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Key points to check during a factory visit in the Philippines

Is it important to visit the factory of a potential supplier? If it’s the your first time to coordinate with them, yes. Nothing beats knowing more about the company that will help you create your brand!

Visiting your virgin coconut oil manufacturer helps establish three key points:

  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the company

  • Establish a good relationship

  • Get personalized support or information that you would have not received in online inquiries

If it’s your first time to visit a factory, we’ve got some key questions and points that will help you make the most out of your visit.

Plan your visit

  1. What are your main requirements for your potential supplier? How much do you need supplied in a month? What licenses and certifications should they have?

  2. Visit multiple companies during the duration of your stay in the Philippines. Research the different virgin coconut oil manufacturers in the Philippines then plan your route.

  3. Be able to list down your company’s needs. Do you need certifications? Do you need specialized support? Do you need permission to have photoshoots of the factory or the farms?

  4. Plan what you want to see. Are you visiting to personally assess if the company can deliver high-quality virgin coconut oil? Or do you want to learn more about the company’s story to help your marketing team brand your product?

Virgin coconut oil manufacturers have been around for more than a decade; therefore, there are certain companies that specialize in different types of oil. Here are some items to check when you visit their factory

1. Top Management Priorities

Before anything else, you should ask what are the priorities of the top management. By knowing what the owners invest in, you can have a clear idea on whether the company’s priorities align with your objectives.

  • How did the company start? Interview the owner/s. Ask how the did the company start. What is the company mission and vision?

  • What are the company’s priority projects? Ask what are the current priority projects, you can see how the company spends its resources on a daily basis.

2. Production Capacity

When considering a supplier, you should definitely take into consideration the production capacity. Consider your objectives in sourcing your product. Is the company capable of supplying it?

  • Do they have experience in purchasing raw materials? Ask where the raw materials are sourced. Does the supplier exhibit knowledge and experience? When a company knows its raw materials well, it can give you not just the best price, but also the best quality raw materials for your products.

  • Where is the factory located? Are they situated in an area that is in close proximity to their raw materials? Or is it far? If it’s far, the higher the amount that is added on top of the original price of the oil.

3. Virgin Coconut Oil Production

Are they dedicated with providing high-quality virgin coconut oil? If so, in what way? Usually, organic certifications are a good way to see a company’s commitment to delivery high-quality products.

What coconuts do they use and how long are they stored? Coconuts play a key role in producing fresh oils. Coconuts processed after a week or a month have a much lesser quality. It's also important to use organic-certified coconuts!

Don't forget to do a quick Freshness Test. Compare the aroma and flavor of a freshly harvested organic coconut with the oil they produce. The closer the aroma and flavor is, the fresher the oil.

4. Quality Management Systems

Product Consistency is very important: Is there a clear presence of quality control systems?

  • Clear and adapted production processes (industrialized, clear working instructions)

  • Solid quality control processes (i.e. incoming good inspections)

  • Systemic data collection and storage (allow problem root cause analysis in case of product defect)

5. Certifications & licenses

Certifications and licenses are the concrete version of a manufacturer’s promise. They are the assurance that there is an external checker of the company’s compliance to local and international standards. The company should not hesitate to show their certifications and licenses.

  • Can they provide their product certifications, business license, and export licenses?

  • Are the technical standards in congruence with your country's?

6. Environment & corporate social responsibility

In today’s world, more and more companies are being aware of their environment and social responsibility. This phenomenon is more than just a consumer trend, as scientific data drive the demand for more sustainable and fairer standards in manufacturing.

  • Ask what environmental policies are implemented. Ex: Is the company implementing a zero waste policy? If so, how is it implemented?

  • What are their corporate social responsibility certifications? For most companies, corporate social responsibilities are an add-on in their manufacturing process. Meaning, giving back to the community is separate from their production processes. True social responsibility that can translate to sustainable progress, on the other hand, can be obtained by incorporating social responsibility within the production processes. Companies with FairTrade certifications have undergone audits from international certification bodies. For more information on the FairTrade certification, click here.

7. Aftersales support

  • How can they continue to support you after the sale is completed?

  • Do they provide additional training or materials to help market your brand?

  • Do you have an account manager to contact if you experience any issues or have any questions?

So, there are your 7 key points to check when you visit a factory. These are the things to consider when selecting your future business partner. In the end, the extra effort and preparation you put in when you visit a factory pays off in the long run in terms of quality assurance and ease of transactions. You should have a future good partner who is not only qualified to produce your product best, but is also open and sincere as a business partner.

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