Errors to avoid
Have an expatriate friend who works in China, you are going to ask him for help to find the suppliers and start the production in China.
Use the social media platform Wechat to send a message in Wechat Moments looking for suppliers or doing sourcing of products or use Facebook expats groups to post a RFQ.
Ask an expatriate friend to introduce friends of friends to help.
Ask a Chinese friend to introduce friend with a factory (with no link with the products you are looking for) to introduce a friend's friend ansd so on.
Ask a Chinese friend to attend meetings with suppliers to help you to translate and do the middle agent.
Prepare your intention to start a production or the sourcing in China
The culture in China is really different from occidental ones. The way to talk, the way to interact, the way to answer, the way to behave need to be prepared with professionals.
If you are sourcing a product then you need to do your homeworks through the usual website of Alibaba, Tao Bao, JD to find the price ranges of the products you are looking for. If you are already in China, you will need to go to electronic market, shops to see the price ranges.
If you are willing to start the production a product in China, on the same way as the sourcing, check out the cost of your BOM via the websites. You will have roughly an approximate of the BOM cost. For the assembly, dis-assembly and re-assembly your product and take the time to do the assembly and quality tests. You will have roughly the assembly and quality cost.
Coming to China so visit suppliers that do the same kind of products you want to source or produce, not only ask for quotations to have a more precise price range but also ask the technical questions you do not know the answers, you will start to acquire a technical knowledge on your products that will help you later when you choose the suppliers you want to work with.
Difference of culture
Be aware that Chinese culture is different from what we have in occidental countries.
For non initiated, it can be very hard to understand like having the suppliers asking for personal questions, inviting for meals, doing extra activities together... becoming like friends on one meeting.
Oral meetings, oral commitment even written commitment are difficult to be kept. Everything can be changed all the time, even day after day. In China, suppliers like to have meetings face to face even for low progress.
You want concrete commitment ? Have your suppliers to stamp written commitment with the company chop, the official one with red ink and signature of your contact (Usually the signature is just the hand written of the name of your contact, so you can check easily if the signature is valid or not). The company chop is the proof recognized as official and commitment in China.
Ready to start the sourcing or production
Does BMW ask Mercedes to manufacture their next 3-series car ?
The rule to follow all the time as long as you want to protection your invention or IP, go for an outsider of the business to keep a few step ahead of your competitors and copycats.
At WeProd we manufactured a vape in the end 2016, we never did any production of vape before. We visited lots of e-cig and vape factories, analysing their processes. All the discussions we had with the suppliers were "You won't make it, manufacturing of vape is hard, only professional can make it", the message behind was more to give the business to them and pick up my commissions. We helped our client to produce the vapes, going faster than conventional vape manufacturers and improving the quality.
Be in China during the start of production of your products, you are the creator of your products, a photo worths thousand explanations, a video worths thousand photos, be on the floor worths thousand videos. The suppliers may not be sensitive as you on details, you know the details you spent night and days to make it perfect or to resolve. You can work with the suppliers to tune the assembly processes, the quality inspection points...
For the 1st batch of production ready to be shipped out, be onsite too even if it is just for being in the background of the scene, the suppliers will not take it as a sign of non trust, most suppliers will take it as a team work to improve the quality. Do not be too much on the suppliers (as explained in the other articles of the blog) but work as a team.
To be able to inspect yourselves the 1st batch is great feeling, you will see your products becoming reality, coming to life.
A quality control plan is not a fixed document, it will be improved little by little after production run, customers' feedbacks, reliability test results and FMEA.
Ready to start the production or sourcing of your product ?
Weprod supports the occidental and asian clients to manage the manufacturing of products in China including prototyping, industrialization, sourcing, production and supply chain. Feel free to get in touch with us with the contact form in www.weprod.co