I cannot tell you how many Sundays I thought to myself “where do I need to go this week?”, and then think to myself,” I do not need to go anywhere because of this virus…with a sense of some relief.”. It has been kind of nice however I do miss meeting with customers and our factory partners in various countries.
As an importer, if the Chinese duties and tariffs did not add enough of a challenge the coronavirus has added a whole another level of complication to the wood components supply chain from every country. Now we need to rely on our factory partners and our SCC QC staff in the USA & various countries to qualify factories and maintain quality control for all programs without our visiting. Amazingly, it’s working quite well. Yes, I wish we could visit certain factories to establish our guidelines & principles. However, it has still worked out as well as we could’ve hoped or achieved if we had gone to the factories ourselves. Our USA staff combined with our offshore staff in the various countries have done amazingly well-monitoring quality and putting into effect additional quality measures to confirm product arrives on quality. And, our travel expenses are down to almost 0!!
In the meantime, while not traveling to the factories, we continue to develop new processes to keep quality control in check along with being more careful with who we select as our factory partners. In the past we may have partnered with a more dubious factory because of their price, thinking we could keep them in check with our visits, however, that no longer being an option makes us far more selective of who is going to perform well and who we choose as a factory partner. Now we may do business with a known better factory at a higher price and take the business at a lower margin, however, we know the quality and service will be there for our customers, we will have fewer troubles and greater peace of mind. We are very lucky to have a great QC staff in Asia that can monitor our Vietnam and Thailand factories closely. We also have staff in Russia. We monitor our Canada and Mexico partners from the USA.