Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nobody is Willing to Quote?

Factories include real people, doing a real job.
You send an inquiry, you're connected to every worker in there.
Quoting, purchasing and importing from overseas can be tricky business.   There are many factors involved in closing an order and making that sale.  Some of the contributing factors of success or failure can be on the production-side but just as many can be on the purchasing-side.  In this day and age of globalization and offshore production, it’s imperative that any importer maintains solid contacts with his overseas suppliers and potential suppliers. 
 It’s quite foolish to burn bridges and as the saying goes when it comes to business contacts;  “you never know when you’ll need them”. 

Here’s a few basic, ways you can irritate a supplier or whole factory in China 

Not having placed an order and you request them to pay for sampling fees, package fees and setup costs.

This screams “smalltime customer”.  It shows you’re not willing to invest in the setup and initial actions of your business.  If you don’t have that much confidence in the possible order, why should the factory?

You may think that the factory should also invest initially; they are; they’re using time, energy and resources in quoting and producing the sample w/out guarantee of order.

Telling your factory everything is “asap” and then after the factory puts in much time calculating costs, quoting and helping get all info over to the client’s side; there’s no response from the customer.

It’s understandable that all potential orders and RFQ’s don’t come to fruition.  But just because the factory is on the other side of the globe, doesn’t mean they’re not working hard and don’t deserve some kind of acknowledgement on the project in which they invested. 

If your customer keeps coming to you w/large inquiries, you put time in quoting and then don’t ever receive any kind of acknowledgement on the job; “it’s a go, it’s a dud, price too high, budget too tight, timing not right, house burned down, etc…”  Are you going to keep prioritizing their requests as important? 

The overseas’ importer’s attitude comes off as if the factories are expendable, a “dime-a-dozen” and they’re not owed proper communication.  This kind of attitude may save time in the short term, but in the long run, you’ll exhaust contacts that are willing to help you and look in to your project.  Eventually, nobody will quote you. 

This is a topic I’ll expound on in the coming weeks;  wanted to lay out two basic actions, that can go along way with your supplier.  Being willing to cover small costs from the beginning and communicating on the status of a job, will convey a sense of professionalism to your supplier and motivate them to continue handling your business even if an order hasn’t come to light.  The main thing a Chinese factory cares about (not a quickie order, contrary to the opinion of many) is knowledge that you’re a serious and potentially a long-term customer.

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