Managing Product Safety of Imported Chinese Goods

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While recent recalls and scares have focused greatly on Chinese manufactured toys and foodstuffs, the issue of product safety extends to a wide variety of Chinese-produced goods. The supply chain in China is characterized by cost pressures and quality fade, multiple levels of outsourcing often involving small producers, a large number of counterfeit goods, Chinese cleverness at evading detection, and poor product safety surveillance by both the Chinese and U.S. governments. While some of these characteristics are present in other developing economies, few countries—save China—face all of these issues. To best counteract these forces, companies which outsource goods from China need a well-defined strategy to improve product safety. This strategy should encompass the practices of developing an organizational unit responsible for product safety, securing greater control over raw material sourcing in China, using extreme care in choosing Chinese subcontractors, conducting continuous product testing by multiple parties, being especially vigilant for counterfeits, and improving product traceability. Toward the end of ensuring items which meet quality standards, product safety auditing allows firms to assess their management of product safety of Chinese-made goods.



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