Today I received an email from a Chinese salesperson named Peter Lou at a metal fabrication factory introducing his firm in hopes I would consider placing an order. I get a lot of emails like that, but what made this one interesting is that he had a unique sales pitch. Excerpts are posted below. He is refreshingly honest in stating the most factories in China lack proper project management. But rather than saying his company is different, he suggests some tips on how to manage his factory. Like the saying goes, “if you can’t fix it, feature it”. Congratulations to Peter for finding a way to use his lack of project management as a selling point.
While his sales tactics don’t make a lot of sense, his tips for how to manage a Chinese supply chain are accurate.
So, here you have it, tips from a Chinese factory on how to manage a project with a factory that has no project management.
You may be asking “how to manage your orders with a Chinese factory?”
Fundamentally, there are two solutions to this question.
Solution One is to be proactive. Keep all on track.
Solution Two is to access your supplier base again and
get a back-up. Pick your supplier carefully …. Make sure you
measure twice, cut once.
For those who wish to go with Solution One,
here are the steps and tips.
STEP 1: Set up delivery milestones in the beginning
Know where your product is being produced and level of subcontracting.
Require Frequent, Consistent On-going Production Reporting
Delay Is Common, Be Proactive And Find/Resolve Issues Early, Time Is
Of The Essence
Focus More Effort On First Time Production of New Products
Build Extra Time Into The Schedule Until Reliability Is Established
STEP 2: Develop a production schedule with your supplier
Before the order is placed, make sure to develop a production schedule
with your suppliers first.
Many Chinese factories may or may not have good planning skills. Some
factories do not plan at all.
Do not tend to think that there is a smooth order process and all is on
schedule once there is a contract agreed upon.
They may give you a “lead-time” out of their experience, without even
verifying if they can source the material within the timeframe.
You need to help them understand that as a customer you care about
a clear plan which gives everybody a full picture of what should happen
at what time to ensure the timely delivery of the order.
The production schedule gives the parties involved a tool to deal with
changes along the way.
Let’s thank Peter for the tips. I think he is spot on with his points, even if his sales message won’t convince too many professional buyers!
Wishing you successful China sourcing!
About the author: Mike Bellamy
Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center (www.ChinaSourcingInfo.org). Author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions.