Information Overload

Transferring manufacture to an offshore company is an interesting venture to say the least. Often when company representative are visiting the factory for the first time, it is the first time they have been in the region and possibly the first time they have visited a factory to look at a cost-down manufacturing option by moving offshore.

There is often a  sense of urgency attached to this in that most delegates have defined a set of goals that they want to achieve whilst in the country / meeting with the factory management. Understanding the time constraints of the visit there is a tendency to "dump" everything onto the potential supplier. Company history, staff members, growth, sales, products we are currently making and products that we are looking to manufacture here often gets verbally relayed to the manufacturer within a very short time period. 

Unfortunately, as interesting as all of this information may be, adding it into the mix when the manufacturer and your company as just starting out a relationship does not benefit anyone and actually can do a little damage to the timeline of getting your primary manufacturing target completed and the focus of the manufacturer.

Imagine this from the perspective of the manufacturer for a minute, while he / she may appear to have a reasonable grasp of the English language in order to be communicating with you, this is likely not a daily occurrence. The grasp of the English language, does not extend so well to complex situations, multiple variables and "Aussie" nuances. So initially the manufacturer went into the meeting to address your primary objective of getting a particular product (a trial product for this manufacturer) completed based on your discussions. In the time since you agreed to meet and discuss this in person, your company has come up with a plethora of add-ons to the project.

While the manufacturer is not likely to be deterred by the fact that you want more work done, keep in mind 2 things:

1. Firstly and foremost, you have yet to formally trial this manufacturer on ANY product. They may have great references, but any combination of a multitude of factors (either with your specifications or  with the factory) can lead to the first product failing unless it is properly managed and monitored from start to finish. Start slow, get the first one manufactured successfully.

2. All of the extra information you have just added to the table has likely left the manufacturer dazed and confused. He now is likely confused about priorities and where to start because he has so much information to try to mentally translate back to his native language on top of the initial objectives.

If you are in a situation where you feel the need to add more information about your company, products and other facets of your business, generate a PowerPoint presentation and send it to the factory at least 2 weeks before you arrive. Then on your visit you can focus on the details of the job you want to complete to evaluate the manufacturer and address any questions THEY raise about the presentation and your company and avoid the manufacturer leaving the meeting lost and confused.


Brian Le Mon

Principal Consultant at GBOS

Offshore manufacturing has become the only option for many Australian industries competing in the global economy – but thorough preparation is essential. Inconsistent quality and unreliable delivery are just two of the potential hazards awaiting companies that go into this major exercise inadequately prepared. If you’re considering offshore manufacturing, or you’re not satisfied with an existing offshore manufacturing partner, then GBOS can guide you through the minefield.

GBOS 16 FOLLOWERS

Consulting and strategy


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Phil Joel

Phil Joel , Director at SavvySME

Good advice Brian. I think this applies to most situations when you're bringing on a new business partner. Of corse, it is tricker when your business partner is on the other side of the world and hence need good management to ensure that it goes smoothly.