Why your Western Approach Will Not Work

Why your Western Approach Will Not Work for Supply Chain Management in China

Why does your Western Approach Not Works for Supply Chain Management in China

Successful supply chain management in China depends on very different practices than in the West. And companies that don’t understand and adjust to those differences will struggle. 

At the most fundamental level, China’s commercial environment is still young; China has been deeply engaged in Western-like commerce for little more than two decades. The principles that Western businesspeople take for granted are not ingrained throughout Chinese business yet. Some simple “rules,” such as not substituting materials in customer-specified products without prior customer approval, don’t have the same intuitive acceptance in China as in the West. Companies that try to manage suppliers without understanding this and the many other differences they will encounter problems.

Decoding the differences, however, is not impossible, but it takes the right guide to approach China’s supply chain management.

We can not forget that it is the buyer’s responsibility—not the supplier’s—to be sure that product designs meet all regulatory requirements of the market in which they will be sold. Western companies also need to consider that Chinese suppliers’ sophistication in regard to manufacturing processes, such as quality assurance, material management, and manufacturing engineering, lags that in the West. These processes have taken generations to develop in the West, and they are still “in progress” in China.  

Because of the relatively unsophisticated state of many Chinese suppliers, it is wise for any Western company to work with a team in China to supervise your product’s supply chain is a must for your business success. At Branding Manufacturing Services, we exercise routine monitoring of supplier performance. This means routine visits and project meetings with suppliers, performing periodic requalification audits, and implementing on-site quality-assurance inspections. Any supplier can get the first order right when all eyes are focused on it. It takes systemic stability of a supplier’s production to achieve long-term success.

At Branding Manufacturing Services, we understand that it is not practical for Western companies to do this directly from their home country, and many are not willing to invest in having their own team relocated to China. This is why we as a third party bring you the experienced supply chain and product manager, so that your company can achieve the success you have worked for!

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