In your overseas sourcing, you may discover that a large portion of your suppliers suffer from poor mind reading capabilities.

(This is Part II to:  Buyer Sourcing Approach: Read My Mind and Do It Right!)

Since suppliers’ mind reading skills are low to non-existent, specifics and pointedness are the flavors of the day for efficient overseas sourcing.

Instead of sending an email saying that you’re looking for:

  • “something cool”
  • perfect quality
  • options to go through

…you may have to put forth some effort and map out your manufacturing expectations.

You want an overseas factory to spend time and resources, on your behalf, for quoting and mass production. So how to reach this ideal?

Part of an efficient overseas sourcing approach is to determine knowledge

Too often, buyers fulfill a naive stereotype by assuming since their supplier works at a widget manufacturing facility, then they’re an expert in your widgets. Notice I said your widgets, not just widgets in general.

Are you contacting a knowledgeable supplier? If there are many holes in their understanding are there strong points to offset their lack of knowledge? Is time on your side to guide and train?

If you find your own knowledge in certain areas is too shaky, spend extra time researching your product or industry.

You don’t have to stop the entire sourcing process until you’re an expert, but at least spend extra time in your day researching and knowing processes. Visit a domestic factory if possible.

Remember, suppliers may make you think they are able to read minds

Many buyers become convinced because suppliers can seem very knowledgeable. When it comes to dealing with China, I call it a hyper confidence. This confidence can quickly reveal itself as sales bluster. Doesn’t mean it’s not necessarily a knowledgeable supplier, it just means you need to work through the verbal fluff and determine if the supplier is actually knowledgeable.

THEN – make sure they are knowledgeable on YOUR expectations.

Have you sent a professional inquiry that will achieve your goals?

The end product doesn’t manifest itself in a vacuum. The quality of your mass produced item and the service you receive along the way is a direct result of the initial RFQ. You know what they say about first impressions, right?

Your communication, the manner you present specs, the follow-up with your supplier, all have a direct bearing on your overseas sourcing success.

Treat your selected supplier as an extension of your own company. They’ve now become your production department.

Ask yourself what’s better; clear directives, crystal clear specs and the right balance of communication? Or vague generalities, pushiness and passing the buck when it comes to decisions on quality?

When you send an inquiry, make sure it’s an inquiry you’d want to receive if you were quoting.