Impressed by the state-of-the-art equipment inside, foreigners often leave factories confident that their orders will be filled in a first class facility. Little do they know that their products may actually end up being manufactured in another factory across the province. It won’t be produced on time, and the quality will be terrible.
Cooperation among factories is very common in China. In itself, this cooperation is not a bad thing—each factory has unique equipment, capacities, and worker expertise which allow it to do certain tasks better. As a result, for example, an exercise equipment company may have its steel stock supplier do some basic cuts and welds before shipping parts over, rather than performing these functions in-house.
While cooperation is not always bad, problems arise when the factory you signed a contract with turns around and gets most or all of the production done out of house. The production may be done at a smaller-scale factory without the proper management or quality control.
This is why it is important to inspect the factory regularly throughout the production process. You must ensure that the facilities you saw in person and approved of are being employed to fill your order. You can go in person, or have someone like an InstantChina representative go in your stead.