Online supplier directories and B2B marketplaces like Alibaba, Global Sources, IndiaMart, DH Gate, and HKTDC have made finding suppliers much easier by placing the world’s suppliers at your fingertips. No matter what you want to be made, there’s a supplier for it somewhere in the world – and you get to shop for the cheapest option too. All you have to do is to sit at your computer and do a lot of trawling through the Internet.
Having so many options to buy from has made matters extremely confusing. All the suppliers say the same things – they post photos of perfect products and immaculate factory premises, and they say that they have millions in annual revenue, hundreds of employees, QA departments, and service the European and North American markets.
How do you tell which are the high-performing suppliers, the ones that you can trust and rely on? Which ones are the fraudsters and scammers? One solution to this is you can get supplier management services from a third-party QC company.
Some of the buyer-supplier platforms have introduced their own supplier verification systems. Alibaba offers a trade assurance program where you have suppliers that have been verified by Alibaba and/or a third-party company.
These programs cannot give you the answer to your questions. Here’s why:
Supplier verification tends to focus on checking the company’s business registration details. But business details can be falsified.
In 2011, Alibaba's CEO David Wei and COO Elvis Lee both had to resign after an internal probe found that employees had knowingly allowed fraudsters to evade the company’s authentication and verification measures and set up fraudulent storefronts.
The online marketplace needs suppliers to list themselves and needs customers to feel that they can trust the marketplace. Suppliers need customers to believe in their business. It is in the supplier’s and marketplace’s interests to say that they are verified as it is good for business.
The way around all these problems is to visit the supplier yourself or hire a third-party quality inspection company to evaluate the supplier for you. The upside is that you’ll be getting a professional who’s acting in your interests, has production knowledge, and understands supplier behavior.
Here are some tips for selecting a Quality Control Company:
To select the right company, the easiest way is to pick up the phone and try to speak to someone. You learn a lot just from the way the person speaks to you.
Ask them lots of questions about their personnel and the customers they serve, see if you can interview the inspector, and make sure that the person is familiar with your product.
We would also recommend doing your own research on quality inspection companies and not relying entirely on what’s listed on online supplier marketplaces.