Importing Quality vs Quantity
When buying imports there are two types of quality
problems that occur both called quality fade. One type is a
conscious effort on the part of the supplier to get more money,
though the buyer will suffer from receiving a poor quality product.
Last year several examples of quality issues concerning products
from China arose--the pet food issue of lethal chemicals, lead
paint on toys, and tires that gave a new meaning to peeling
According to Paul Midler, founder and president
of China Advantage, history shows that time doesn't necessarily
improve the quality of products as some importers think. (source:Knowledge@Wharton).
He explains that a 19th century example is silk. When the Western
demand became very high the quality went down. Competition in
China for this business got cut throat and some of the makers
began producing inferior silk products. Thus, Japan with a product
of quality grabbed the market.
Midler goes on to explain that quality fade
is a gradual, on purpose system so that succeeding batches of
the product are of lesser and lesser quality. According to David
Dayton of Smart China Sourcing there is a quality fade he calls
natural; certain aspects of the manufacturing procedures are
looked after less throughly in time and thus the poor quality.
To be fair this problem could happen anywhere and can be the
fault of the western quality control manager.
It isn't impossible to import quality goods
from China or elsewhere. There are many honest suppliers that
value their own reputation. Look for this type of supplier.
Meeting the people you will be importing from and inspecting
the products first is one key. Another is carefully watching
for any signs that subsequent shipments have declined in quality.
This way you can attain quality and quantity.