Companies are constantly searching for opportunities to gain profit and growth while overcoming diverse challenges. This has pushed many of them – either to thrive or just simply to survive – to seek improved costs for raw materials, components, sub-assemblies, or finished products; in order to be more competitive and innovative.

“Made in China” is a widely utilized concept from more than 10 years ago, and many of its shortcomings have been discussed. The implementation of this concept made it extremely challenging for companies, particularly in developed countries, to manage their product development and to implement quality control.

Why is Sourcing from China Challenging?

Raw materials, regulations, lead-time, logistics, communication, culture, etc., all of these may discourage companies from sourcing in Asian markets. The author has been in the industry for many years, and the common feature of all successful sourcing is to understand the process and do it right. The key is to find the right vendor, which has the international standards, required certifications, and service history with high-profile companies. In this article, the author would like to share some of his experiences on how to do sourcing effectively and efficiently.

Material Subscription

When sourcing from a foreign country, it’s often cheaper to use local raw material rather than shipping it overseas. This is where material subscription comes into play. Material subscription not only includes the material certification report with the corresponding mechanical properties. Surface finish, heat-treatment, and even surface painting must also be accounted for. Considerable experience is REQUIRED when asking potential customers for a material subscription instead of, for instance, a quote. Taking steel as an example, many quality issues can be completely eliminated by just understanding the steel mills’ capabilities and quality standards.

Targeted Audience, Who Have They Served?

There are millions of factories in China, specializing in different industries. Targeting the ones with the right experience will be tremendously beneficial. For instance, a few months back we gave three proposals to customers to solve a technical problem they experiences; the customer was impressed and surprised by our proposals and decided to change their designs immediately according to our suggestions. ZY Machining has been serving the manufacturing industry for more than 15 years. Our track record includes being one of the top-10 structural parts vendors for Komatsu in China. There are many factors to rate potential customers, but history and reputation should play an important role in your selection process.


Engineering is one of the most important factors that can differentiate a good vendor from a great vendor. Even when your company has a dedicated team of engineers, design and manufacturing are connected. Never hurts to know that your designs are revised by a dedicated team, whose experience is focused on that particular industry that they serve. Our chief engineers have more than 30 years of experience designing and manufacturing structural steel parts and even high profile companies such as KOMATSU would ask our team for suggestions for improvement. Selecting a vendor that will treat your product with the same diligence as their product is very important, and their engineering capability is the key.

Communication and Traceability

Have you ever received an email with broken English translations from Google? Miscommunication is a critical issue in manufacturing. Thus, selecting vendors with an internationally diverse team is crucial while forming strategic alliances and business relationships. And besides language, traceability of the shipments overseas is also of the upmost importance when selecting vendors.

While it is not cost effective to have different project managers for each vendor, effective communication and traceability must be ensured. Your vendor should be able to provide these two conditions while managing your project efficiently. In ZY Machining, we have a team or a dozen professionals who can communicate in English, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French. We also have certified Professional Engineers from USA and Canada who understand the local standards and risks associated. This team will be acting as the project managers of your products, establishing effective communication and building a relationship with you and your team. And even when our specialists are not available, you can always track your project status directly with our online platform. We have an advanced information system that provides live updates about product information, so you track the progress of your products as easy as you could track a package being delivered by UPS.

Local Experience and Connections

Just like you understand local vendors around you, the local experience and connections are extremely important when your vendor requires additional collaboration to finish your products. Some vendors may outsource some services to a 3rd vendor, who may not be qualified for your products. We have been in the industry for more than 15 years, and thus we have a wide range of preferred vendors with the proper certification and validation information. Having these relations is a hidden treasure for all experienced vendors, as inexperienced vendors may claim they have capabilities without providing evidence.

Quality is more than Just a Standard

Quality is the most important descriptor for any business and industry. Sourcing will reduce the control and visibility while also increasing the risk of quality decline and late delivery. Because of this most procurement offices ask for quality certifications (ISO9001, ISO14001, AWS, ISO9486, etc.). These certifications will ensure the vendor has the required understanding of international quality standards. However, quality is more than just a standard. Quality is the commitment that the vendor giver to you, and their reputation. While selecting your international supplier, you must assess their level of commitment and evaluate their reputation by looking at their past and current customers; this has more value than certifications. Obviously, you can always visit their facilities to assess whether they are qualified or not.

Cost does not Equal Price

When buying an iPhone charger from the Apple store and buying a charger from a dollar store, one of them will be a fraction of the price you pay for the other, but it may not last even a day. Unless you want your product to fall apart on your customer’s hands, the cost is definitely not the price you were quoted. RMA, marginal cost, and your reputation; all these factors are part of the overall cost, and they are not included in the price you see in quotes. These unpleasant scenarios can be eliminated by selecting a vendor who understands your industry and thus can operate with low costs without sacrificing quality. In ZY Machining, we have a cost reduction program with all strategic alliances to reflect our improvements with respect to your products. We will build tooling and fixtures to aid the manufacturing of your product and save time, and by doing so you can save up to 10% from the original quoted price. As we become more efficient, we share the profits with you.

Steel,GB,Steel Conversion,AWS,Non-Standard Equipment,China

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