The most asked questions I get are “how to avoid being scammed by a supplier” or “how do I make sure this supplier is legit?
To be honest with you the easiest way to make 100% sure is to go visit the factory but I realise that most of you won’t be able to do so.
The goods news is there are ways to figure out if a supplier is legit or not without going to China. The bad news is that some of these options will cost you some money.
Here are my four proven ways of researching a supplier. I will go into detail for each one of them.
1) Factory audits
2) Alibaba research
3) Certificates & reports
4) Skype call
1) Factory audits
A factory audit is where you hire a Third-Party Inspection Company to conduct an audit at the factory’s facilities.
This way you can make 100% sure your supplier is legit.
Be aware that not all factories allow you to perform an audit at the location which is in turn already a huge red flag.
If they are willing to undergo an audit straight away it is a good sign already. You don’t necessarily need to perform an audit but announcing to a supplier before you order that you will conduct an audit already gives you some idea on what your supplier is up to.
Lets take a look at the procedure when booking a factory audit. There are many Third-Party Inspection companies out there and I mention them in a few posts (TUV, SGS, Bureau Veritas etc.) but I always use Asiainspection because they are efficient, cost effective and reliable. There are companies out there who charge half the price but you don’t have a convenient interface/dashboard online that lets you do the booking trough their system. Most of the cheaper Inspection Companies have only email/phone conversation bookings available.
Lets take a look at how you can book an audit with a factory online trough Asiainspection.
Login into your account and click on “BOOK NOW” and then click on “Factory Audit”. This is how it looks like:
Next thing is you need to start inputing general information such as your reference, the requested audit date etc.
You also need to let them know if this is a first audit or re-audit. Then they will take extra care for issues that you can input later.
In the next mask you input the factory’s detail, contacts and addresses where you want the Inspector to go. The system also stores this information and makes it easier for you next time you want to audit or book some inspection at this factory.