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How to Work Successfully with a Product Development Company in China

Whether you’re outsourcing manufacturing or just having product development done, working with a product development company in China may be the best thing you can do for your company. It’s not always easy to work with these companies and get what you want, but by following these tips, you can make sure you have the best experience possible when working with a product development company in China.

Researching if a Chinese company is right for you

Do your research to make sure the company is reputable and has a good track record. Request referrals from other clients, read reviews, and look for third-party verification on their website or social media pages.

If you’re still not sure, contact your potential manufacturer directly via email or phone to ask them questions about their manufacturing process, products they’ve made before, turnaround time, etc. Make sure you’re clear on what you want upfront so there are no surprises later. Make sure you have a clear idea of how much it will cost and how long it will take to get the product manufactured once all details have been finalized.

Finding the right supplier

There are many things to consider when looking for a supplier, such as cost, quality, turnaround time, and communication. Quality is always the most important consideration but you will have to weigh that against your budget and desired timeline. For example, if you’re going for high-quality but don’t want it delivered quickly, you’ll need to find someone who specializes in producing slow-moving items or can give you a discount on the price.

A product development company with a widespread network of suppliers in China can help you a lot as they provide a vast pool of options for you. This can save you time and money, as you’re likely to find several good suppliers from one firm.

Use an Online Translation Tool

If you’re looking to develop a product with a company based in China, it’s important to establish clear communication from the start. Using an online translation tool can help bridge the language barrier and ensure that both parties are on the same page.  You should find a reliable translation software provider such as Google Translate or ICanLocalize before your project starts.

Always be sure to get in touch with your partner before starting work on your project. Communication is key to everything, and make sure you language is simple to understand. Do not assume that the partners will understand what 5×5 means when used in reference to size, or finish by Labor Day, as the Chinese Labor Day falls on May 1, when referencing deadlines. Be specific when discussing measurements and timelines so there is no confusion.

Use Templates as a Starting Point

When you are ready to start working with a product development company in China, it is important to have a clear idea of what you want your product to be. Templates can be a great starting point for this process. However, be sure to communicate your vision clearly to the company you are working with. 

It may also be helpful to do some research about popular products on the market and create images or sketches based on these ideas. For example, if you want a toy that will help teach toddlers how to count and learn colors, you could use pictures of other toys that teach those skills as a template.

Ask For Samples

Always ask for samples of their previous work. This will give you an idea of their quality and craftsmanship. If possible, try to have someone visit their facilities, given the current travel restrictions, and meet with their team in person. This will help you get a better sense of who you’ll be working with and how they operate. 

It’s important to find the right balance between trusting your instincts and choosing the company that checks all your boxes when it comes to your budget, timing, quality standards and expertise.

Document Everything

When working with a product development company in China, be sure to document everything. This includes contracts, communication, and any other important details. If god forbid, when it comes time for you to file a complaint or lawsuit against the manufacturer, you will have everything on hand for the process.

It is also important to remember that often times there are discrepancies between what was agreed upon and what was actually delivered. It is best to document as much as possible so that you can catch these discrepancies early before they escalate into an issue.

Deal With Design Changes at Scale

Changes are common in a design process. They may be minor, such as changing the color or size. Or they can be major, such as changing materials or components and all that entails. However, it is important to note that there are two types of changes: those that can easily be made at scale and those that cannot. The latter must always be done by hand.

When working with a product development company in China, make sure you specify which type of change you want done so the designer will know what to do! If your project requires many changes, have your Chinese manufacturer provide guidance on how to handle them.

Working with a product development company in China is not something to take lightly, but the rewards can be great if you do your research. That takes an experienced product development company for you to achieve, and Shield Works is one with 17 years of experience in this area. Reach out to us if you’d like to know more!