Contract Outsourcing to Asia Sewing Factories FAQ
Here are some thoughts and points to consider when outsourcing sewing contracting in Asia:
- Despite having higher labor costs than some other Asian countries, China remains the best overall choice after all factors have been considered. Two of the more important factors are that (1) China factories benefit substantially from the well-developed industrial clusters allow factories to source virtually any raw materials very easily and quickly and (2) even though the labor may be higher than in other Asian countries, the higher skill level and productivity more than make up for it.
- Vietnam is still very dependent on importing raw materials…about 70% of them are imported from China. This issue will equate to longer lead-times and potentially a stoppage in production if just one component part is delayed.
- Speaking English: small China factories will often have just a few people on staff who can read/speak English, and these employees tend to be younger and less experienced than you’d find in a larger China factory. They also prefer to communicate through email, as most can comprehend English reading better than can when it is spoken. There’s a national English comprehension test but even those passing this test can sometimes only have a basic understanding.
- Too good to be true quotes: it happens all the time…and there’s a reason – IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! Either the factory is being dishonest and are hoping to somehow make money after they get your PO (never a good thing) or they have made a mistake in their price to you. Or perhaps the quotes don’t include things such as packaging, ocean freight or tariffs. Always get all details spelled out and agreed to up front, and if you still get one quote that is far different than the others you are better off double checking with the factory to verify their price. China factories will NOT lose money if they made a mistake.
- Don’t rely on price only: Price, although very important, should not be your only criteria when selecting a China factory to outsource your manufacturing. Equally important are quality, service and trust. Trying to squeeze every last penny out of the price won’t look like such a good deal when you open your container and find poorly made merchandise. Whenever someone asks O’Kane Global Sourcing to quote a job and all the buyer talks about is price, I normally will decline to quote. There will always be a factory willing to make something cheaper than us, but we feel that nobody else will deliver the same combination of quality, service, trust AND price.
- It doesn’t need to be adversarial: everyone needs to make a profit…that’s a good thing. I want my customers to make a lot of money because that means more success for us all. Drive too hard of a bargain and there’s no room to absorb any errors…and that’s when quality control issues arise. There will be times when you, the buyer, will make a mistake and you’ll need the sourcing agent or China factory to help…and conversely there will be times when the factory will make an honest mistake and you should be willing as the buyer to work with them. This type of cooperation works both ways.
- China factories offering short lead-times: be weary…good China factories are busy and have their production queue planned for 30-60 days out. If they can make your goods that quickly that usually means they are not a good factory