We asked one of our clients to give us their impressions of China following a buying mission recently at a China Factory visit. Read below to get an idea of what they felt during this trip. This is one of a series of blogs that we will title: Buyer Diary.
As production is coming to an end, it is crucial to take note of the matters as mentioned below. This phase is as important as pre-production planning.
What should I take note of when China Factory Production is coming to an end?
Defective Goods/ Leftover Goods
Throughout production, there would be defective goods that are rejected through the various quality control (QC) steps due to different reasons. These reasons could be unclear printing and dirty goods etc. These defective goods are then left to the very last to proceed for correction.
Therefore, do expect a number of defective goods when the production is coming to an end. Some of these goods can be corrected, and some may not. For dirty goods, the china factory can clean them. However, for others such as disfigured goods, correction is unlikely. The only solution is to manufacture these goods all over again.
The toughest part of production is the correction of goods. Some factories view these defective goods as acceptable with minor mistakes. In their view point, it is a waste of labor, time and money to correct these goods or manufacture new ones. At these times, factories may play the situation to their advantage by slipping some of the defective goods into the shipment lot. Bear this in mind and play close attention, especially dealing with problematic factories.
The best solution to ensure that factories only package quality goods is to destroy all defective ones which cannot be corrected.
Also, due to the high amount of defective goods, do expect a production lag as the china factory proceeds to correct them. Some defective goods may have incorrect printing, others would have missing prints so on and so forth. It takes effort to identify and correct them individually.
Taking into consideration the labor and time required to correct these goods, the production lag is expected to be approximately half the productivity of usual production rate. As explained, this is also the reason as to why factories are unwilling to correct and manufacture more goods in replacements of defective ones.
Also, do take note that not all factory workers will be operating at full capacity. Some of them may be idle for some time until mass production reverts. Factories at this time may retrench some of the employees that are not needed, especially temporary staff. Do ensure that the china factory has sufficient employees at a later point of time if you are looking at replacement of goods.
For defective goods that cannot be corrected, replace them. However, replacement is not as easy as it seems, especially for goods that require accessories to be packaged together.
It is important to confirm how many additional goods are required to be manufactured. With this preparation, the china factory can order materials earlier, and also instruct outsourced factories for the accessories to produce more as well.
Take note that factories might already have another production schedule lined up and they may not agree to produce more goods. Therefore, always include in the contract stating for the china factory to replace all defective goods either by re-producing them or correction within a stipulated deadline.
As explained in previous entries, quality control is one of the most important procedures throughout a china factory production. Before shipment, do arrange for a quality control session. It is best to employ an external professional quality control firm than to rely fully on the factory.
This quality control should be done after production. It could be also scheduled as production is coming to an end, in case you are expecting a rushed shipment. Usually for large quantity productions, quality control is done in batches throughout the production.
Another potential problem as production is coming to an end would be manpower issues. China factory workers may be looking at leaving the factory at this point of time.
Reasons for leaving includes –
- No productivity during work as there is production lag
- Low pay
- Boring scope of duty
- Looking towards other job options
- Festive seasons
There are many more reasons. However, it is important to plan the manpower well. Some questions to ask in order to cope with the manpower change is –
- Which employees are needed for the correction/ replacements for goods?
- How will the change in manpower affect my cost and productivity?
- How should I ensure that the manpower supply can reach the demand for the future?
- What are the incentives and bonus that can encourage workers to stay?
- Will the manpower change affect the factory’s working culture?
- Will there be unexpected politics during such changes?
Do the necessary planning required and prepare the china factory worker’s salary.
Especially when you are expecting a rushed shipment, it is important to get all the shipping administration settled before production is completed. By completing it early, there is sufficient time in case changes are required. Shipment of certain products in some countries requires many government processes. An example is toys to be shipped out of China. These toys require the inspection which can take up to 3 months of time. Therefore, make sure you are fully prepared for the shipment of goods as the production is coming to an end.
Especially when dealing with problematic factories, now is the time to proceed on necessary negotiations. These negotiations could be to replace or correct defective goods so on and so forth. Or maybe you are looking at having a re-order. Such negotiations/ discussions should always be brought up as the production is coming to an end and not later.
Looking towards goods replacements, factories may ask you to pay more as these replacements were not taken into the pricing that they have quoted. Be prepared either to fork out more money, or make sure you have sufficient reasoning. The best solution is to have it down black and white on the contract.
Factories tend to take you more seriously when you are currently having an order with them, or have done so in the past. Also, as mentioned above, factories may already have scheduled production and may not have the time to attend to your requests during later timings.
Always Manufacture Extra
Always have a Plan B. Manufacture extra just in case something goes wrong! Take for example you are required to give out 3,000 sets of promotional products to your customers. Therefore, when ordering from the factory, take orders for 3,200 sets. This way, your company is able to replace defective ones immediately on the spot instead of waiting for it to be shipped from China. Or you never know, business may be so good that you require 3,200 sets to give out to customers!
Always Manufacture Early
Throughout a production, there could be many changes. Therefore, always manufacture early to cope with these unexpected circumstances.