Companies large and small are always on the hunt for the best manufacturers to produce their products at the lowest price and the best quality. While many companies manufacture goods worldwide, in locations including the United States, Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia, it is China that has matured into a production powerhouse over the last two decades. China represents a significant source of broad spectrum goods and until recently, a high growth bastion of economic infrastructure.
The fact remains, though, that it’s still a complicated process to find and develop the correct China manufacturer. Language, culture, customs, and the geographic barrier all introduce added complexity to the typical manufacturing operation. Five critical tips for manufacturing in China are as follows:
Price Points: Everything from product components to workforce strategy can be negotiated. You will often find that factory owners are happy to sit down and discuss a price point that is fair for both parties. However, before you begin negotiations, a word of caution: don’t push too hard for bargain basement prices. This tactic creates unnecessary stress and raises the risk of manufacturing shortcuts and raw material discrepancies. Salaries for skilled workers must be realistic, and business must be “win-win.” Suppliers that are paid a fair price for good production will also do their best to ensure repeat business and reliability.
Quality Control: Chinese manufacturing facilities can get very busy, and sometimes this means production mistakes can find their way into a shipment. Make sure to employ good quality control systems with reliable and independent inspection staff, and make sure to visit the manufacturing operation to verify process control. Whether it’s you or your personal representation on the ground visiting the factory, the in-person touch helps to build lasting relationships.
Sell Your Vision: Don’t be afraid to let your enthusiasm shine through when you’re speaking with potential manufacturers. At the same time, speak in realistic terms and have achievable goals. Chinese factories have heard every pipe dream imaginable and can often separate fact from fiction on their own. A detailed proposal with down to earth expectations shows that you are a serious partner, and Chinese manufactures will likely be more eager to partner with you.
Location: Locating manufacturing hubs along the Chinese coastline is convenient for shipping goods overseas. It also happens to be where China’s largest resource, its workforce, is concentrated. As such, this is where the more experienced and expensive factories are usually located, while the occasional gem can be found more inland. The Chinese government has recently pushed opening up the West in cities like Wuhan, which is attractive to some skilled workers thanks to cheaper living costs. While potentially advantageous with regard to manufacturing wages, inland China factories can also translate into higher costs related to the relative lack of skilled workers, proximity to component part suppliers, and proximity to subcontractors.
Focus On Trust: Even though Western culture and Chinese culture are very different, China remains a business center with many capitalist features. For this reason, it is important to find a manufacturing partner who shares your values and your vision.