How should you communicate with a factory?

  1. Introduce yourself, your company’s background and perhaps your company’s ambitions (in relation to selling products). Keep your words simple, use short sentences and don’t make paragraphs too long.
  2. Describe the types of products your company sells and, if impressive, the volume of products that you sell per year.
  3. Describe the type of products you want this factory to manufacturer. You don’t need to go into details about the specs at this point unless instructed to. But you can attach compressed photos if you want.
  4. If important to your requirements, tell the factory your payment terms and ask if they accept. Use professional incoterms like FCA, FOB, CIF, DDP, etc.
  5. Ask the factory if they are interested in working together with you.
  6. Ask who you should contact for further discussion and follow up.
  1. Ask the factory to quote a ballpark price for your product at different quantity ranges. Suggest the quantity ranges if you can, to save the factory’s time.
  2. Tell the factory your payment terms and ask if they accept. Use professional incoterms like FCA, FOB, CIF, DDP, etc.
  3. Include your product specs and any other information required to generate a quote.
  1. Does the factory need a deposit? Deposits range from 20 to 50%.
  2. What is the factory’s bank account details? Try to get the factory to put a company chop on the sheet with the bank details to avoid scammers.
  3. Does the factory accept “Letter of Credits” in lieu of deposits? (Most small factories do not.)
  4. What are the quantity overages/shortages that are acceptable for each shipment?
  5. Does the factory accept in-line inspection of goods at the factory floor? This is an inspection that occurs while the goods are being manufactured is performed at different stages of the manufacturing process.
  6. Does the factory accept third party inspections of finished goods?
  7. Where should finished goods be delivered? To your warehouse or to a trans-shipment company of your choosing?
  1. Try to use simple words, short sentences and clearly separate different topics into a separate paragraphs. This makes it easier for the reader to understand things without being deceived by uncommon grammar.
  2. Leave room below or around your texts so that the factory can insert their own annotations in their own language if needed.
  3. Avoid jargon words like “lavender pink” or “crimson red” because not all colors are universal across cultures. Use basic colors like “pink” and create a color code.
  4. Try to make your spec as visual as possible with sketches, photographs and call-outs as these things cross cultural boundaries.
  5. Try to word you questions so they can be answered with a “yes” or “no”.
  6. It is better to be overly polite than neutral in some cultures.

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Uncle Ming

Uncle Ming

A first generation immigrant with a background in manufacturing in Asia for big and small companies. Always on the go, but currently living in Saigon, Vietnam.