China is a growing exporter of natural ingredients, and manufacturers are increasingly sourcing ingredients from Chinese suppliers. There are many reasons why companies are turning to China for ingredients, including scale, cost, unique ingredients and an ancient tradition of natural medicine. Still, the challenges sourcing from China are also aplenty, including numerous quality and safety issues, and a regulatory system that seems insufficient.
In a country the size of China there are many companies that can supply natural ingredients, some good and some bad. The biggest focus of sourcing from China should not be on cost and scale alone, but also should be on quality, science, regulatory and innovation. The increased cost of qualifying suppliers half a world away will be largely short-term, but the benefits of such will be long-term.
SupplySide West is a great opportunity to meet suppliers from all over the world in a huge trade show format. It is also a great place to share ideas and improve business practices. This year, SupplySide West is offering a series of special workshops held Friday, Oct. 10, after the days of exhibits are over. The “Sourcing from China Workshop: Effectively Building a Quality Supply Chain" will feature expert speakers who will detail the advantages and challenges of sourcing from China and will discuss ways to address challenges and establish or improve partnerships with Chinese suppliers.
Gavin Thomspon, Ph.D., a principal with ENVIRON Int’l Corp., will discuss proactive management of a range of considerations such as supplier verification, traceability and various quality certifications. This session will review issues with the Chinese supply market and strategies for addressing these issues. The roles of importers, processors and marketers in sourcing from China will be considered.
Jeff Crowther, executive director of the U.S.-China Health Products Association, will share his experience working in and with the Chinese natural products market to improve partnerships between American and Chinese companies. His focus will be on how to understand the business culture in China in order to open doors to the best suppliers. In addition to best practices in developing long-term partnerships, this insider’s view will look at the future of the China natural ingredients supply market, including potential regulatory developments.
A panel discussion will offer perspectives from both the supplier and manufacturer, featuring Jim Barton, VP of global sourcing at Herbalife, and Matt Thiel, president of Rochem. They will share their view of the challenges managing a supply chain and ensuring quality ingredients, as well as their ideas on how to best approach Chinese sourcing, including site visits and working with local regulatory officials.
The workshop will be held Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, from 8:30am to 11:30am, as part of SupplySide West at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The event is underwritten by Rochem and Vitajoy Bio-tech Co., and requires special registration. For more information visit the workshop page at the SupplySide website.