In my blogs and video tutorials (here and here) I explain that the placement of the Purchase Order is the beginning, not the end, of the sourcing project. Because many factories, even large professional manufacturers in China, lack basis project management skills, in many cases the buy side ends up having to take point on fostering communications with the factory to ensure project goals for price, quality and lead time are achieved.
You may be surprised to learn that many factories simply don’t bother to update clients on project status, unless the clients ask. In China, no news is usually NOT good news. The last thing you want is to hear about a problem AFTER the ship date has been missed.
But there are tools and techniques to overcome the lack of project management at the factory side. Agents can get involved to represent the buy side on the ground in China. And if you are thinking about hiring an agent, you will do your company a great disservice if you don’t read this white paper called Selecting Service Providers to Support China Sourcing Projects which explains the tricks used by agents in China.
If you wish to roll up your sleeves and deal with the factory on your own rather than engage an agent, I would like to offer some tips:
Consider having a member of your home office join the Project Management Institute. www.PMI.org offers training materials and courses on professional project management. I have been a member for over 5 years and have encouraged my staff to get certified with PMI. It pays dividends for all involved.
While PMI is excellent at offering training on general project management, for an intro to the challenges of China Sourcing project management in particular, the following 9 videos are a great start. They are free and available in streaming video at the links below.
Video1: Finding suppliers in China
Video2: Evaluating suppliers in China
Video3: Negotiations with Chinese suppliers
Video4: Project management and quality control in China
Video5: Protecting your intellectual property in China
Video6: How to organize logistics when importing from China
Video7: Avoid scams when buying famous brands direct from China
Video8: How to return defective merchandise to China
Video9: Resolving a dispute: Demand letters and legal options with Chinese suppliers
These videos are based on content from my book “the essential reference guide to China sourcing”.
Hope these tips get you pointed in the right direction.
Wishing you successful China sourcing!