What to Ask a Factory Before Working With Them

Lise Lin

Lise Lin COO Jun 19 - 2017

What Questions Should You Ask To Decide on a New Factory

Choosing the right supplier or factory is difficult. There are many things to take into consideration such as quality, lead times, ability to communicate, etc. Here are a few tips on what to ask a new factory that you are considering working with.

What are your busiest seasons and what holidays do you have throughout the year?

When I was working as a manufacturing consultant, collaborating with several Chinese factories, many of my clients forgot that the Chinese might have different holidays (for example Chinese New Year). That essentially meant that their production was sometimes pushed for 1 week due to a holiday in the middle of the production. It was my job to inform my clients in due time but that’s not always easy since there are always many balls in the air during production planning.

Can I Come and Visit your Factory?

If you are considering a longer relationship with your factory you might want to visit them. If the factory is not enthusiastic about you visiting that is not necessarily an alarm as it could be due to safety reasons. Remember, in our earlier blog we explained that communication can be difficult, so ask for the reason.

What Are Your Standard Lead Times?

You work with tight deadlines but it’s important that every detail is attended to. How do you balance manufacturing in due time with keeping an eye on the big picture? I would, of course, suggest looking into Collabo or any other solutions that can help you remember a deadline but before starting a project, always ask the factory if it is realistic to complete production in x number of days.

How Would You Like to Communicate?

We talked about this in an earlier blog post but we cannot stress enough how important it is to sort out a structured communication method to avoid misunderstandings, errors or delays.

We do not have all the answers for how to avoid faulty goods and delays but we can suggest a few things that might send you in the right direction. Did I forget to answer any questions that you find crucial? Let me know.