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Overseas operations main problems?

Hello everybody,

I have some questions for those who have had manufacturing done for
them overseas:

what were some of the main problems? How did you build trust and
manage quality control and infrastructure?

I am asking in relation to a seminar I took on knowledge management.
While it was hard taking Dilbert-speak seriously, I couldn’t help
but wonder how fellow Orchidians have handled similar situations.

Thank you guys, for all your help with everything,

Susannah Page-Garcia
Moonshine Metal Creations

visit the manufacturer either by webconference or in person (any trip
is deductible as a business expense- HOWEVER some gem
producing/distributing areas are highly unstable at the moment
regardless of the low airfare to the regions!!)…Either method is
very very telling… and one can glean a lot from looking a sales
rep or distributor, or manager of a cutting shop in the face…also
most overseas manufacturers have the capability to take a video
camera around their facility- also very telling…if its all kids and
teenagers - keep looking…meetings at shows are not something to be
trusted…a call to the headquarters will give you an idea of the
kinds of communications and communicators available in a given
business- this is extremely important in dealing with Asian firms…
ask who your sales/manufacturing rep will be and interview that
person by phone or webconference, ask to see the shops, how
frequently they pay their workers, what benefits they offer workers,
what percentage of workers work off-site, what machinery they are
using ( or if it’s all hand cut what training have the cutters
received…)…delve into the business as far as you can. They will be
receiving your US dollars - which still, believe it or not have
value in fourth world locales… ask what taxes if any you will be
responsible for on return of your parcels or work, what taxes or
tariffs they must pay and to whom, or what agencies- you need to
make certain that no illegal money transfers are taking place and
that no violations of workers rights are being perpetrated by the
firms you contact, or that contact you.

another thought on finding potential suppliers/manufacturers is
through web-based supply chain services…Indiamart, alibaba, idex,
etc. offer international business leads and trade exchanges often
with free memberships and listings for posting buy/sell orders. take
advantage of some of them you may be pleasantly surprised with the
smaller scale cottage industries that respond and often offer higher
quality services at lower prices than those advertising in trade
magazines, etc. I have personally found some recutting and refining
businesses that exceed any level of service and personalised account
management than is available in the US for far less than US rates
that exceed the quality available for the cost in fourth world
vendors businesses, or collectives that are starting up…give some
of these types of small business a shot if you can afford the turn
around time…I would also venture that turn around time, not
exchange rates are the major drawback in dealing overseas because in
addition to the time to preform the service you contract for, there
are postal considerations that are for the most part stable, but
sometimes unpredictable in terms of weather incidents, seasonal
festivals and religious observances, etc…so you should look, at
least, at a calendar of holidays etc, for your chosen suppliers
National Holidays and events, and know which times o year affect
production and delivery…and see how best they coincide with your
seasonal or high production periods…

R. E. R.

Hello Susannah,

I have some questions for those who have had manufacturing done
for them overseas: what were some of the main problems? How did
you build trust and manage quality control and infrastructure? 

I presume by overseas you are referring to China. There is a new
term for products that are being manufactured in China and it is
called “quality fade”. The quality of the first order looks good and
then the quality of subsequent orders gets progressively worse.
Quite often the manufacturer of your first order has just found
someone else to produce your second order for a cheaper cost. We
have worked with several agents here in Vancouver and the problem of
quality fade just keeps on reoccurring even after several orders
have gone through the “same” factory in China with the “same” agent
here. The agents we have worked with here just simply can’t
guarantee consistent quality so, unless you have an agent here who
has a partner in China to oversee quality control of your product
then you are simply gambling. Some agents ask for all the money up
front, some want 50%…everything is negotiable. Be sure to have
the foresight to plan what action you will take if they do not
deliver the quality of product you were led to expect. In other
words “how do I get my money back if I receive a box of land fill”?
If you can’t answer the question then don’t write the cheque.

G. Miller

Hello, We are a manufacturing company located in mumbai we have our
office in US you can visit the website for all the
details. I can promise you no quality fade issue with our products.


I will second this. My husband’s (family owned) company manufactures
furniture pads here in the states, and imports cheap pads from China
for those driven by price, not quality. Fortunately, when he started
he arranged to not pay for the containers until they were delivered
and inspected…and wound up sending every single one back. They
"sold" what he wanted, and delivered what they wanted. Not the same
at all.

He wound up going to China, and buying the entire production of a
Chinese plant - everything they make is done to his specifications,
and goes to him. This is the only way he has been able to control the

This seems, from our experience, to be a culturally accepted way of
doing business in China - I don’t think they perceive it to be
wrong. To them it is not like the cheating/lying it seems to be to us
here in the states. Which really makes it a bit harder to deal with!

Good luck in your endeavors.

Beth in SC - we are now the largest, and almost the only,
manufacturer of furniture pads left in the states…Ross Perot’s
great sucking sound has been loud!


Umesh do you do any manufacturing in sterling silver?