So, how do YOU evaluate an apparel factory from 10 000 kilometers away?? PART 3.
GIVE A SIMPLE SERIES OF INSTRUCTIONS.
This is also an important tool when evaluating a factory remotely. I will give you a clear example of this.
I am sure you have noticed posts on this very site, that may be offering a position, or possibly looking for a factory? A lot of these posts give an email address to contact the poster. Some even specifically mention that the poster should be emailed, and that those responding, should not comment on the post itself. Sound familiar?
A job posting will give an email address and asks anyone repsonding to send a CV to the address given. You will see tens, if not hundreds of comments all saying, "Interested. Pls check profile".
This is not what the poster requested. How is it possible not to be able to follow such a simple request? It should not be, but I see it again and again.
If someoone is unable to follow such a simple instruction, you do not want them as an employee, nor a supplier.
My set of simple instructions often goes with my factory evaluation form and company introduction, discussed in my previous post. But, you can set this up any way you want. For example asking for photos of specific areas of a factory.
As I mentioned I am often criticized for this. The usual complaint is that the supplier's first language may not be English. I am aware of this. But in the international business world, the official language is English. Simple. Suppliers need to ensure they are compotent in this area.
This is pretty straightforward. If a potential supplier is given a deadline, Ie sending photos, he must be held to it. I touched on this earlier. If a deadline is confirmed and the deadline is missed, it is another red flag. More so if the potential supplier, does not contact you prior to the deadline, with a valid reason for missing it. If you have to follow up three times, you have a problem. I ask for my factory evaluation form returned in 48 hours. More than enough time. Many potential suppliers do not send within this period, nor give me a reason why they are not sending, prior to the deadline. You might think I am obssesing over small things, but this is a detailed driven business.
USE SIMPLE ENGLISH
As English is not the first language of many countries and therefore suppliers, make sure your correspondance uses simple, easily understood words, that can be easily checked by the supplier if they do not understand. If talking about pre production samples, do not abbreviate to PPS, or use an uncommon expression for them such as "Golden Sample". Do not use any type of slang. Say "yes" not "ya". Say information, not info. Use your spellcheck.
Be very specific about what you are talking about, and DO NOT BE SCARED TO CLARIFY ANY CORRESPONDANCE you get from a supplier.
I just had dealings with a Chinese supplier. The merchandiser was just out of college, and her extremely poor communication destroyed the business opportunity, as she was not able to answer simple questions. This is obviously her superior's fault, but this still destroyed the business opportunity. Be aware that many factories will not invest in an experienced English speaking merchandiser. They eould rather save a marginal amount of money, by hiring someone fresh out of college, who is simply used as a translator, and who is probably unaware of most apparel terminology.
End of part 3.
If you have any questions, please mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org