Importers who buy products in China have three choices of quality control and inspection agencies to help ensure the quality and compliance of the products they are sourcing from their chosen manufacturer. These are commissioned agencies, trading companies, and third-party service providers. Selecting between these agencies is a matter of knowing their product specialization and their scope of service. Below are some important things you should know about quality control and inspection services providers you will need to work with when sourcing products from China:
- Commissioned agencies – Commissioned agencies usually have strong ties with factories and manufacturing facilities. They typically charge somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the FOB rate from buyers for each order followed. Because of their close relations with factories (that give them more money than they usually get from importers and buyers), they have the reputation of favoring manufacturers and defending suppliers over importers during disputes.
- Trading companies – When not doing product inspections themselves, traders would pay third-party quality control firms to conduct production checks and factory inspections. The advantage of using a trading company over other service providers is that they allow the handling of smaller orders and provide comprehensive services that deal with production and sourcing for importers and buyers.
- Third-party service providers – Third party service providers or sourcing consultants offer a range of services to importers, allowing for a more cost-effective production, project management, procurement, and overall manufacturing. These companies even conduct quality control and inspection services to closely monitor all stages of the production and procurement process.
Quality inspection agencies also differ in terms of their flexibility, reliability, and focus. This is why it is important to know which type of agent is most suitable for the type of product and size of order you are following. High flexibility and low touch agencies, for instance, are best for buyers looking for quick and fairly reliable inspections, especially when dealing with larger order quantities. High reliability and high touch agencies, on the other hand, are more ideal for those who value quality and thoroughness of inspection over speed.
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