Order Detail your China Supplier May Not Know…But Should
Importers unintentionally withhold key order detail, from their supplier in China. This order detail would add to the possibility of success. Perhaps importers think their supplier should already know these things or that if the supplier needed to know, they should ask. But the fact is, suppliers proceed in the dark and fill in some of their own blanks. Here is rundown of some order detail on which, you may want to consider updating your supplier.
An order is when you pay the supplier, manufacturing starts and a mass-produced item is the goal.
Instead of being tight-lipped, proactively provide these 6 pieces of key order detail.
This piece of order detail is actually BEFORE the order starts, ie during the inquiry phase with your China supplier.
Let the supplier know WHEN you hope to order.
If you have an order in the pipeline, let the supplier know.
Do not let the supplier assume you are like so many importers and asking the vendor to simply toss another quotation into the wind.
Show yourself serious and show that business is on the horizon.
This allows the supplier to quote with more precision. (If you think “that that is their job anyway”, then I would wager you’ve never read any of my posts…and you should.)
Also, lack of spotlighting your intentions leads the factory to proceed down other paths and no longer consider your project in their scheduling.
Giving your supplier insight on your next-steps, allows the supplier to better serve you.
I’ve seen on various occasions when the buyer goes silent for extended time. When they came out of the dark, saying they are ready to order (as if the factory was holding their breath the entire time), the supplier said they were too busy to take the order. Or, they will take the order, but conditions have changed.
It’s not rocket science, it’s something as simple as saying:
“If the quotation is approved, our plan is to start sampling next week and hopefully we will order by the end of the month.
Will your production line by ready for our news?
Please confirm you will await our next update.”
“This is how everyone packs this item, so the factory should already know”.
Instead of making profound statements like this, clearly inform the supplier the expected packing.
In fact, your packing scheme is something you should keep on file and when it’s time to order, you send that packing scheme to the vendor, either during the RFQ phases or shortly after.
If you send the packing expectations AFTER the quotation, do not be surprised if the quotation changes.
Packing is not something that is done with the snap of the fingers, but it requires extra processes on the production line, extra timing, extra resources (cardboard or adhesive for example).
Also, if you inform a change of packing during the order, this increases chances of other things going wrong such as repacking mishandling or dirty hands smudging merchandise. Remember my application of the butterfly effect theory to China manufacturing. 1 thing changes, other things change. Like the intricate workings of a wrist watch.
Order Detail Specifications
“We need this perfect”.
General, sweeping statements such as this do not assist in proper order control.
What are the key aspects of the order you want to make sure the factory focuses on? Obviously, you know your end customer and their expectations better than your factory does.
What are some issues in the function, structure and quality that are important to the brand or the item itself?
This is not to say the factory should neglect other aspects of the manufacturing, but what are the areas, where if something goes wrong, then the entire house will crumble?
Spotlight this order detail before and throughout the order; communication, images of expectations, physical samples sent (and not just sent but sent and pointed out what’s right about them).
The Order’s End Customer
Many buyers leave this one blank, as if it’s only for their own knowledge. It’s as if the importers feel they are giving away top secret order detail to let the vendor in on…who they are producing for.
This knowledge should be as transparent as possible in flowing from the importer to the supplier.
Informing your supplier as much as possible about the market and end-consumer should be a no-brainer. The benefits this info can bring, may not necessarily be able to be experienced in a bullet point, as I attempted above.
Like any project, more illumination on processes and background information,assists in your thought patterns.
It’s the same for Chinese manufacturing.
Informing your supplier about the end-market (above point) may help them to consider safety and certification requirements on their own.
This is a good thing.
But do not leave this piece of order detail completely up to the supplier.
If you clearly know requirements for safety and certification, let your supplier know. This should be included in your initial request for quotation or even your intro packet as you source capable Chinese supplier partners.
If you are not clear on the certification and safety requirements, still inform your supplier that you KNOW something is required and ask them to research a bit…but you also continue your research until you find the answers. It never hurts to ask them what they have provided for buyers from your same market.
You do not want to:
Logistics are not something that can manifest or change at the last minute and then you can expect all other conditions to remain unaltered.
If you are sending your order via air shipment, the factory should NOT know about it at the last minute.
If the factory is a conscientious factory, this has a bearing on how they pack the export cartons.
How about if you are planning to send the goods to another part of China to combine with another order? But your current supplier quoted you FOB their own port and didn’t consider the trucking for sending your merchandise to the other area.
The sales contact is going to wonder who is supposed to pick up this additional transportation charge.
Instead of coming right out and telling you, this could all lead to a standstill or squabble that could potentially delay your order.
Lastly, included in the logistic plan is timing. If the order is urgent, you do not want to wait until the order is underway to start pushing for fast timing. This pertinent piece of order detail should be spotlighted from the very beginning.
During the order, avoid sending vague “wishing, hoping” emails that ask about timing. Ask to see progress via photos and timing updates. Learn the processes yourself and find out WHEN the factory will start assembly and when you can get your QC team into the factory to start checking.
Most buyers tells their suppliers that the order is urgent. But instead of just bringing more noise to the factory, show your order is actually important by your own professional questions and timing management.
Instead of pushing, it’s controlled and monitored. Instead of rushing and haste it’s a reasonable observance and management.
Don’t make the factory chase you down for needed info and updates, but instead have everything presented and your channels of communication opened.