China orders and sourcing projects seem to have less problems when there’s consistent time management from the buyers’ side. A project that has a good rhythm, without a longer downtime, turns into a manufacturing order that’s more likely to succeed.
A nice flow in time for your China order leads to a motivated supplier. A motivated supplier is assumed to be a supplier, that, to the best of their ability, will look out for what’s best for your project
An order that starts somewhat at a reasonable time rate, goes to sampling, payment, production line and shipping, to a supplier’s perspective is a good order. A factory isn’t necessarily looking for the largest order but for consistency.
Not just consistency in ordering rate but consistency in how you act during your order.
You actually have the responsibility of HELPING your vendor move the project along from phase to phase.
Examples to avoid…
Multiple changes on sampling
These aren’t the necessary changes but the more arbitrary kind. The kind that came about because the importer didn’t first square away what they wanted.
Sometimes these changes happen because the buyer didn’t bother concreting exact detail from the beginning.
The sampling phase should be the pre-confirmation phase, not the window shopping phase.
Long-time to confirm samples
During your projects and pregame phases to your China orders, taking a long time to confirm the samples tends to suck the wind out of the supplier’s sails.
During this long period of waiting, the supplier looses motivation on the project.
They move on to other things.
When you come back motivated and ready to rock and roll, they are now ho hum on the project and just ready to get it over with.
Also because Chinese supplier organization is not the best at cataloging and confirming detail; many times when there is a long downtime, it’s as in the supplier’s mind, they have to start back from square #1.
Extended amount of time from sampling to actual commencement of the order.
Connected to all this is when there is such a great time lapse from the initial RFQ to the actual order. To you, the buyer, this may be of the utmost importance and every phase has to go precisely.
You’re busy doing your marketing or getting your sign-offs but to the supplier it’s simply another order. When the supplier’s made to play the waiting game for a $20,000.00 order, for example, you can see how this leads to a casualness.
It’s like they want to say, “hey, it’s just another order, not a moon landing”…they won’t say this…
…but their production quality might.
Changes in the middle of your China orders
Finally, the factory gets to move forward on the order.
Then your supplier gets the email that asks, “can we change something?”.
After the start of your China orders, these changes, albeit may seem harmless and early enough, can lead to bigger problems.
Make it a practice during the sampling phase to have a cutoff time for changes. Insist, either from yourself or your buyer that once you cross that point, you’re no longer able to make changes…without possible quality and timing repercussions.
A Chinese factory is like a big machine; they do not have all the time in the world to dillydally over your specs, nuances and individual needs. They need to get you in and out and move on to the next order.
Downtime, inconsistent responses and seemingly arbitrary changes lead to a once motivated supplier now simply wanting to get the order off of their plate. Whatever importance they once put on the project is gone and they now view you as a problematic buyer.
Whether Chinese, American or whatever country, see yourself in the suppliers’ shoes.
It seems if buyers kept stringing you along and drawing out an order that shouldn’t take that long…you can see how it tends to cloud judgement.