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ANDY CHURCH
Founder and President, Insight Quality Services

Andy Church: A Leader in the Quality Industry

Andy Church is the Founder and President of Insight Quality Services. He is a quality control professional who has strived throughout his career to bring better quality products to the North American and European markets.

In 2002 Andy moved to Shenzhen, China as an inspection, auditing, and testing manager for STR—a company which later went public and was purchased by multi-billion-dollar safety certification company, UL. He spent nearly 9 years at STR, working his way up to the director level by leading international teams through complex transitions, expansions, and periods of rapid growth.

After finishing his time at STR, he transitioned into a role as partner and director at AsianOps, Ltd., which provides single-source supply chain and quality solutions. He then served as CEO of Quality Control Services (QCS), a company which specializes in consumer product inspections, as well as factory evaluations and audits.

He grew QCS’s key accounts by 75% annually, expanded the company’s operations throughout Asia, and provided quality assurance services to multi-billion-dollar US retailers. After 12 years in China, Andy took the leap into entrepreneurship and founded Insight Quality Services¬, which he has been running since 2014.

Andy is both a Certified Quality Inspector (CQI) and a Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE), as certified by ASQ. He serves as President Elect on the board of ICPHSO—the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization—which attracts a global membership of health and safety professionals and hosts the industry’s leading annual conference.

About Insight Quality Services

Insight Quality Services is a US-owned quality assurance, quality control, and sourcing company. Founded by Andy Church, it is based in Dallas, TX and has two offices in China. The company was founded in 2014 with a focus on providing inspection and auditing services for companies selling consumer packaged goods.

Today, Insight’s customers range from small eCommerce sellers to multi-billion-dollar retailers and span many industries. Their services have evolved to include sourcing assistance and laboratory testing consultancy. The company has also developed partnerships in countries such as Vietnam, India, and others, enabling them to offer inspection and auditing services throughout Asia.

Insight’s sourcing capabilities have grown in recent years, and they are well-positioned to assist customers who want to identify and qualify manufacturers and ensure that suppliers are capable of meeting all requirements for quality, social accountability, environmental accountability, and any other requirements.

Insight is fully AQSIQ licensed in China, allowing them to conduct inspections and factory audits throughout the country.

Insight’s Expansion into the PPE Market

In early 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting much of the world, Insight began to leverage their in-house sourcing expertise to assist customers who needed to acquire personal protective equipment in China.

Many of Insight’s customers saw demand for their existing products dry up and shifted to selling in-demand products such as masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, and disinfectant wipes. The company’s on-the-ground team was able to assist customers by qualifying factories and then maintaining a presence at the manufacturing facilities to ensure product quality.

The PPE industry in China presented many challenges. Countless companies across the country had set up PPE production lines at the start of the year to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunity. With so many inexperienced manufacturers to be found, it took great effort to sort the good suppliers from the bad and get through the vetting process.

Insight’s deep understanding of the Chinese manufacturing sector, along with their rich experience in quality assurance and quality control have helped make them an invaluable partner for their customers—to help them navigate this difficult situation and to see success in the PPE market.

Insight Quality Services is well-positioned to provide sourcing and quality control services to organizations purchasing PPE from China.

Reshoring is a Move You Need to Think Through Very Carefully

“This pandemic has underscored the vital importance of reshoring our supply chains and bringing them back into the United States, where they belong, where they should have never left.”
– PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP

Over the last three decades, the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly reliant on manufactured goods from Asia, particularly China.

It seems like every few years there is an increased interest in reshoring production and bringing back jobs, and this is understandable.

But is reshoring a good idea for your company?

There are some cases where reshoring a percentage of production might be important from a strategic standpoint—for example when you’re talking about products like pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, or personal protective equipment. Having access to these items when you need them makes a lot of sense.

But reshoring is not always the right answer for businesses, and it shouldn’t be done as a knee jerk reaction to world events.

Any decision about reshoring needs to be well thought out, weighed against different options, and carefully planned.

So, how do you decide if reshoring is right for you?

Reshoring Can Work for Some Products

There are certain challenges with reshoring production to the US.

First of all, America doesn’t quite have the manufacturing capabilities that it used to.

Previous generations worked in factories and made things, but many of the people with the knowledge and experience in manufacturing have moved on and retired.

This makes it hard to bring back many types of products. Add to that the labor costs involved, which can be quite prohibitive.

Some types of production are more automationheavy and—since they require less manual labor—they are generally better candidates for reshoring.

Labor-intensive products—think jewelry or apparel for example—are difficult to reshore because of the high wages in developed countries. A few years ago Kangol reshored some of its hatmaking to Adamstown, PA, and found they were losing money on every hat they sold.

Products that are expensive to transport over long distances might be good candidates for reshoring.

Consider that if you are able to reshore production, this will minimize your delivery times and reduce distribution costs significantly, since production is closer to where the goods will be sold. This is one of the biggest benefits that reshoring offers businesses.

But there is also another option that can potentially lower your labor costs and reduce shipping costs at the same time—nearshoring.

Nearshoring vs. Reshoring

While reshoring means bring production to the country you are in, nearshoring means bringing production to another nearby country.

In some cases, nearshoring might be a better alternative for your business.

There are countries closer to home (i.e. Mexico) with lower labor costs. Similar to reshoring, nearshoring can lead to shorter delivery times and lower distribution costs than shipping from Asia.

However, when moving Chinese production to Mexico or South America, it may not be as easy to find a manufacturer, since China’s manufacturing sector is very mature and offers many options.

There is no large centralized platform like Alibaba for the region, but of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing some digging to try and connect with suppliers. It just means it may require more initial legwork.

And whether you’re talking about reshoring or nearshoring, there are certain considerations you have to take into account.

Other Considerations

One thing you need to consider is where your raw material is coming from.

You may be able to find lower labor costs in Latin America, but if the raw material for your product is coming from further away, it will add to your costs. If you are making furniture, for example, are you going to have to import your fabric from the middle east or from China?

There is efficiency in manufacturing in the same region where the raw material is acquired. So, this needs to be factored into the cost.

Tariffs and the deteriorated relationship between the US and China are also big concerns. For now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the trade war is at a standstill, but keep in mind that there could be further actions taken in the future.

Aside from reshoring and nearshoring, it is worth considering other countries in Asia, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, or Indonesia—countries where the relationship with the United States is not as strained.

Don’t Take the Decision Lightly

The most important thing to keep in mind is that a decision about moving production should never be taken lightly. You need to do thorough research and look at all your options.

Recognize that you are making a long-term move and be willing to slow down and assess things. Consider the main drivers for the move and understand the potential for upstream supply issues.

Take a holistic view of all the benefits and drawbacks and then start small. You do not need to move a large portion of your production right away.


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