Quality before speed in production and order process in China

Ben Boterkooper China Import Leads BV.Ben Boterkooper is the owner and founder of China Import Leads B.V. He writes and shares informative articles on a regular basis. These cover various subjects relevant to his buying agency in China, production and importing products from China. 


“Quality before speed” is a common expression. Something which suggests when priority is given to speed, quality ultimately suffers. Chinese manufacturers are sometimes criticized for prioritising speed over quality. In many cases this results in importers receiving goods which do not meet the agreed quality standards.  The Chinese manufacturer is often deemed directly responsible. To our opinion this is justified but does not solve the issue.

A comprehensive product specification takes time

When doing business with a manufacturer from your own country, there is nothing lost in translation.  The manufacturer will draft a product specification based on the customers’ product description only.  The product specification as created by the manufacturer will most often meet customer expectations, as the manufacturer will immediately understand what is expected upon description of the product. It is assumed that when companies from the same culture do business, they share a common language and interpretation is on the same level. However, can this be said for China? Do they immediately understand what is required from them when describing your product? Sadly this is often not the case. It is in fact necessary to discuss the product specification in great detail.

Remember differences

A Chinese manufacturer often does not possess the mentality, work method or knowledge to interpret a Western product description correctly. Something that reminds us of the fact we are doing business with a country of which its mentality and work methods are Chinese. You are conducting business in China and therefore cannot afford to assume a Western product description can be accurately interpreted by a “Chinese minded” person. This is mainly due to quality standards and acceptance of goods culturally being at a lower level than they are in Europe. In Europe we are aware of this difference; a Chinese person is often not.

Clarification and verification

To ensure the highest possible success rate with manufacturing the product it is essential that you as a Western oriented company and person adjust to China. To create certainty, it is important not to leave anything to chance. It is good business practice to discuss virtually every aspect in aid of drafting a comprehensive product specification.  This means that if a Chinese person replies with “yes” to your explanation you should not assume they have truly understood. It is therefore especially important that you verify with the manufacturer whether they have correctly understood your requirements. Confirming whether a Chinese manufacturer has correctly interpreted your product requirements is the key to creating a comprehensive product specification. This takes time, a great amount of time, something an entrepreneur often does not have.

Impatience is a character trait

I personally would have to admit that I’m not the most patient person. Because I know this is not my strongest feature, my patience is tested every time a product specification needs clarifying to the Chinese manufacturer, as this process should not be rushed. Many entrepreneurs however, do not spend sufficient time on this when procuring from China. In my opinion this is why quite often procurement activities end badly and investments are lost.

We can provide assistance with your procurement activities in China. Clarifying product specifications will prevent issues in the future. Please contact us for more information.