Are you considering manufacturing your product in China? Have you heard “horror stories?”

Relax. Like any relationship, working with a Chinese manufacturer is all about communicating clearly and effectively to get your message across.

I manufactured my product in China for 8 years. Would you like to learn 3 of my best practices?

Read on for details.
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3 Best Practices for Chinese Manufacturing

Best Practice #1 – Keep it simple!

Remember, you are working with people for whom English is a second language. Most of your communication with the manufacturer will be via email. Based upon my experience, it is likely that you will be working with one primary contact who will relay all your information to others. 

The KISS principle – Keep it Super Simple will serve you very well. In the beginning, I was often frustrated as it seemed that my contact, Mandy, was just following part of what I had emailed to her. Then, I realized, I was trying to convey too much information in a single email. You absolutely must limit each email to a single key subject if you want the information to be fully understood and acted upon. 

So, instead of sending a single email with information on product dimensions, MOQ (minimum order quantities), and delivery deadline required – send 3 separate emails:

  1. Product Dimensions
  2. MOQ
  3. Delivery Deadline

Make sure that you have a short subject line for each email that matches the content of the email concisely and exactly.

I also suggest you put the date in the email subject line whenever possible so you can know later when the communication track began. For 3 above  you would not want to put a date in the subject unless it is the deadline you require. 

Once I started following this best practice, I found that Mandy was clearly grasping the information and was relaying it effectively to others. Keep it simple!

Best Practice #2 – PowerPoint is your friend!

Early on, I learned to use diagrams – with dimensions and pictures – whenever possible, rather than text describing the same thing. Diagrams and dimensions cross language barriers very effectively. 

So, using PowerPoint slide presentations was probably my strongest communication ally.

I found it especially helpful when correcting manufacturing mistakes (very helpful during early prototype development). Just take a picture of what they provided (that has errors to be corrected), then take a picture or provide a diagram of the way it should look (with dimensions usually). To keep the file size from getting too large to transmit, use free software like www.resize-photos.com and set it to like 70%. This will convert a 3 MB PDF to a 30 kB PDF that has good resolution. Works like a charm. 

Also, use cm instead of inches in your diagrams. Remember 1 inch = 2.54 cm exactly. The Chinese typically use the metric system.

Best Practice #3 – Be aware of Chinese New Year and other holidays

I soon learned that my turnaround time from start of order to delivery in my city was very close to 3 months. It would often be 6 weeks to 2 months for the order to be put in motion and completed, then all of the shipping transit time required about another 1 month. 

But, when I first placed an order in early December, I assumed I could obtain delivery by end of February. It was a rude awakening to discover that my delivery would not be until end of March! Why?

Every year, the Chinese New Year holiday is celebrated in late January or in February.

During this key national holiday, all of the workers return home (most are from rural areas) to visit family and friends. The factory effectively shuts down for 10 days to 2 weeks during this time. Just Google Chinese New Year – and make sure to either order well before Chinese New Year (like early October) or after the Chinese New Year. Otherwise, you must expect a extended time for delivery of your order. You'll thank me later!

This planning practice will save you a lot of grief!

太好了! – Very Good!

Stay tuned!

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Want to learn more about how to manufacture in China?

Click on the blue button below now to grab your FREE copy of –How to Manufacture in China – cheat sheet now.

You'll learn some good tips and tricks and resources.

Want to attend a FREE live, interactive webinar all about licensing? Learn why licensing is actually more lucrative than venturing your product.

Click on the orange button below to attend the next FREE – License Your Invention for Royalties – webinar.