work with companies such as Cross Blue. We take care of the quality control, a fine balancing act of keeping down the costs while ensuring a consistent quality, and handle all the hassles that come with shipping the products out to you on-time. Make sure that you keep your products afloat while reaping the cost-saving benefits of sourcing overseas. Make the right choice: Cross Blue.

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