Factory Visits in China
Sourcing from China: "Just go there" - Factory Visits in China
Go East: Factory Visits in China.
This blog explains what can be learned from making factory visits in China. It's not advisable, it's essential.
When I came to China 12 years ago I made a fair few factory visits and tended to meet the same comments or questions from interested parties such as friends, clients, suppliers or just the man on the street. With sympathy for the travelling Sorcerer and given I'd become a weekly fixture on China's iron horses, planes and varying quality of automobile I'd most often get the "maybe you don't really need to go to the factory" statement. Well, No.1 that would have put me on the dole but No. 2 I never felt compelled to agree with the statement, however sympathetic or even appealing it may have been to side with at certain times of the year.
My response has never really changed to this day and generally goes something like "I know if I get up and go there we are guaranteed to learn something we couldn't learn sitting in the office"... nothing more complicated than that. There were really two different type of factory visits in China being made. The first was checking out new prospective suppliers and the second making visits to known manufacturing partners who had an order in pre/mid/post production.
Both very important but here I just want to talk factory visits in China in relation to the sourcing of products from prospective new suppliers. Making factory visits in China is an essential part of due diligence and relationship building in the sourcing phase of your entrepreneurial journey. As I mentioned it's the amount you can learn that is truly valuable. You will only learn a certain amount from product information and images of factory premises and production lines.
Here is the start to a list of example reasons to “just go there”. Once you start thinking about your business, your ideas and the products you want then you should be able to list plenty more here. So make factory visits in China to...
- Learn more about the people and processes.
- Begin making personal connections and relationships.
- Explain more and develop deeper understanding of requirements.
- Develop an appreciation of what this supplier cares about.
- See something that might be great you didn't know about.
- See something that might be terrible you didn't know about.
- Find an opportunity in a place you didn't expect.