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How Alibaba.com Select verifies suppliers

Selecting the right supplier can make or break your business. It’s one of the most important partnerships your business will enter into. This means it’s of utmost importance that you know and trust your supplier before placing an order with them. Having a diverse, global supply chain – sourcing from countries where there is better quality, availability, or cost efficiencies – has made many aspects of sourcing better. But it does make one step of the process harder: how can you verify that a potential supplier is legitimate, in good standing, and trustworthy?

The team at Alibaba.com Select labored over this question. Alibaba.com Select is the end-to-end sourcing service powered by Alibaba.com. It was born out of a need to mobilize global supply chains in the face of a pandemic, getting personal protective equipment (PPE) to businesses that needed it for the health of their essential workers and patrons. The sourcing service has since expanded into additional categories and industries, but from the beginning, the team needed a process to determine how to find and authenticate suppliers who could produce large amounts of PPE while adapting to ever-changing rules and regulations.

The 92-point checklist is what the experts at Alibaba.com Select came up with. The team has the benefit of having sourcing and inspection experts on the ground around the world, who speak the suppliers’ language and can perform these checks both online and in-person.

Read on to learn the process the team of experts at Alibaba.com take to verify a supplier will be trustworthy, reliable, and create goods of the quality required. Some are verifications that you could have guessed, while others might surprise you.

Verification

1. Basic information verification

This involves reviewing legal documents like business registrations and tax information to verify that it is true and up-to-date, and the business is in good standing. This is a 24-point check that includes reviewing industry licensing qualifications, the level of technology used, scanning for past litigation, and verifying general information.

2. Sales history inspection

This involves looking at both the company in question, and other cooperative exporting agreements with other firms. There are 9 steps in this part of the process, including reviewing where the supplier’s main market distribution is, monthly sales and export values, and monthly export value.

3. Production and R&D (Research & Development) review

For this category, a team is dispatched to the facility to verify many aspects of production in-person. The production line and facility are inspected, including raw materials and technology used. Aside from physical inspections, in this 19-step part of the process the team also reviews R&D testing capability, patents held, R&D engineers onsite – everything down to the electricity bill.

4. Tax compliance verification

Tax compliance paints the picture of a company’s legal standings and trustworthiness, while a consistent process helps enable greater quality control and compliance. This 9-point part of the process checks to ensure there is low risk, like reviewing their invoices for raw materials and finished products, and input and gearing ratios.

5. Quality control inspection

While the Alibaba.com Select team does use third parties to inspect every order for quality and consistency, it is important that the supplier has their own internal quality control mechanisms. Alibaba.com uses a 27-point check to review their quality management system, raw material and finished product quality controls, and Certificate of Conformity.

6. Intellectual property review

Intellectual property (IP) plays an important role when verifying products from a supplier. You want to be sure that there is no patent or trademark violations. That’s why the Alibaba.com Select team reviews the supplier’s IP management practices.

This 4-point part of the process allows the team to check the supplier’s trademark certifications and authorizations to ensure there is no IP infringement.

If you’re interested in having the Alibaba.com Select team source your PPE or additional products, you can learn more at alibaba.com/select, or read more about how it works here.

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