The summertime is heating up.

Factories are getting busier than they were say even 2 to 3 weeks ago.

Not-too distant Autumn orders should be in production and then there are those eventual jolly Holidays.

Here’s some advice as we start a sizzling summer.

Avoid going HOT and COLD during your projects.

What’s hot and cold in a project you may ask?

It’s being extremely active for a period of time; sending messages and emails to the factory.

Asking questions, pushing for answers.

Getting the sample moving forward. Sample is finally sent to you and THEN…silence for 2 weeks.

Factory contacts you asking for results and *ahem* a PO (you know the point of the whole thing…)

They don’t hear anything back from you for weeks.

You don’t answer emails and when you do, it’s just brief, 1-word responses, not really giving any indication on direction, timing, like the product, hate the product, order dead…whatever the case may be.

What was once thumpin’ and bumpin’ is now crickets.

Radio silence.

The factory doesn’t go back to playing mahjong waiting for your news.

They move on; other orders, other projects.

Factory Changes Direction on Projects

Then, when you finally do come back and request changes to the sample, they’re not so interested.

Or when they were once in 5th gear, now they’re taking it very slowly, because the wind was let out of their sails in viewing you as a potential fluid customer.

I’m not saying it’s reasonable but it’s reality.

When just the weeeee bit of monkey wrench is tossed into the proverbial mix, they start eyeing the project more cautiously.

Especially if you’re working in say promotional products or small private labeling, the factory wants it as easy and as clear cut as possible.

Let me simplify; if you’re not a big buyer and you make changes, you better make those sooner than later. Don’t make the factory wait for weeks to come back with more changes.

Let’s say you come back and decide to place the order…but something may have changed. They may be busier with other seasonal orders now.

Perhaps your sales contact left and you’ve got to reestablish facts and specs.

Point of the story is to stay in communication.

It’s normal to have a waiting period.

Let the factory know what’s going on during that time period.

If you’re going away on vacation, let the factory know.

But also keep in mind that you can still communicate during your vacation if you care about the factory staying on top of timing.

They’ll just not let you know that you blew your initial order timing.

From the time of the first sample, let the factory know there may be a downtime whilst confirming the piece.

Let them know there will be changes so they don’t act shocked.

Ask the factory, “If I bring the order by this date, show me the production path (material purchase, preparation, actual getting on the production line)”

Remember, your offshore supplier is funny about not spoon feeding you.

They’re not going to give you a daily update like some virtual maître d’ informing you of all possible timing scenarios under the sun.

Make the initial smoothness of the order YOUR responsibility.

Part of that is keeping an even, warm temperature throughout your sourcing projects.

Have an awesome start of summer!