Sunday, February 13, 2011

Smaller Volumes a Must? A Few Key Pts….

Is the order large enough for the factory to
stop, check, care, implement, fix, etc..?

One point to add: trade companies will actively promote the ability to offer smaller quantity runs.  This is a tactic to rope in buyers, because they’ve heard the overseas customers beg for small quantities.  Their idea is “give the public what they want”.

Upon contacting this company, you’ll find out the extras that were tagged to that benevolent offer. 

“Oh, sorry, that “x” MOQ didn’t include this and doesn’t include that.” 

Or, they take the order and during production, there will be problems in achieving goals such as the confirmed specs or the delivery time.  Since it is a low-volume purchase, the trade company has no control over their factory.

But, if a smaller-volume is a must, your hands are tied, you have no local solution or you’re drunk from the idea of the cost savings that could happen, if the order does indeed come off without a hitch…here are a few tips.

Price:  Don’t negotiate the price.  If the order is equal to USD2000, you can do the math and see the factory isn’t making a killing.  Negotiating the price on a low volume shows you are not concerned about the production-partner and also screams “cheap customer”.

Payment:  From my China experience, I’ve seen a factory give a world of favor to a small client if they do something as simple as….drum roll please….. pay on time!  Pay on time and even pay early.  Don’t expect the factory to go out of their way, taking this order and then have them beg you for a payment you should have already made. 

Customization/Margin of Difference:  Be flexible on what’s acceptable.  Give your brand a margin of difference on certain specs; colors, material, things like that.  Tell your buyer that you can do the order offshore, but they cannot be as strict as they normally are. 

Work w/Trade Company that Typically Deals in Needed Line:  Find a trade company that always deals in this kind of product or this area.  They’ve got established purchasing channels with their factories and the factory will take their smaller-volume, faster than a stranger’s smaller volume.  Most likely if you are dealing in promos/branded merchandise from overseas, you are already working with trade companies, not factory direct. 

Order large enough for the factory to desire to do it right, or just "get it in, get it out" mentality?
Attitude:  Don’t act like you’re the factory’s best customer and that you’re USD3,000.00 order allows them to retire early. They are doing you the favor; be gracious and professional. 
A last piece of advice / warning.  Stay on top of the order.  To the factory, less dollar value order equals less importance. You may have all your points confirmed and you think all is going smooth, but then the factory will do something like:

-Rush the glue-drying process.  Pieces falling apart inside the export container while the goods are en route to the destination… 

-Rush the print: not controlling the process and you’ve got 100% crooked logos

-Packing:  perhaps will use packing cartons not fit for your order.  These boxes are not tailored for export, will fall apart during the transportation and if delivered directly to your client, what kind of image is that going to convey?

I stand by Part I of this blog: stay away from the smaller-volume orders, but if you must push it through, stay alert, stay on guard and assuming anything can be your downfall. 

Let me know your experiences, suggestions or critiques.  Good or bad experiences with doing small volumes offshore?

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