Chinese Home Storage Supplier – Five Things to Consider
Chinese sourcing can be great
Ever come out of a movie theater disappointed, wondering why two hours of your life were wasted? People are often drawn to well-crafted trailers, only to find the film doesn’t live up to the expectations it generated.
Many buyers who source from China sometimes face similar disappointments. They found out that the factory had promised them the moon, but it had not been delivered. In this case, however, the risk isn’t just a few dollars — your business, your money, and your reputation are all at risk.
Here are five things you can check out to make sure your order doesn’t disappoint in terms of quality, there are no surprises in the production process, and that your order arrives at your agreed delivery time.
1. Beware of “Golden Samples”
Gold samples are the terrific ones the factory could send you, look great, and probably do. It is intended to be a benchmark against which other products are measured to ensure quality control. However, the rest of your order may not match the gold sample. This could be because it might not be made the same way, or use the same materials, or if you’re really unlucky, not even by the same factory.
Of course, one way to protect yourself from costly disappointment is to conduct a thorough background check on your Chinese Home Storage Suppliers to ensure they have the technical expertise and production capacity to deliver what they say they do.
Second, put your quality control specifications in writing clearly and in detail, and make sure the contract states that quality will also be measured against those specifications, not just for gold samples.
Third, when drafting a factory agreement, you can negotiate with your Chinese Home Storage Supplier to insert clauses in it that tie your payment to certain quality control checkpoints that are met. This will keep Chinese Home Storage Suppliers on their toes and ensure your final order is exactly to your specifications.
2. Pay Attention to The Packaging
Usually, buyers receive a sample of the package that looks great, but you have to consider how it will perform in wet and harsh conditions during 30+ days of shipping, such as product being pressed from above, movement within the package, etc.
Depending on the size and weight of your product and how urgent you need it, you can also consider air shipping, which is theoretically a better environment and takes less time. However, when buyers sometimes opt for this option, it’s not uncommon for factories or freight forwarders to leave pallets out, so forklifts don’t carry your package with the help of pallets, but are thrown around by cargo handlers. This handling can also damage your packaging and ultimately your product. This can be devastating, especially in the case of retail products such as high-end cosmetics.
3. Be Realistic About Delivery Times
In manufacturing, lead time is the period of time between when an order is placed and when it is shipped to a customer. Delivery times are often mentioned in contracts, but they may not always reflect reality.
When determining lead times, keep in mind that factors such as factory location and product specifications can affect lead times. For example, if your product requires the manufacture of an injection mold, the shipping time may be longer because the mold must be designed, which is usually done by subcontractors. The more complex the mold, the longer the lead time.
If you can’t visit and push the factory on a regular basis, the lead time can slowly regress, especially if there are any issues with production. Therefore, it is very useful to hire a global sourcing agent to do this for you.
4. Be Aware That Prices May Change Suddenly
It’s not uncommon to sign a contract with a factory, agree on a price and lead time, and then be told a price increase a few days after production. This infuriating phenomenon can happen for many reasons, but I would say one main reason is that the Chinese Home Storage Supplier doesn’t fully understand your drawing specs, they don’t ask you because you don’t specifically point out anything (because you don’t think they have any question).
An example is a metal shaft with a clear, full-size PDF drawing that includes an English note on heat treatment that reads: “HEAT TREAT TO HARDNESS XXXXX HRC”. For some smaller Chinese Home Storage Suppliers, this description may be unread, and when you complain about it, the price goes up. Then you have a very similar dialogue:
Chinese Home Storage Supplier: “Oh, you didn’t tell me you wanted it to be heat treated!”
You: “I don’t have to tell you because it’s written on the drawing paper!”
Chinese Home Storage Supplier: “Oh, well, now I have to raise the price, including heat treatment.”
You: “You can’t change the price right now, and if you do, then I don’t want the parts.”
Vendor: “Well, in that case, you have nothing, and I’ve used the deposit-to-buy tool, so you can’t get it back”.
That’s why it’s best not to leave any room for assumptions when dealing with Chinese manufacturers. Say everything clearly, and even repeat it if necessary.
If this happens despite all the precautions you take, it helps if you realize that doing business in Asia may be different than what you are used to. Having said that, in most cases, the Chinese Home Storage Supplier will be reasonable as long as the Chinese Home Storage Supplier is not losing too much cash and believes there will be future orders or sees proof.
This brings me to my last point, which is somewhat related to the case study above.
5. Don’t Underestimate the Cultural Differences Between East and West
As mentioned elsewhere in this article, there are differences between East and West in terms of language, culture and expectations, and buyers must be aware of this. For example, in many countries in Asia, if a Chinese Home Storage Supplier is unsure about some aspect of your order, they tend to make assumptions instead of asking questions because they are worried that asking will make them look bad.
That’s why when screening Chinese Home Storage Suppliers, you can rank people who ask you questions during the communication process higher, as it shows that they are interested in the details and don’t mind asking them.
Another cultural aspect specific to Asia is hiding bad news such as delays or production issues from buyers. Research shows that problems found later in the production process are always more costly than those found early. Therefore, encourage your Chinese Home Storage Suppliers to keep in regular contact with you and update you regularly on the production process – good news and especially bad news.