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Avoid Manufacturing Headaches in China

By Jesus David Cano Romano
April 25, 2016
manufacturing in China

Taking the step to manufacture in China is a great opportunity, but with the chances there also come many possible headaches. It can be a very challenging to deal with difficulties arising while manufacturing. We have 6 of the most common mistakes listed for you to help you prevent making those yourself.


  • Set price as top priority


Of course price is an important factor and you can be sure that you’ll get a good price in China. But don’t make it the only thing you care about. You should rather put emphasis on finding the right factory for your product. In the end you want the factory to cooperate with you, to get the ideal product. Whenever there are issues arising with the production, you want to know the factory being on your side and not working against you. To make sure you find a reliable supplier you should also ask for references, do research and maybe visit the factory yourself.
As a rule of thumb you can say: if the price seems too good to be true, assume it is.


  • Not protecting your intellectual property


China is great at copying things and if you don’t want this to happen to you, you should rather protect yourself. An effective way of doing so, is splitting the production process in as many parts as possible and look for different suppliers for each part. By handing over your entire product details to only one supplier you make yourself an easy target. Splitting the process also has the advantage of ensuring the quality of each part by using experts in the particular field and reducing the price through direct sourcing.


  • Underestimating cultural differences


Culture is a key point where it always comes to misunderstandings. A “yes” doesn’t necessarily mean yes. The Chinese cultural background can give you a very hard time communicating sometimes. You have to know this background to avoid talking at cross purposes. Another part of this is the “Guanxi“, the Chinese way of networking, which is about establishing relations beyond only doing business together.


  • Asking for too short lead times


Just because the factory tells you that they’re able to meet your timelines, that doesn’t mean that they actually can and will. Mostly they just don’t want to say no to your request. So either the products are delayed or the quality of your product suffers. So give the factory a reasonable deadline to avoid this from happening. Furthermore Chinese holidays tend to come out of nowhere for us Western people and basically have a complete lock down of production as a consequence. Include those holidays in your production schedule.


  • Giving the factory rough specifications


You know exactly how you want your product to look like- the factory doesn’t. It’s crucial to make sure that the supplier knows all the details about your product. In this case: don’t rely on common sense,  as obvious as it may seem for you, you never know if it is also obvious for the manufacturer. Quality standards are not the same in China as in the US, so make your expectations clear to avoid unwanted surprises. Obviously, the more details you tell in advance, the less optimization is needed afterwards.


  • Not asking for help


You wouldn’t be the first one trying to manufacture in China and failing horribly. China’s a tough market with gazillion ways of how things can go wrong. By trying to do it all by yourself, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. There are many things that you simply cannot know without any or only few experience. Furthermore overlooking a manufacturing process from thousands of miles away is not as effective as being on site.
China 2 West helps you on the way to your success by supporting you during your manufacturing process with services reaching from supply chain management to  product development, to quality control and more. With over 10 years of experience we’re an agency that you can trust and rely on.