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A practical step in analyzing quotations

by Jacob Yount

In the unofficial Part I to this post, I discussed the “mindset in reviewing China price quotes.” Now, let’s pinpoint a practical step in going over your quotations from offshore suppliers.

When you receive quotations from Chinese suppliers, do not assume the supplier was precise.

In fact, lean towards the opposite. Calculate that there are errors embedded within the quotation and heavy scrutinization is required on your part.

Foundational Question for Reviewing Quotations

This is the million dollar question…drum roll please.

Did the supplier acknowledge all of your request?

In other words, did the supplier give recognition to all the important specs requested in the RFQ?

Just as the foundational consideration in the RFQ portion was to include evidence, did the supplier acknowledge all the evidences you gave?

Example: If your original inquiry requested 2,000 units of widgets, assorted over 4 colors (500 units per color) and the quotation from the vendor does not include this important specification, THEN YOU MUST ASSUME, they did not include it in their quotation.

Here is the rule:  Silence from your Chinese supplier, is NOT  a confirmation.

Do not dare think that because your sales contact works in a widget factory and quotes widgets all the time, then they are precisionist when it comes to YOUR project.

On the front end, you sent in your RFQ and gave a list of evidence and concrete detail. Now, when it comes to analyzing quotations your initial RFQ, if done right, NOW BECOMES a handy dandy checklist.

Super Practical Step in Reviewing Quotations

It is as simple as taking the supplier’s quotation and putting it side by side with your quote, checking each and every clause.

“I asked for this, did they include this? I said this, did they repeat this back? This was mentioned in my quote, did they show proof of recognition?”

Did the supplier repeat back to you, in some form or fashion, everything that was requested?

“I asked for this, did they include this? I said this, did they repeat this back? This was mentioned in my quote, did they show proof of recognition?”

If they did not, if a point was not repeated back, then you need to confirm with them again.

Safety & Precision

Whatever is not clearly spelled out or stated, then consider it to NOT BE INCLUDED in the quote.

Never, ever think, “well of course they included it…I mean, I asked for it, it’s one of the main points of the product, therefore, they must have included what I asked for”.

Send Unanswered Points Back to the Vendor

Go back to your initial price request where you spotlighted important specifications and highlight or mark the points the supplier did not cover in their quotation.

Send it back to them and say something like, “I’ve marked the areas you did not confirm or seem to include. Whatever area is marked, confirm if you did indeed consider it and include it in the price quote”…word this however you see fit.

It could be that the supplier just overlooked the area and did not include it.

It could be that it is included, but the supplier did not put it into writing. Either way, everything needs to be in writing.

It could be the supplier does not understand your point and did not communicate their misunderstanding. You may want to add a line, “Tell me if some point is not clear and I will clarify”.

There are many reasons for incomplete quotes.

Do not settle for cloudy quotations from your China suppliers…or any suppliers for that matter!

This is why I urge that importers and buyers are systematic in their initial RFQ.

When receiving quotations from suppliers, that initial RFQ acts like a reference sheet.

If your initial RFQ is clear, you are able to see what is missing or needs adding to the suppliers’ quotation.

Jacob Yount lived in China from 2001 to 2012, during which time he started JLmade. He is now based out of North Carolina in the US and his home office is still in Suzhou, China; manufacturing and exporting branded merchandise, promotional products and retail gifts for distributors worldwide. Contact Jacob at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or find him on his blog.


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