It’s advantageous to make known your intentions. Giving others insight into your intentions is beneficial to both sides. This applies to daily life and especially pays off in your China manufacturing and importing.
An “indication of intentions”; that can be a mouthful, but, there is thought behind it.
Obviously in business and life you don’t play your whole hand; you leave something to the imagination and and you leave a card or two in hand. At the same time, for the benefit of your neighbor and in the case of offshore manufacturing, your supplier – you give an indication of intentions.
Take the daily-life example of driving. How many times have you muttered to yourself sarcastically, “thanks for the signal” when the other driver didn’t give one?
That’s what the turn signal is for. You turn on your turn signal because that gives the people behind you, in the other lane, those waiting to pull out… it gives them an indication of your intentions. They know you are going to turn right, therefore, they may have the ability to go ahead and pull out on to the main thoroughfare. A turn signal let’s you know the car in front of you is about to turn off and you can break accordingly and prepare to go around…whatever the case may be. It gives and indication of intentions.
In offshore quoting and project management buyers can be notoriously slack when it comes to giving an indication of intentions (and as always from my posts here at the blog, this rings doubly true for the promotional product industry and distributors who go offshore).
You expect your supplier to spit out quotes on time, to make samples upon request (many times you even try to negotiate these fees and shipping costs), doesn’t this hard working supplier deserve to know for what reason they are doing this? Doesn’t the supply-side earn the right to know how the project is progressing and if further movement is on the horizon?
So what’s the big deal, right? You didn’t answer your supplier, you didn’t let them know what your plans are…what can it really hurt?
Going Cold on Offshore Projects: Not letting your supplier know what’s next, letting time lag between the last bit of communication, not letting them know if you plan on ordering, if the price was high, if the project, is dead, etc… leads to the factory going cold. They’re not sitting around the water cooler waiting for you to order, they’ve got other clients, a sales team and a business to run. You can fall down the rank of importance in the factory’s eyes and you were probably not as important as you thought you were to begin with – a lag in communication can make it even worse and all the “high quantity, lofty” promises you were making, seem even less sincere.
If you don’t treat the project as important, guess who else won’t?
A Cold Factory Goes back to Square #1….Square #1 Can be Dangerous: If the factory goes cold, previously confirmed information has the high possibility of being off the table. You have to start from square #1 in reconfirming all points, price talks, etc… Previously smoothed out areas can now seem rough. Further chances for misunderstandings and quality areas grow from starting a project again. The Chinese factories are notoriously bad at cataloguing info and keeping records of previous quotes and project development processes.
Things Change: Since factories are at the source with material vendors and original resources, they may need to go back and check their costing. If you’re a client known for low communication and delays in signing off, then the factory may not hesitate in adding on cost to cover more of the headache you dish out. Also by not giving your vendor an indication of intentions on the project, you risk going in the dark when costs of materials increase, when production lines are booked or when a mold is no longer functional. When you are finally ready to rock n’ roll on the project, the factory’s jets will be totally cooled.
In short, communication is such an important key in your dealings in China manufacturing. It is so simple, but along with the zealous need for saving a few pennies, this is one of the main downfalls I see from importers.
Tighten up your communication, be professional in your own info-flow and you’ll see more professionalism from the China vendor.