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Emotions in China manufacturing

by Jacob Yount

Bad emotions in China manufacturing create adverse situations.

When importers don’t keep their cool, it complicates projects to causing outright catastrophes. Bad emotions in China manufacturing directly effect a job.

Communication is one of the biggest causes. Buyers deal with Chinese vendors in English; thus the vendor is using a second language. From the Western perspective; Chinese are subdued, don’t proactively communicate and are not straight talkers. This makes the already-nervous buyer more uptight. Even the coolest cucumbers start sweating when there is 10 or 100′s of thousands of dollars on the line.

Throws an Order Off Track:  An example comes to mind, of a buyer emailing the supplier, on a daily basis, that she will lose her job if they don’t ship her goods earlier. Talk about some undue pressure! This was not a case of the supplier delaying production. It was a case of developing a product and the buyer not allowing proper time for the factory to produce.

Not only does the frantic buyer not allow proper time to produce, (which is suicide on an order) but sends frantic emails that further take the supplier’s mind off the main thing she wants them to do. Talk about counter productive!

Chinese vendors are already nervous in dealing with overseas customers. Emotional and threatening attacks in China manufacturing lead to the factory withdrawing in communication and reducing efforts they put on the order (they can be quite sensitive and have “face” to uphold). Chinese factories don’t excel in customer service and aren’t equipped to handle hysterical customers. The worst case is the factory yanks the order off the production line and sends an incomplete batch of goods.

*Side note: when developing a product or opening a mold, give the factory sufficient time to properly manufacture the job. If the factory tells you they can do it in 30 days; add 10 more days (for example). The Chinese-way of thinking is, if you want something to be developed and developed right, it takes time.

Factory Treats You Like the Boy Who Cried Wolf:  This is the type of buyer who treats every  possible situation like a 4-alarm fire. This buyer loses their cool over normal peaks and valleys of China manufacturing. Hairy things are bound to happen, that’s part of the game. How an importer handles these hurdles can make a difference between a successful project and a disaster.

A good rule of thumb in China manufacturing is to not get too excited about good news or don’t get too distressed about bad news. In the ever-changing world of China, news changes in a flash. Keep a level-headed approach in dealing with your suppliers.

Destroys any Loyalty from the Factory or Vendor:  All it takes is one good time of you losing the temper and you can lose all favor from the vendor. Sure the vendor may still finish the job, but will they go the extra mile check the production line to make sure no rejects pass?

Pick your battles when dealing with China. If you let small mistakes slide the factory will recognize that and they’ll be more willing to support a buyer who they consider a “non-finger-pointer”. More importantly, when they see you do a little give-and-take, they’ll do the same and more likely on the larger issues of substance.

It’s Unprofessional: Just on a general level of professionalism, keep your cool. Nothing looks worse than an importer going bananas on a 25 year old sales person, first job out of the university and they can barely understand what you’re saying. Don’t take it personally. Believe me, the Chinese certainly don’t. Especially if you’re already a “small buyer” in the eyes of the vendor, you want to at least keep yourself looking professional and regal. You’ll give this factory more of a reason to adjust their current work method if legitimate problems are found. If you lose your cool the vendor will have zero compassion. The bigger the client you are, the more temper tantrums the factory will bare. The problem is, most buyers aren’t as big as they think they are.

China manufacturing is not for the faint of heart. Keep in mind that you’re buying from this place, first and foremost because it’s low cost. Use China for it’s advantages and be prepared to grow in patience.

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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