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Daxue Talks transcript #59: How to best source products from China during the coronavirus crisis?

Find here Daxue Talks episode 59. In this episode, Mathieu Chavant discusses how to source products from China during the coronavirus crisis and gives an answer to whether it is possible to accelerate the process of certification.

Full transcript below:

Today, in April 2020, a lot of medical products are sourced from China. So, what needs to be checked when you source medical products?

Yes, so this is a big increase, just the top of my head numbers, in February 2020 the numbers of only face masks in China increased by a fold of 100, so and in March 2020, so one month later – this is according to the study in China, 28,000 new actors on the market. That doesn’t mean 28 new factories, but 28,000 new actors.

So, because of this increase of let’s say one side of producing and on the increase of need, we can see that company’s like ours receive more than 100 requests per day on medical devices or personal protective equipment. So, to answer your question, the first rule you need to follow is for what is the internal use of this protection?  Is it for medical people or is it for patients or is it just I would say severely unused? So, once you know about this kind of classification you have to understand a little bit what is behind – what does it mean?

So, in the third-party laboratory, we use big words like directives, standards, or these kinds of things, you don’t need to be an expert to understand it. Just you have to understand which one is applying to your product. So, if we take a simple classification, there is, on one hand, the medical device for the people working in the medical environment and there is the personal protective equipment – or PPE in short for everybody else. Once you know this classification, you know what kind of standard you need to follow and the standard will open the door to what does it need. So, how it needs to be tested for how long and what kind of documents you need to import the product – if you buy in Europe for instance or export the product if you sell it from China.

I would say it’s really common – usually speaking, before this COVID crisis that the manufacturer – they apply for the certificate directly, because they are the owner. What we see in the past few weeks is that the sourcing company or the agent – they are actually applying as well for the certificate, to be more in control of the quality part of the supply chain.

Today, in April 2020, we are in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, when a lot of people are looking for shortcuts to source and export. Are there ways to speed up the process of certification?

That’s a really good question. Basically, I have this question maybe 3 or 4 times a day only from my network – which is not as big as everybody in China. The correct answer is there is no shortcut. The compliance of the product, it’s regulative. So, when we talk about standards or directive as I said before, forget about this word and think about law. You have to respect the law to enter a market and if I return the question and I say – is there a faster way to withdraw money from the bank? Nobody is going to say you have to make – sorry I’m going to redo this one.

So, it’s a really good question, Matthieu. I would say there is no shortcut because it’s like a law. You have to respect the law. The law defines clearly how long a product needs to be tested and what is its failure and what is its success. If it’s a success, as a fast result, it will take time – if I tell you for instance on the PPE or the facial mask I described previously its 3 to 4 weeks. You cannot reduce this time because it’s the minimum time to test the filtration system of a mask.

If you shortcut this, then the product is not a complaint. Then the product does not match the internal use and here let me do a small example – you can see on the market a product that does not comply. That doesn’t mean they are not good, that only means that the product hasn’t passed the test according to the law, the standard of the directive I described earlier. So, to answer the question – no there is no shortcut, but what are people doing? They rely on the certificate from the manufacturer; the manufacturer applies 6 months, 1 year, 2 years ago for the certificate, so they have the document. So, the shortcut that people are using is not on the product, but it’s on the sourcing way – and here I have a few tips to make sure you do not forget anything.

When you receive the document from the factory or from the supplier, request a non-blurred certificate, like a fully visible certificate. Then you check with the third-party laboratory that issued the certificate and if maybe you can add some add on services such as inspection or quality control – when people talk mainly about it that can ensure that the products have another layer of quality control.

Any questions? We will find an expert to answer them. Drop your questions in the comments or send us an email –