Most professional third-party inspection companies who serve greater Asia should be able to carry out the same quality of service, regardless of factory location. But you should always consider your manufacturing country when carrying out audits and inspections.
Social compliance and quality audits
Most garment importers measure social compliance and evaluate quality management systems using the same objective standards. So, the process of conducting factory audits in different countries is fundamentally the same, even if issues encountered vary by location. In countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, you’re more likely to encounter issues with social compliance and fire safety due to lax building regulations and poor government enforcement.
And while the factors you choose to evaluate might be the same across multiple countries, how you interpret the standards must be adjusted for the country. For example, the local wage minimums in Bangladesh and Pakistan are much lower than those in China. While a factory in China might fail a social compliance audit for wages under $100 USD, such remuneration wouldn’t be a violation for your supplier’s factory in Bangladesh.
Quality control inspection for garments
Regardless of where your suppliers are located, quality control inspection before shipping is still one of the only ways to manage product quality in garments. Whether you’re inspecting an order at a long-time partner factory in China or a new supplier in Bangladesh, your inspection criteria and reporting will likely be similar. But your product quality can vary significantly between factories, often due to a number of factors, including:
Skill level of workers
Quality of raw materials and accessories
Equipment or machinery used in production
Like many importers, you may choose to adjust your tolerance for quality issues to match the price point of your product. For example, it often makes sense to set a lower quality standard for a lower-end t-shirt from one supplier than for a higher-end lady’s blouse purchased from another supplier. In turn, the latter product probably sells to different customers at a higher retail price.
Avoid the temptation to choose a manufacturing destination based on cost alone. Manufacturing in one country with lower labor costs can end up costing you more due to other factors, including:
Worker productivity and skill level
Factory sophistication and efficiency
Social compliance violation
Ultimately, every garment importer faces different constraints and priorities when manufacturing garments in Asia. But verifying a factory’s manufacturing capabilities and managing product quality with audits and inspections benefits all importers. And your customers will benefit too when they receive higher quality products from suppliers they can trust.
What other factors do you weigh in considering where to manufacture garments? Share your experience in the comments section below!