Today, we went to a supplier in Zhuhai to do sample picking. Basically, no matter if doing a first time order with your supplier or buying a new product from a longtime partner, you should always ask for a sample first. This sample will be tested and then sent to the customer. This enables you to decide whether you are going to buy from this supplier or keep looking for another one.
Journeying to Zhuhai
Our trip started from Shenzhen, where we have our office for Southern China. Zhuhai is famous in China because it is next to Macau. For Chinese standards, it is a small city (population 1,5 million) and famous for its water parks and LED industry. There are no direct trains from Shenzhen to Zhuhai, so we had to take a bus. This is an almost 3 hour trip to the city. Keep in mind that Shenzhen and Zhuhai are both in the Pearl River Delta, but on opposite sides. So, actually the trip was just to surround the delta. You can have an idea on how big China is! The good thing is that the transportation system in Guangdong province is extremely good. Speedways are in good condition and it was actually quite a pleasant trip.
Once we got in Zhuhai, the supplier representatives were waiting for us. It was already lunch time, and in China, lunch time is one of the most important parts of the day. So, first we went to have lunch. Having lunch with the supplier is a very good way to get to know them and to know more about their company, but also about their industry and city. During the conversation I discovered the most important fair for LEDs is the Canton Fair, which will have its 118th edition on October. Remember that as in every edition, SBE is there to find you the best suppliers!
A factory worker finishing the LED
The LEDs are being tested in the lab
Not Accepting the First Samples
After lunch, it was time to go to the factory. The supplier showed us the factory and the production line. The requirement from the customer was to pick the sample from the production line. However, the supplier had already prepared two samples. We could not accept those two samples. It is important to understand that a supplier might have manufactured several samples and give us the best ones so the results of the tests appear to be ok and the customer would have placed an order based on a biased result. We asked them to take us to the production line to pick the samples we chose, and they gladly accepted it! We could take the samples we wanted and then it was time to go back home.
Samples for our customer
The next step is to test the samples. After this, the customer can decide if he wants to place and order with this supplier! But remember, this will not finish here – We will need to perform a final product inspection to verify all the production is correct!
As I learned today, a sample inspection is a paramount step especially when dealing with new products and new suppliers.