If you are wanting to manufacture a product in China, here are five things you should know before you send the order:
1. Relationships are everything
The Chinese culture is heavily based on relationships. To have a successful experience working with any manufacturer in China, you will want to make sure your relationship with them is strong. Visiting the factory and building a personal relationship with them will help you understand the manufacturing process, negotiate on cost and protect your business and intellectual property.
2. The language barrier is real
Most factories in China do not have somebody that can really speak English. If you are communicating entirely in English with a Chinese factory, it is most likely through a third party such as a trading company, especially if the contact was made through an English-based sourcing site. Trading companies can be helpful to find factories, but they do not necessarily understand the manufacturing process, so if there are technical or engineering changes you are trying to make to the product, it can often lead to a lot of miscommunication and frustration. If possible, it’s always best to have somebody on your team that can communicate directly in Chinese to avoid these problems.
3. Problem-solving is your responsibility
One of the most commonly frustrating parts of international manufacturing is problem-solving, and it’s important to realize that the responsibility is on your shoulders to solve those problems. Due to many cultural aspects, it can be very difficult to rely on a Chinese factory for problem solutions. If you want problems solved quickly and effectively, it’s always best for you to provide the solution.
4. Quality assurance is more than inspection
Inspection is the most common quality-assurance method in China, but it is not an effective method to guarantee quality because every inspector will see things differently. If you are struggling to get the quality you need, it’s important to have an intimate understanding of your product and the manufacturing process so you can prevent problems rather than struggle to catch problems after they happen through inspection.
5. Shipping from China is expensive
When shipping products from China, there are many factors that add cost beyond just the shipping price. Lengthy ocean freight, tariffs, damaged products and customs inspections can all add additional costs and time that lead to lost sales and increase your risk.