Are you thinking about moving your manufacturing to China or outsourcing manufacturing to the country? If you are, there are a number of things you need to know about manufacturing in China before you start. This way, there won’t be any surprises once you get things up and running there. This applies to whether you’re setting up your own Chinese manufacturing company or if you’re outsourcing.
1. There Is a Language Barrier
While many people involved in manufacturing in China do speak English, it is important to realize that this isn’t always going to be the case. Often, you’ll be communicating through translators or through other third parties. Sometimes, these third parties or translators may not fully understand the technical terms you need to discuss, either. If possible, have your own translator or team member who speaks Chinese so that there are fewer miscommunications.
2. Understand the Importance of Relationships in Chinese Culture
Chinese culture places a great amount of importance on relationships. While many will provide you with everything you need if you contact them through a third party, they’re likely to treat you much better if you actually visit China and meet with them in person. Establishing a personal relationship with your contacts can make negotiating easier, plus it will give you a chance to see the actual manufacturing plant in person.
3. Remember to Account for Shipping Costs and Time
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face in outsourcing to China is shipping. You need to account for more than just the cost of shipping your product to you. You also have to remember that there are tariffs, customs inspections, and other costs involved. Then there’s the time it takes. While shipping via ocean freight is more affordable than air shipping, it does take time. Your items may also get held up in customs. Make certain that you’ve accounted for all of this in both your budget and your schedule.
4. Take Ownership of Solving Problems
Your Chinese manufacturing team is often simply following the instructions you give them. They’re not going to change anything in your plans, even if it creates an issue with the product. This is often not something malicious on their end. They’re simply contracted to create what you’ve indicated you want, and they assume everything you’ve given them is correct.
Sometimes, the manufacturers don’t even fully understand what it is they’re creating, so they’re not in a position to give an opinion on your design. Other times, what you’re having manufactured in China is a small part of a larger product, and the manufacturer doesn’t have any context for what they’re making.
This means that solving any issues is entirely your responsibility. If something seems wrong, you’re going to have to do all of the testing and redesign work yourself. Be ready for that.
5. Don’t Be Discouraged
While some may be discouraged or apprehensive about outsourcing manufacturing to China after reading this list, don’t be. Many of these issues are not as bad as they seem, especially if you develop a good relationship with your Chinese partners.
Do you still have got questions about Manufacturing in China? Click here to download the Beginner’s Guide to Outsource Manufacturing!