Advice about Managing China Manufacturers

After hard work for some while, you have verified a few manufacturers when sourcing from China. One of them will be your first choice, and hopefully you will have a couple of “backups”. What is the best way to handle them? And what about the unfortunate situation where your “first choice” disappoints you?

1. Cultivate your “second choice”

With a bit of luck, you have found and verified a supplier that seems quite promising. If you want to reduce your risks of long delays, I strongly encourage you to keep communication open with a few more suppliers.

I even believe you should spend the time and the money to verify at least one more supplier, and to start working on pre-production samples with that supplier, even though they are not your first choice.

2. Those “never again” suppliers

Some suppliers will prove to be untrustworthy. The worst scenario, which happens every day, is that they ship bad products to you and that you only notice this upon delivery in your warehouse – or, even worse, in your customer’s warehouse!

At that point, there is basically nothing you can do. Chances are, you have already paid the supplier in full, and taking action against the supplier is usually a dead end.

3. Protect yourself from bad surprises

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, isn’t it?

Here are two simple pieces of advice.

First, make sure you check quality before shipment. Quality assurance agencies can help you with this.

Second, if you keep re-ordering the same products, you will need a safety stock, to avoid depending too much on your current supplier. How much exactly? It depends on the time it would take you to launch production in another factory.