Industrial Adhesives: The Dangers of Shopping Internationally

When looking to shop for commercial or industrial adhesives of any kind, it can often be tempting to go with whichever company quotes the lowest prices.  Needless to say, the lowest prices of all are often offered by manufacturers and suppliers based overseas. Right now, just about anything you need to get the job done as far as industrial adhesives go can be ordered from all over the world.  Particularly the Far East, which has long been associated with the manufacturer and supply of goods for exceptionally low prices.

Unfortunately, there are certain risks attached to international industrial adhesive purchases that need to be taken into account. The simple fact of the matter is that while the overwhelming majority of 3M tape suppliers in the United Kingdom operate to the highest possible standards, this cannot always be said for overseas operators. It all comes down to the importance of the project in question and what the adhesive is to be used for.  Long story short – if the adhesive is needed for any kind of purpose of importance, you need to be careful when shopping internationally.

So while it’s not to say that every international shopping experience turns out to be regrettable, what follows is a brief overview of just some of the reasons why it is important to exercise caution – regardless of how low the prices may be:

Misunderstood Requirements

First and foremost, it’s important to take into account the possibility of language barriers and miscommunication. Even if the service provider has a relatively good grasp of the English language, this doesn’t mean they have the same knowledge and understanding as a native speaker. Which can be particularly problematic if they also do not have a great deal of experience dealing with businesses like yours. You may be abundantly clear and very precise in terms of what you need, but this doesn’t mean your requirements will be understood.  Which of course subsequently means that they will not be met, either.

Delays and Complications

For obvious reasons, there are certain complications inherent to these kinds of transactions that go over and above those of purchasing domestically. The simple fact of the matter is that if you order anything from the other side of the world, it is inevitable that the likelihood of delays and complications along the way increases significantly. The further the products have to travel, the higher the likelihood of delays and other problems along the way.  Even if the manufacturer in question has the best intentions and operates in the most professional manner possible, there is no way of completely ruling these kinds of delays and issues out of the question.

Varying Quality Standards

Something else that must be taken into account is the way in which quality standards in general vary significantly from one country to the next.  The kinds of products that are considered perfectly safe in one country may in another be considered so fundamentally dangerous that they are illegal.  The problem being that when you order internationally, you open yourself up to the quality standards of the country or region you order from – not those of the United Kingdom.  Even when something has received full certification and authorisation for sale in its country of origin, this doesn’t mean it still won’t be entirely substandard for its destination country.

Health and Safety

Performance and quality matter, but not nearly as much as the health and safety of those using the products.  Once again, it all comes down to the way in which health and safety standards differ so enormously from one country to the next.  Products that meet all required health and safety obligations in one country may not come close to meeting the standards required in the United Kingdom, for example.  Which for obvious reasons is something that needs to be taken into account when handling things like the industrial adhesive products.  If you want to ensure your products are of the highest possible health and safety standards, it pays to procure domestically.

No Guarantees or Recourse

Last but not least, you might also want to think about what happens in the event that the products do not perform as intended.  Or for that matter, if you are simply provided with entirely the wrong products, or adhesives the turn out to be dangerous to use.  When dealing with international suppliers, arranging any kind of refund, replacement or assistance once the purchase has been completed may be difficult or even impossible.