We asked one of our clients to give us their impressions during a China factory visit during a buying mission recently. Read below to get an idea of how they felt during this trip. This is one of a series of blogs that we will title: Buyer Diary.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The pre-production stage is probably the most important stage out of the entire purchasing process, especially before the China factory visit. There are many steps to ensure smooth production and it starts with good planning! These are usually preparation done by firms which purchase the product straight from the factory. Otherwise, I suggest hiring a promotional products firm to take care of all these details. After reading this diary entry, we will come to consensus that it is worthwhile to hire one. Trust me. Why waste so much time and effort when the money you save by skipping an intermediary is not worth it?

First of all, it’s brain storming.

What makes a good promotional product for your firm?

Yes, you know what’s best for your firm. But, do you know what’s available in the market? Simply consult a professional and there you have a suitable promotional product, instead of having to spend an entire day researching.

According to ODM, a perfect promotional gift has the following factors –

  • Raises brand awareness
  • Builds customer loyalty
  • Increases sales
  • Improves brand image
  • Aids in brand recognition
  • Increases brand recall
  • Increases brand value or brand equity
  • Improves brand personality and identity

Or maybe, the question to ask is – How to choose a promotional product?

The expression of the ideal promotional product

Now, after brainstorming for a promotional product, how should it be expressed? Take ODM’s Tea Tool for example, you can easily express your promotional product in an artwork. An artwork is an illustration to communicate the visual aspect of your product.

Tea Tool

Tea Tool


Tea Tool Artwork

Tea Tool Artwork

With an artwork, you can start sourcing for a factory that is able to manufacture your desired product.

Communicating with factories

Factory sourcing itself is a tiring process. It is important that you source for at least three factories for a quotation, as it is common for factories to provide an inaccurate quotation and in turn generate more problems throughout the entire project. Embarking on one China factory visit is definitely enough; there is no need for more trips to solve these unnecessary problems.

What information is required to acquire a quotation?

  • Product name
  • Quantity
  • Logo Details
  • Color of product
  • Size of product
  • Material of product
  • Shipping Details
  • Attached Reference

Such attached reference could be a photo of the product or even a photo of your proposed logo.

It is important to provide as much details as possible to acquire an accurate quotation. Take for example, the number of colors in your logo makes a difference. The more colors there are, the more expensive the item would be. This is because the factory will have to use a new ink pad just to cater to a new color.

Also, sufficient research has to be done on the shipping incoterms. Make sure you know if shipping is included in your quotation given by the factories!

What information is included in the quotation given by factories?

  • Product Details
  • Product Cost
  • Shipping Cost
  • Packing Details
  • Photos of similar products
  • Production Time
  • Sampling Time (the time taken to manufacture a sample)
  • Set up Cost  (the cost to prepare for the order, also the sampling cost and moulding cost)

An example of a quotation given by the factory would be –

Tea Tool Quotation

Tea Tool Quotation

Also, there would be additional details for you to take note of –

Tea Tool Additional Details

Tea Tool Additional Details

After attaining quotations from different factories, of course you do a comparison to clinch a profitable deal! Do take note if one quotation differs a lot from the rest. Chances are, the factory quoted wrongly. Either that or you’ve found a good deal! Make sure you find out more information before deciding to order from any factory!

Of course, it’s China! You can try to haggle for a bit, however factories are generally fair and just on their quotations. Usually for a larger quantity, it’s cheaper per piece due to economies of scale.

The factory

This factory seems good, how can you tell if they can manufacture quality products? How about planning for a China factory visit? It’s such a waste of resources to travel across the globe just to do a quality check.

This is where sampling comes in. Sampling is just like trying on an Armani Exchange shirt before deciding whether to purchase it.  It simply means to request for a sample that is similar or is the exact replica of your suggested promotional product. Based on the sample, you can judge whether the factory is able to meet your requirements for the product. Of course, sampling cost and time may incur, depending on the product.

Factory Audit
Even if the factory can produce quality goods, how can I trust them on production time and other matters? This step is especially important for large orders. It is critical for a factory audit to be arranged before placing an order. A factory audit is basically to have a full assessment of the factory according to ISO standards. Here is an example of a factory audit report.

Now the question to ask is – Must I embark on a China factory visit to do the factory audit myself? Well, like I’ve explained, hire externals and solve your problems!

It is absolutely critical to work with a factory that is capable to handle production as required by your firm! Perhaps, this guide to China factory selection answers all of your queries!

The final step

Now, here comes your opportunity for a China factory visit! Once you have chosen a suitable factory to manufacture your product, prepare a set of legitimate contract. Remember all the Don’ts when negotiating with factories! One of the Don’ts is – Do not engage in business without signing a formal contract.

Leisure China factory visit

As the word ‘leisure’ suggests – In order to enjoy your china factory visit, it’s best to let professionals deal with factories. It’s not worth to go through all the hassle of handling a factory just to save a thousand or two dollars.  Of course, there is still the production and post-production stages to deal with. Further on in the buyer diary, I will explain the problems faced during and after production.

This is Patrick, a German intern from Intern China, also one of ODM’s staff at a China factory visit –

China Factory Visit

China Factory Visit

Throughout the China factory visit, Patrick managed the factory and handled important matters, which was crucial for my firm’s production.