In a perfect world your product gets made on time, under budget and is better quality than you expect. But in reality – things can often go wrong – especially with brand new items that have never been made before.
That’s why we recommend trying to keep your first order size as small as possible – it is more manageable and requires less upfront investment.
In this article we are going to cover our top tips for dealing with production issues.
Tip 1 Late Products
Delayed orders is a common problem, especially during peak season in the months running up to Christmas.
Make sure you agree the exact date your products will be ready before placing orders with the factory. Then check 25% into the time and again halfway to ensure the goods are still on track.
It might seem annoying to the factory that you are checking periodically but it’s better that you know exactly what’s going on early. 10 days or so before the goods are due to be ready, ask the factory to confirm again when the goods will be 100% packed and ready for your inspection.
This way, if the goods are going to be late you will know about it in advance. Without getting aggressive or abusive, make as much noise as possible about the goods being on time. If you seem not to care it’s less likely the factory will fix the issue.
Without sending hundreds of emails or shouting on Skype, let the factory know in writing that the goods need to stay on time. If you keep doing this, even if the goods end up being late, it’s more likely they will finish your products before other customers just to shut you up.
Tip 2 Wrong Color
If the products have been made to the wrong color get a sample sent to you and decide if it’s acceptable or not.
There is usually a lot of variance in color between shipments coming out of China, so allow for some tolerance. It’s not a big deal if some of your stock is a different tone of blue to the original.
Tip 3 Wrong Packaging
If the factory has used the wrong packing method you can simply request that they repack it.
It’s essential you do a third party pre-shipment inspection to catch issues like this before the goods leave China. Otherwise the cost of dealing with it will be on your shoulders.
Tip 4 Minor Defects
If you’ve done an inspection of the goods before shipping and there are minor defects, you can consider asking the factory to rework the goods or remove some of the defects and replace them with new products.
Tip 5 Major Defects
If your inspection finds that there are major defects with your product, you can reject the shipment outright, request that the factory remake all of the products, and prepare for re-inspection.
Many factories will just shuffle the products around without fixing the issue so you need to make sure they really do make new products. If you’ve got a big issue, it’s best to get on a plane and visit the factory in person.
Tip 6 Negotiating Returns
If you find a problem with the products once they are in Amazon or delivered to you, you’re in deep trouble.
The factory is not going to pay to send the goods back. It’s your responsibility to check the products at the factory before they ship into Amazon to avoid these costly complications.
Tip 7 Other Issues
Most issues can be prevented by going through the step-by-step quality procedures mentioned in our Chinese factories episode. If you do find that you have a problem, usually the fastest way to resolve it is by having a face-to-face meeting with your supplier.
It is better to get samples sent to you from early in production – so you can quickly catch any errors. Also – it doesn’t hurt to get regular updates about your product from the supplier – this way you prevent any errors from happening.