This is a very seasonal and timely message.
We’re right on the Christmas holiday in the West.
While you’re on holiday, enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, what’s your factory in China doing?
They’re still producing.
From Now Until Chinese New Year
This is a very busy time prior to the Chinese New Year.
It’s crunch time for Chinese factories, pounding out mass production orders that need to sail anytime from now until prior to the Chinese New Year.
Here is the big question, have you made yourself available during key points?
During critical phases, will your factory be able to promptly contact you?
And not only contact you, but will they be able to get the needed confirmations and signoffs?
Video: Know What You Critically Need to Signoff and Be Available – Especially During Holidays and Weekends!
First, Know Your Key Points
Prior to any holiday or break, know what’s going to happen with your order.
What aspect of mass production is going to need your eyeballs on it for a yay or a nay?
During what phases or processes do YOU NEED TO BE AVAILABLE?
It could be a color confirmation, image signoffs, or mass production samples.
Is your supplier going to easily be able to make contact and get proper signoff?
You’ll see the digital visuals or physical samples and be able to properly tell the factory to “proceed”.
Or, if you catch an error, by the grace of God, you’ll be able to pull the throttle back a few notches.
Tell them to fix it before more time, money and resources are lost.
And hopefully still catch the next shipment.
You don’t want your factory to contact you and say “we’re almost finished”.
And then you start scrambling and sending emails and messages, asking “How did this go? Did this complete right? Send me pictures quickly. Did you QC? How do I know?” (these are frantic questions that result from poor planning…)
But by then it’s too late.
So first, know what key points and processes you’ll want to have a hand in acknowledging and green lighting.
Be Available for Critical Sign-offs
Aside from knowing your key points, you then need to purposefully make yourself available for sign-offs.
Let your supplier know how to get a hold of you and be ready.
How is the inside of your organization?
Supposing your dealing with a brand manager, a boss or a client who has to be active in the signoff?
Let people know inside of your structure when and how to be available?
Too often I’ve seen orders delay or go wonky because the distributor or account rep on USA side, couldn’t get in touch with their higher up.
Assuming USPS or UPS are working, samples may be coming to your office. Are you going to be there to receive them and urgently provide feedback for your vendor?
Or are you going to be at Grandmas sipping apple cider?
Someone may need to send samples to the bigwig. They may also be at Grandma’s house if you don’t alert and beseech them to be ready.
Quality Control and Hitting Your Sailing Date
Many times on weekends and holidays, the Quality Control team still goes in to finally check a shipment.
The factory needs to get your confirmation of the QC report in order to ship the goods.
A day or 2 delay blows the entire process.
Because the goods have to arrive to the port by the closing date. This is sometimes 5 days in advance of actual sailing.
What I’m trying to say is that a 2 day delay in confirming leads to missing a closing date.
Missing a closing date means missing a sailing date.
This adds up to over 2 weeks.
As we’re close to Chinese New Year and vessel space is limited, missing your confirmation, could cause you to miss over a month in departure.
See the importance of knowing key points and being available?
The factory is still rolling forward.
They’re like a big machine when they’re not on holiday.
The factory won’t mind overlooking your needed confirmation.
Many times in small to mid-sized manufacturing, the factory simply wants to get your order in and your order out.
They will take the path of least resistance.
Make your responsibility to alert them to “stop the presses.”
Put your own stop gaps deep in the ground so the factory doesn’t have an excuse not to contact you.
And don’t give them additional fodder to make excuses for moving forward without your signoff.
Summary of reminders:
- Know your key points.
- Be available for sign offs and confirmations.
- Let your factory know when and how to contact you.
- Remember, if a QC is scheduled, all the more important to be readily avilavble to sign-off on QC report.
- Missing your closing date can really destroy all timing.
…Oh yeah, and have a Merry Christmas.