Updated: Sep 2
Every month we talk to hundreds of inventors who are looking to manufacture their inventions overseas. As part of our buffet of services we not only perform design, engineering and prototyping but also help find a viable factory(ies) that meets all criteria necessary to be considered trusted partners. While we have our own proven methodology to qualify factories, we find that many clients endeavor this on their own. As a word to the wise we put forth this advice to create awareness of these common pitfalls.
There are two main reasons why sourcing production with China can become a hurdle to the success of your business. Let’s take a closer look at both of them.
1 – Local Time Difference
China and the United States are not in the same time zone. The difference in local time is quite significant. When it is 9:00 AM in Miami, it is 9:00 PM in Beijing, China. That is 12-hours ahead and very late at night which can become a major stumbling block when communication with a factory is required. The advantages of communication with a factory during normal business hours means that the workers will have their staff on site and will be able to answer any questions you have fairly quickly. Also, they will be more responsive during negotiations, as the management personnel will be available to answer questions. If new components are being selected and outsourcing of screws or resistors needs to be done, those suppliers will be also open, and their tasks will be easier to complete, thus allowing you to make decisions quickly.
There is a high probability that if you reach out to your factory at night, they will respond to your messages fairly quickly. However, their responses will be merely symbolic “I will look into it” being the most common one. You won’t get a real, meaningful response until 12 hours later, and your correlating response will come 12 hours after that. This is one of those things that could potentially affect your normal sleeping schedule if not planned correctly.
2 – Language
Even if you are using Alibaba.com to achieve China sourcing, there is good possibility that the people on the other end won’t fully understand what you are asking of them. Sure, your English may be perfect, but at the China factory only a few employees will be qualified to speak to American customers. Even these employees may not have a firm grasp on the language as it is very rare for this sales personnel to travel to the West. It is very likely that they learned the majority of their English watching sitcoms and the like. This means that there will be some things that will be lost in translation, or worse, completely ignored. This can cost you money in the long run when the product arrives at your warehouse, only for you to find out that it was manufactured incorrectly or was sent incomplete. It can become quite costly for you as a result.
These types of mistakes will set you back thousands of dollars, not only in lost potential revenue but also having to sell off your inventory for pennies on the dollar due to errors. In some cases we’ve met people who had to pay to have the pallets full of junk hauled off to a landfill. This is not a smart way to do business and we hate hearing these horror stories, which are more common than you’d think.
How We Can Help At Prototype Monster
At Prototype Monster, we can be a great deal of help when you are looking to produce your product in China. We have 20+ years of experience working with China manufacturing. We have staff in China who are working while we are sleeping, thereby we have a complete understanding of what is happening at our factory partners and on the production line of your product. Our employees communicate with our factories in Chinese, during Chinese working hours thus giving us a huge advantage, as they are able to manage any errors, large or small in real time and address potential issues early on. This is extremely important as we are able to understand exactly how the processes are being performed and we can help provide real-time solutions so that your products are made correctly.
Are you looking to manufacture your products overseas? We have experience working in Asia, South America and the Caribbean. We can help find a factory, perform a factory audit, set up production parameters and supervise production runs. For assistance with your China production plans, call us to discuss your needs in detail. You can reach us at (305) 521-9080.