Sourcing in Japan? Not as crazy as it sounds.

What people are saying about Mulberry Fields
“a very interesting blog…” – a company in France

I have a project currently which involves sourcing the same product in China and Japan. Of course China is much cheaper on price but its product quality cannot match Japan’s. So my client is willing to pay more for a higher quality product. It is interesting to see how the vendors from both countries reply. I sent out about 15 inquires to vendors in China and only 2 so far have given me pricing. A few have said that they cannot do the product and the rest I have yet to hear from. In Japan I sent out inquires to 5 vendors all of whom replied to me in a day with lengthy emails in which they discussed the product and my customers requirements. The difference in how vendors have responded speaks volumes about business development in both countries and it reminded me of a conference for small businesses I went to two years ago here in Tokyo. It was said during the conference that in the current century people will look to China for price, to Germany for quality and to Japan for service.

But back to the subject of this blog post, sourcing in Japan. In fact, I had another inquiry recently from a lady who has a well-received product that she had been doing in China. She moved some of her production back to the US because of quality issues in China. Things were going well until her US manufacturer told her recently that they could no longer do her product – which involves a technical printing process that not many manufactures offer. They do have this process here in Japan though and I told her that it is worth looking into. I suspect that US and Japan manufacturing costs are not a whole lot different and for this reason she may be able to get here in Japan what she was getting in the US, though at a slightly higher cost.

In short, if you do have a value-added product that you will not consider China for because of quality issues, the US is certainly a place to look. But Japan might be as well.

japan 020


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