Are you a buyer of promotional products out of China? Are you wondering how to keep quality under control while maintaining your margin? This is harder and harder with time. Quality control software may help you. Let’s explore why and how in this post…
There are three very different types of promotional products buyers:
- The first category buys give-away items on customer demand
- The second category buys the same set of products based on their catalog
- The third category buys accessories and packaging for high-end brands
Their challenges and opportunities have nothing in common, and they have to manage quality in very different ways. Let’s study them one by one.
1. Buying Giveaway or Cheap Items
You buy based on customer needs. There is a constant flow of new products from new factories – one factory for this T-shirt, one for a lighter, one for a USB drive, and so on.
And you are under strong pricing pressure because there are 20,000 other companies willing to do the same sourcing job.
What is important?
- Speed, definitely. It absolutely cannot be late.
- Visual aspect. Are the logos in the right position and the right colors? Does the product look good?
- Keeping the supplier motivated through a one-shot job. This is a fine art.
I suggest you read Jacob Yount’s blog to get some helpful tips.
What quality control software to use?
Any solution that lets the buyer know immediately what is found (including many photos and, if necessary, short videos).
Here is a simple illustration of how the SynControl quality inspection software cuts paperwork time, for faster decisions.
2. Buying the Same Products for Your Catalog
You keep buying the same products for your catalog, and maybe you even work on your product designs.
The key difference with category 1 is that repeat business (with the same suppliers) is much higher and more predictable. So, instead of fighting fires and always fearing the discovery of a disaster, the QA/QC manager needs to apply constant pressure on suppliers and push them to improve.
Which quality inspection software is a good fit in this case?
The key is to get data to challenge suppliers on their performance, and also to follow up on recurring issues to get them fixed once and for all.
Here is an example of the dashboard from SynControl.
3. Buying High-end Packaging or Accessories
I’ll assume you supply packaging to luxury brands. What does it mean?
- Quality first, cost second. Excellent artistry is a must.
- The quality manager is probably working hard on factory compliance (social responsibility), the origin of key materials, etc.
You might buy a range of products in the same factory. And, since quality is so important, you need to check each of those products separately (not all bundled in 1 inspection).
They key here is to save time on paperwork. There are many cases where an inspector has to spend 2 days in a factory simply because preparing reports for all SKUs takes hours.
Which quality control software will help here?
A good quality inspection software solution will allow inspectors of high-end packaging or accessories to skip all that paperwork.
Which one is your category? 1, 2, or 3? Chances are, you are in more than 1 category. Your inspectors might have to be meticulous in some factories and expedite the job in others – maintaining different standards is a serious challenge in itself.
Have you found solutions to manage it? If you’re already using quality inspection software to help manage quality what is, and what are its benefits and drawbacks? If not, how are you finding your current quality control system is working?
Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, and we’ll be pleased to respond.