As 2016 is right around the corner, here are some year-end China importing reminders. Keep these tips at the forefront of your thinking during your sourcing and manufacturing endeavors.

New Year: Worldwide & Chinese

Year after year there are supplier warnings and delays because of Lunar New Year. It seems to start even earlier because Global New Year and Lunar New Year seem to meld into 1 large blob of timing obstacles.

Keep in mind that anything you were quoted is subject to change after the Chinese holiday.

Perhaps a zealous sales person quoted you before the holiday and was not careful, material prices change, whatever the reason, be cautious with any quotation received pre-holiday.

Requesting Quotations: Facts, Visuals, Evidence

Remember in your China importing to present all of your RFQ’s in an evidence-based fashion. Forget the hyperbole and thinking the supplier should be able to read your mind.

Be systematic in your spec sheets and what you want quoted.

To receive an accurate quotation, provide the necessary evidence to the supplier.

Buyers think “Why did the supplier not quote that?”

Suppliers think “Why did the buyer not tell us?”

As you work more with the same supplier, they will better understand your quoting expectations.

Emphasize Expected Quality

Without giving indication of your expected quality levels, the supplier may quote the lowest common denominator when it comes to quality.

Clearly inform the supplier your expected quality levels.

Analyzing Your Quotations: Slow Down

Receiving the quotation is not the end of analysis.

In China importing receiving the quotation from the supplier, should be treated as a stop-period, where you carefully focus on the info in front of you.

Compare the quote against your request.

Is everything there?

Silence does NOT equal inclusion into the price.

Read Suppliers’ Emails Carefully

Suppliers send emails for a reason. Regardless if the email is hard to understand; have the mindset that the email is important and the supplier needs to tell me something important.

If you cannot understand the supplier’s description, ask them to send you a photo showing their meaning.

In China importing, ignoring emails lead to the supplier making their own decision about a quality aspect. Many times, it’s a decision you may not have wanted!

Remember that any awkward comment from your supplier was probably not intended the way it sounds.

Insist that Suppliers Read Your Emails Carefully

There is No “Obvious” in China Importing.

Do not be afraid to state the obvious. Obvious, deliberate statements are your friend in China importing.

“Be sure you open the attachment and use the artwork”.

“Be sure to read and respond to each of these points”.

Stating what you may consider the obvious, in a straight forward manner is better than wordy, roundabout communication.

Do not cause your supplier to deduce your meaning.

Email in a bullet-point format and insist the supplier responds under each point.

By the way, here are 40 tips on emailing your China supplier.

Always Keep Your Cool in China Importing

As your quoting and analyzing should be fact and evidence-based. Your communication should be the same.

Always stick to the facts. Avoid getting involved with personalities, sarcasm or anger.

Keep a Training Mindset

Avoid approaching projects from the mindset that your supplier is trying to pull one over on you.

Your supplier is working hard but sometimes their effort may be misplaced.

Your supplier is attempting to make the project a success. The sticky part is their understanding of what it means for a project to be a success and put all the pieces of the puzzle into place.

Relationships require a professional cultivation.

New suppliers require training. Meaning, you need to consider yourself as an “unofficial production manager” and you need to use your supplier as an extension of your own team.

Even suppliers who are old suppliers, if you start taking them for granted, their service and quality level may begin to slip.

It’s the law of “we’re old friends” in China. This means the longer and more you know someone, the more you are able to cut corners and fudge on effort.

Be Serious About Your Purchase Order

This goes for any document but particularly I’m talking about the Purchase Order. Does the purchase order mean anything or are you sending it out of formality?

Are the specs on the PO confirmed in advance by the supplier? ie you are not sneaking anything on there that the supplier didn’t confirm are you?

If you are going to send the document, great, but make sure the supplier reads it, confirms the points in it and signs it and sends it back. The Purchase Order should match the supplier’s invoice as far as specifications and requirements go.

Do Not Sent Wire Payments to Personal Accounts

Unless you know the supplier very very well, paying a personal account is highly discouraged.

Here are more tips for paying your China supplier.

What You Find Out, Share…

If you find out something on your side; comments from users on the product, requirements from USA customs or your home country customs on requirements for the product…anything regarding the product, its importing processes, the sells, life-after-manufacturing, share this important news with your vendor.

This insight assists your vendor in better service and quality on future orders.


Ok, some of these points were not too pithy…but they were important and will help.

Here’s to a wonderful 2016 and Year of the Monkey!

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