Not Great China Order Control…
China order control is more than flinging an open-ended question to your supplier. Emailing specs or documents to your suppliers and ending the email with “let me know if you have any questions”, is not ideal order control.
China Order Control is More Than Emails and Mandates
After indifferent and casual project management and delays and quality problems come to light, buyers exclaim something like:
The hard facts are that many of your sales contacts and much of your suppliers’ manner of operation is to-do list minded. Giving them additional questions or slinging new mandates to add to the pile of their already pre-formed to-do list is not very effective.
The supplier may or may not prioritize your important order spec. Without an in-depth followup, it’s hard to tell what they will or won’t do.
Lay Aside Traditional Thinking
A hindrance in China sourcing and order control is traditional thinking.
“I’m the buyer and therefore, I should receive a reasonable level of service”.
Importers shouldn’t expect to give a mandate and their Chinese counterpart simply pick up the ball and run with it.
In China order control, “no news is good news” could not be more dangerous.
Buyers need to consider themselves as project managers and the factory staff as their remote team.
What was once reactive when buying domestically, has to become more proactive than you previously considered.
“Let me know if you have any questions” is meaningless.
Proper China Project Management: Fluid & Start-to-Finish
Project management is not disconnected steps, but a flow chart. Created directives require follow-through to make sure components come to the desired conclusion.
If you work with low-cost factories in the promotional product and retail industries, they most likely already work in scattershot format. Your job is to separate the mess, not add it to.
Proper China order control like the intricate movements of a timepiece…not linear jumps like hopscotch.
By the way, it’s not only with China manufacturers where one must followup with requests and double-check people. It has to be done with your logistics partners, government offices or express couriers.
Good grief…think of your own follow-ups you have to do with your insurance carrier, the post office and any organization you have to work with.
When working cross-culturally with big money, your brand and consumer interest are all on the line, why wouldn’t you control all the more?