When you, the importer, send important specifications to your overseas suppliers, avoid being haphazard.
Don’t think ‘the method’ can be sacrificed as long as the result is good.
In offshore manufacturing, bad methods easily lead to bad results.
Bad methods lead to creeper problems.
Too much instant communication, too casual
I’m like the grumpy grandpa on the porch.
“Back in my day, importers sent 12 page faxes and you got out your highlighter and highlighted all key points”.
It’s true though.
As communication is more instant with multiple channels, this leads to more mess.
Buyers communicate with their supplier in too many streams.
There will be multiple, rapid WeChat methods back and forth.
Long email streams with important specifications buried like hidden treasure.
Multiple attachments sent and some are modifications of others.
Skype chats with no record of the audio.
Is it possible for important specifications and confirmations to be lost in all of this clutter?
Gather, Send Important Specifications in a Systemized Way
You need to be purposeful when you send details to your vendor.
The goal is acceptable quality and good product.
How to use your communication to reach this goal?
For each project, you need to start one document that’s going to serve as the STANDARD file.
This may be a folder document on a project management site.
Or could even be something as simple as one master Word document.
Regardless, this becomes the standard.
The go-to file.
Then when there is’s a Skype call, great, add the new points to the file.
When there’s an email that confirms something cannot happen or an aspect is deleted from the project, super, change the document.
The document can be tweaked and updated along the way.
There’s a great purpose to the document (or file)…
You’re making this for a 3-fold purpose.
For Internal Reference:
Use this consolidated file of all important specifications internally.
No more combing through lengthy email threads late night trying to find when a measurement was mentioned.
It’s what you or anyone in your company can use as the on-going record (or past record) of the entire project.
For the Vendor:
This is the vendor’s referral document. You cannot assume your vendor is going to summarize all points from every email, Skype call or chat. Perhaps over time the vendor can add to this document themselves.
Your goal in communicating with your sales contact is to have sufficient clarity in your files; specs, pictures, arrows and images that people on the production line understand what you mean. Use your sales contact as a conduit to communicate information to the factory floor.
(More on your sales contact: Equip Your Sales Contact to be a Better Partner)
Ultimately for the Quality Inspection:
Now as both importer and factory having the living breathing document (or file) between them, this now easily transitions over to the quality inspection team. The information that’s been stored and clarified, now can easily be used as the QC checklist.
When you brief your QC team on what to check, you don’t have to go back and reinvent the wheel.
It’s ready made.
Buyer is clear.
Supplier isn’t caught off guard.
Quality inspection has the right detail in hands.
Product quality comes out correctly.