When sending in your own product inquiries, have a sharp eye out for discrepancies. Discrepancies commonly lurk inside of the communication and info from BOTH buyer and supplier.

In managing all the twist and turns involved in China sourcing discrepancies are bound to happen.

Buyer product inquiries

When you send your product inquiries to suppliers, are you being consistent in your specs and wording or are there discrepancies?

Discrepancies from buyers usually happen for 2 reasons.

  • Lack of precision in communication and systemizing their specs.
  • Lack of knowledge on the product and processes they are requesting.
  • This happens in the wording of product inquiries; a material is requested that can’t be done with the requested process.

    Or the buyer requests a form of branding and in the same inquiry, the form of branding changes (“embossing” changes to “print”).

    Best case is that the supplier has to come back and say “did you mean this or this?”

    But most times the supplier doesn’t ask you, because they  are not careful in analyzing product inquiries they receive nor are they very service-oriented in guiding importers through the process.

    Seldom will a supplier come to you and say “hey, we found a discrepancy in your request”.

    The supplier then makes a choice based on how they read the email and they proceed with quoting incorrectly, then incorrect samples…and hopefully it doesn’t continue down the line into your mass product.

    Wording vs. photos in product inquiries

    A common discrepancy is in written communication versus attached photos.

    A buyer sends their RFQ with specs and attaches an image. The image is inconsistent with the specs.

    If you attach an image for to show a particular aspect, then spotlight the purpose of the image.

    For example: “This image is for reference of x but not for reference of y.”

    Don’t leave the supplier in a situation to decide what to follow; either the image or the specs. It’s a dangerous thought to assume the supplier will know what you mean.

    Remember, if you send an image to your supplier, ask yourself, WHY you’re sending that image.

    Provide your supplier with instruction  on how to interpret the image.

    Don’t play “Find the Difference” game with your supplier.

    In the same vein; carefully inspect any image your supplier sends to you. 

    If there is an error in the image, ie something “off” with the product  and you do not catch it, they may say that your silence was an acknowledgment. 

    Because, unfortunately, the supplier is playing a form of “find the difference” (whether intentionally or unintentionally) and you catching something could be crucial to the order.