When importing from China, the worst thing is assumption. Go direct and ask your Chinese supplier questions, point out reminders and double confirm details. What obvious in one culture or working environment is insignificant in another at all. Going direct to your Chinese suppliers would save you more troubles rather than sitting in your office and assume everything would go in your way. The following are some reminders that might help before going down into negotiation.
1. Is the quoted price covering all aspects of your requirement?
You may want to custom made your logo into a fancy print, multi-color pattern that a normal print process is unable to achieve. Additional process is needed to ensure the logo would not scratch off. Does the manufacturer take it into consideration when giving the quotation?
Usually when a Chinese factory give a quotation, they quote the lowest cost, lowest-grade material, how to make the most money at the least expense, etc…
Maybe multi-color printing logo is part of your branding scheme. You have to make sure whether the supplier has taken it into account or not, probably when you go back to your own country and are ready to move on that price, they would tell you, “oh, we only took one color into consideration.”
In the suppliers’ mind, quoting is only the initial of doing business that requires further discussions after accepting orders. They offer low-priced quotation so as to get the deals.
In the customers’ mind, they think quoting covers every aspect of their requirement and is almost accurate.
Give your Chinese supplier a list of expectations and confirm with them whether the quotation can achieve your expectations or not.
2. How does the sample different from mass production?
A common case in Chinese manufacturing is: you placed the order and received the sample, confirmed the sample, you got the order but something was different. It is not that worse quality, but there can be a difference anyway, a difference that you didn’t expect, a difference that the end-users might not be pleased with or accept.
Before confirming the pre-production sample, find out how the sample differs from mass production.
Sometimes the Chinese manufacturers use different materials for sample and mass production, or they are made by different machines or handmade.
It is common there are some variations between sample and mass production, but it is better to confirm with your supplier beforehand about the differences as it would give you chance to know whether the differences are acceptable or not.
It takes long time for communication. Make sure the factory workers get proper instruction.
Never assume that mass production would be the same as the sample. Or you can let the manufacturers know what processes of the sample must be in the mass production.
3. When does the delivery time start and end?
You have confirmed with Chinese suppliers on 15 days delivery time, but the 20 days is from when to when?
The Chinese supplier said million times the manufacturing takes about 20 days, but when does the 20 days start and end? From the time you place the order? The time you confirm preproduction sample? Or the time they receive the payment? If you don’t hit the port of those ambiguous words, you can waste a whole chunk of time.