Tell-tale signs a buyer is inexperienced in dealing with China buying and manufacturing.They are evident signs in new buyers and at times found in buyers who have dealt with China for years.
Many buyers never look beyond the surface to figure out how something is actually done. But I digress….
Signs of Inexperience:
Really Stoked About Low Price:
A new buyer is excited about a very low price quote, as if they found the secret to China buying, hidden deep within the jungle and are light years ahead of the competition. They need to realize a low price in China buying, to use an old cliche, “gives you more than you bargained for”
“The only difference in China is the location and the language; but they’re just like us”:
Sure, there are similarities and equal characteristics of people all over the globe. But if you don’t recognize the fundamental differences, then it will reflect in the quality of your goods and success in dealing with China. Not recognizing cultural differences can have a major impact on manufacturing results.
Inexperienced buyers will expect a Chinese vendor to communicate with them on the same level as their local supplier communicates.
You’re not ordering goods from Joe’s Hardware down the street. Buyers use quickie emails, corporate speak and slang…and then wonder with grand bewilderment why something is not immediately understood.
Believes “the factory will know what to do and can be trusted”.
It’s not a “trusted” as far as you can’t trust them to steal your money (although always be vigilant on all aspects). It’s more of a trusted to do the right thing in a manufacturing-sense.
Remember, just because someone works at a cap factory in China, doesn’t mean they know anything about baseball. They won’t know the necessities and production techniques in product manufacturing for a minor league team or the USA baseball culture. To give an example, I recently saw an order where the factory used black stitching for the baseball threads and thought that aspect of the embroidery was open to interpretation.
My friend Renaud Anjoran from the Quality Inspection Tips Blog said it best in the comment section of a great post, “How your inspectors can fail to notice quality problems“:
The most important is to switch your mindset from “the manufacturer knows best and can be trusted” to “the manufacturer will propose something to me and it will be up to me to validate it and use it as the standard to comply with”.
Quality and Safety Assumptions:
The inexperienced importer assumes the factory knows and cares about your home country’s quality and safety requirements. Don’t assume the factory is audited and don’t assume the factory knows about safety standards.
Assumes because “they told the factory to do, then the factory will do”:
This point is closely related to the cultural point. “I’m the buyer, I told them to pack it this way…how could they not have listened?!”
You’re a long way from home….
The new buyer calls everyone on Alibaba a “factory”:
Every Chinese company is a “factory” to the inexperienced. If they are Chinese, they are a factory, period. I’ve been turned before because I’m not factory. Inexperienced importers would rather lose a lot of money dealing with a factory than to have a solid production partner successfully facilitating and controlling their merchandise.
Do any of these describe you or your China buying methods? If so, it may be time to take it to the next level of thought.