Sunday, December 19, 2010

Urgent Delivery Time Checklist

Delivery time is confirmed; but do they have sufficient
workers on production line to reach the target?
Consider what can go wrong...

When you’re importing from China, chances are you are going to be faced with an urgent delivery time.  Whether it’s the promo business and you’ve got a launch date or it’s the retail business and the box store requires a certain date to stock the shelves, timing can and will be a super-important issue.

 To successfully reach your target date, delivery the goods on time and keep your customer coming back for more, here is a brief checklist to always keep in front of your eyes. 

Have you made the deposit payment?  Cannot expect the factory to rock n’ roll on your order and hold your timing at the forefront of their thinking if cash hasn’t changed hands. 

Is the factory waiting on anything from your side?  I know this may be obvious but have experienced many cases where we contacted the factory to make sure they scheduled us for production and because of a communication mix-up, they were still waiting on final signoff.  Make sure the factory reciprocates confirmation when you give final signoff to begin production.

If anything is coming over from a 3rd party (material vendor, outsourced processed)…:  Is this 3rd party company aware of the needed in-hand date and are they on track.  Your contact factory may be working around the clock to meet the target date, but one uncaring or disinterested partner-factory can ruin the whole plan.  Know what’s coming in from the outside and contact them to control timing if necessary. 

When does the factory actually put “hand-to-plow” and start working on your order?  Know when your goods are actually scheduled to be on the production line.  When your factory tells you 30 days production, 20 of that can be waiting to get on line.  Know what day the major processes are supposed to start and stop. 

Have your factory contact send you photos of the goods starting production and best case is, if possible, they express mail samples off the production line.

Balance payment:  You knew this was coming, you knew this delivery time was urgent.  Have the factory keep you updated on communication and production line images (photos, etc…).  If all is looking good and you’re confident, pay early!  Unless you are concerned about quality and need to hold off, you cannot harp about timing being urgent but not being just as urgent in making your payments. 

Make sure you don't "miss-a-beat"
in scheduling logistics
Shipping:  Is your transportation agent ready?  Whether it is FOB, CIF, make sure you’ve got everything lined up and there is no down time.  Know when the closing date at the port is, know when the vessel sails and know when the goods have to be at the warehouse to sail on time.  I’ve seen multiple orders leave he factory on time, only to be caught by some inefficient shipping arrangement.

Sound like a lot of work?  It is… importing from China and doing it right, isn’t Mickey Mouse business, it’s serious.  Too many importers want to place an order and then assume their supplier will do everything right. 

Not going to happen. 

At the end of the day, it’s your delivery time that’s urgent and you need to partner up with your supplier in controlling the timing, not just barking orders and wishing and hoping they will do it right.  

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