Are different skill sets required for sourcing vs inspection?

Here is how we answered a question about what is the main difference in the skill sets required for sourcing and inspection? As the answer is applicable to a wide range of products, I decided to blog about the Q&A.

What is the main difference in the skill sets required for sourcing and inspection?

Question about the main difference in the skill sets required for sourcing and inspection:

Does putting in place sourcing and inspection processes will give me confidence that the set quality standard will be fulfilled by Chinese supplier?

Mike’s Answer: 

Thanks for your email.  If you are planning or dealing business with China, you must make sure that your products meet your required quality standard that you set. Well, sourcing and inspection helps you to do this, but they have different skills sets involved. You must understand their differences to keep away from defective products and being scammed. I will share with you the important points to guide you in sourcing and inspection in China.

a) Sourcing

Sourcing is about project management, about research, about negotiation, probably needs some engineering as well.  Sourcing is a kind of art, and inspection is a science, where there’s a clear checklist about following protocols.  These aren’t often people persons.  They don’t talk to the factory often.  They just going there, and they look at the product, and they’re like robots, very different from a sourcing person that would need to build a relationship with the factory in order to get a good price.

When sourcing in China, others may end up being scammed due to various reasons.  You may click this link to guide you not being scammed.

b) Inspection

A combination of quality assurance and quality control, this process ensures that the completed products have met the set required standards.


Also if the team that is finding the supplier it’s the same team that is doing the inspection on that supplier is the same team that is paying the supplier, sourcing agent, and quality control altogether, it’s too ripe for corruption.  You want to have different teams working with the supplier, so if the supplier is going to try to do some of the under that table money, they’ve got to bribe all sorts of employees from different companies.  It makes it a lot more complex for them.  Don’t make it easy for things to be corrupted in China

Thanks again for your email.  Hope the ideas above are useful to your planning.  Glad to help and make introductions if you like.


ABL Blog: Sr. Editor and Primary Content Creator:  Michael J. Bellamy

About the Author: Michael J. Bellamy

Originally from Upstate New York, Mike moved to Asia in 1993 and is a China business advisor to both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.  Recognized as an expert on doing business in China, he has been interviewed by WSJ, CNBC, FT & Bloomberg.

A featured presenter on China issues at seminars, trade shows and corporate events across the globe.

Learn more about Mike and AsiaBridge Law at

Mike is the author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing
(available on Amazon).

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