By Leanne Li
Choose your visiting time wisely
We always try to arrange plant visits at two time slots: 8:30 – 11:00 and 14:00 – 16:00. Compared to normal office times in the West, Chinese plants have different working hours. They start and close earlier and have a longer lunch break. You can only see the production line in operation in one of these two time slots.
Things to look out for during the workshop tour
Every company has their own evaluation methods to rate suppliers. Here we just mention a few basic points that we have picked up from our experience in visiting Chinese plants.
1. Ask and verify the raw material sources of your suppliers to make sure that the products are qualified to meet your country standard.
2. Check the production process in detail. Make sure their examining and testing machines are actually functioning properly.
3. Check the warehouse. By doing this you will easily be able to figure out their production capability and product development.
4. Make sure their export packaging meets your requirements, especially if you are the first client from your country working with this supplier. The customs of different countries have varying rules regarding packaging. Do not assume the supplier knows the requirements of your country.
When you hand out business cards, please hand it out with both hands and try to pronounce your name slowly and clearly.
When in China, do as the Chinese do
Chinese people will always invite guests for lunch or dinner, especially if it is the first time you meet them. You may follow the head of the group and get seated beside him. Fewer suppliers these days will force you to drink with them, but if you do drink with them, it is definitely a sure way to establishing a good relationship.
Leanne Li, The China Sourcing Blog
This is the second part of “China Plant Tour Tips – Part 1: Before Coming Over To China”. Here you can find Part 1.