Production control is another step which is often overlooked. Once you have placed your order and transferred initial payment it can be too easy to sit back and wait for the Chinese factory to contact you when production has been completed.

Don’t do this! Factories will always be late; they will lose your order, forget important details, overlook information in your specifications or forget about you altogether. It is essential that you continually follow up on orders to ensure they are on track.

Communication in China:

Communication with the factory is a topic for another article, however, you must always keep in mind that English is a second language for your manufacturer, they often can read and write English better than they can speak, and can speak better than they can listen and understand.

Chinese learn by mimicking that is they learn a word or phrase by repeating it over and over again.

This would be fine if your teacher had ever spoken to a native English speaker before! Keep your communication simple, use email or messenger software whenever possible and follow up with a call to ensure it is received or to imply the importance of what was said.

Confirm the contents of communication has been understood, Chinese will often change the subject or ignore topics they do not understand – you must repeat or find a way to make yourself understood whilst remaining calm and understanding.

The sales staff at factories are often hired because they can speak English but that doesn’t mean they understand complex legal or production terms.

Almost always, the staff is very young and with little experience as the factory will keep labor costs down.

Communication often breaks down because of language difficulties particularly when buyers do not understand the limitations of the people they are talking to.
Example, a client of Source from China previously handled all his own sourcing and when he began sourcing from China he found a number of China manufacturers gave limited replies or stopped communicating at all.

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Other tips to control production in China include:

• Request photographs or product samples
• Request a production schedule and follow up on process dates to ensure they are on track