Sherbourne Consulting

Case Study Electronics: Solving Purchasing Problems in China

Sherbourne Consulting specialises in project management, focussed on problem-solving for purchasing of components and materials sourced in China.


Case Study Summary

Our client was a major US multinational in the electromechanical engineering sector with established operations in China. They wanted to open a new facility.

  • They were facing problems in the design and manufacturing for a critical component for a product to be made at the new factory. They had been trying to find a suitable source for nearly a year.
  • Our approach to find a vendor and facilitate the redesign was based upon detailed project management, operating both with the head office in the UK and locally on the ground in China. We set out to overcome a long-running problem whilst meeting all of the client's approval criteria.
  • The result was a successful redesign of the component, providing a fully functional component matched to Chinese manufacturing capabilities. We also helped to find a new vendor at significantly reduced prices.
Photograph of Dave Roberts, China consultant

For enquiries, please contact: Mr. Dave Roberts
Senior China Consultant
+44 (0)1789 731 803
LinkedIn | Email

Sherbourne Consulting has extensive experience in the Chinese market, with specialist consultants based in the UK and China. We have the insight and knowledge to source materials, components and finished products in a wide selection of industries, and to provide long-term support.

Please contact our team for any further information, or to arrange an appointment for a more detailed discussion and tailor-made advice.

Our Client: Electrical Manufacturing — US, Europe & Asia

A multinational global supplier of electromechanical assemblies (with manufacturing bases in Europe, the US and Asia) recognised that it needed external support to solve quality and manufacturing problems with a critical component.


The company had established operations in China and was opening a new facility in the western part of the country. Our client was also transitioning work from other facilities — both in and outside of China — to this new operation.

“Flexible, retained support can make a real difference in maintaining competitive pricing, quality and service for clients. We excel at problem solving on the ground in China” Dave Roberts, Engineering Specialist

The Problem — Coordinating a Group’s Requirements

Our client realised that they had both design and manufacturing issues with a critical assembly clamp (used in an electrical cabinet).

The clamp was produced by a Western-owned company at a factory in China, designed by a third party in the United States.


The design work had not taken sufficient account of manufacturing suitability, tolerances and material selection in China. The product was intended for initial sale in China, but with worldwide potential.

We needed to work on the redesign while at the same time identify competitive vendors who were suited to the product and volume requirements. They would have to be capable of working in a collaborative manner to meet the vendor's audit process.

Our Approach — Hands-On Project Management

Sherbourne consultants worked closely with the third-party in the USA on redesign. We advised on manufacturing suitability, appropriate tolerances and Chinese materials selection.


Our project management took a staged approach to find the most suitable supplier:

We handled all commercial elements of the discussions on behalf of the client, and advised the audit team on the capability of the supplier's equipment.

  1. Review of component design for manufacture
  2. Research potential vendors
  3. RFI to potential vendors
  4. Shortlist selection & audits
  5. Review of audit process for component type
  6. Selection of preferred vendor & negotiation of terms
  7. Correction of audit issues
  8. First off samples
  9. Orders placed for manufacture

Given our experience in the sector, we were able to advise our client on this particular component, vendor suitability, and auditing.


Results: Supplier Approved & Lowered Costs

By identifying the most suitable vendor and facilitating the redesign, we also achieved:


Orders with the vendor were placed by the client, and progress was monitored. We provided regular advice about vendor-management issues after completion of the project.

The end result was a successful solution to the client's critical manufacturing problem, and significantly lower costs.

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