How to Communicate Efficiently with a Factory

Tips to avoid misunderstandings

Lise Lin

Lise Lin COO Mar 22 - 2017

Communicate Efficiently with your Factory

Calling all designers, sourcers and product developers! Have you ever had the feeling that you do not really know what is going on with your manufacturing?

It takes time understanding and finding the right way to communicate with your supplier from abroad or just elsewhere. Even when both parties speak English, a lot of things can be misunderstood – then imagine when there are thousands of miles apart and both parties are not native English speakers – what funny things are bound to happen!

Here are 10 tips to optimize your communication to be time efficient and as precise as possible in getting a factory worker to understand what you mean (at least, it worked for me):


  1. Formulate simple sentences with simple grammar (sometimes wrong grammar but it is easier to understand)
  2. If using e-mail – separate questions with a new subject header
  3. Separate paragraphs if you have more points that are unrelated to each other
  4. Gather everything about one subject in one e-mail
  5. Do not write in a frustrated condition (even though sometimes it is tempting)
  6. Do not use abbreviations, slang or figure of speech
  7. Use images and comment on them – the more precise the merrier
  8. Ask the receiver to confirm that they received and understood your e-mail
  9. Do not expect that they understand the vision behind your designs (they have 20 more clients with another mindset that they attempt to tap into)
  10. Re-ask the same question in another way if you are in doubt whether they understood you


We are just people and our minds are wonderful and work in mysterious ways. Therefore, the tips in this blog are only a guideline to how you could try out different ways to communicate to minimize misunderstandings and save time and dollars 😉 We do not have a clear-cut answer but from years of experience within this industry, these have been some of the key takeaways and what Collabo is built on.