This is often an economic decision because overseas trips are expensive. I would say that you should visit each of your factories at least once a year. Combining it with Trade Fair visits helps you save on costs. Certainly, it also depends on the current quality and performance of your factory. A factory continuously causing problems for you should be abandoned. If you cannot walk away from them because they have unique products that you must have, you will have to visit them more frequently.
A Cost Effective Alternative to You Personally Visiting
Another choice which I can offer to you is using our company’s Consultancy Service which covers all of the points found in Chapter 2. Problems are often created by the language barrier and cultural differences, which can be easily overcome by a face to face meeting. We can take quick action to protect your interests. Please contact us for further information.
Fast Paced Change at Chinese Factories
Do not try to convince yourself that a single visit to your factory is enough. China is changing so fast that you would be surprised how much change occurs at the factories in a year.
A new factory manager can turn an inferior factory around and make it more competitive. The opposite can happen when a good factory manager leaves your factory and the successor fails to maintain control of operations.
Sometimes a factory experiences huge problems when a complete team of engineers leaves. The problem is twofold, because both the manufacturing and QC process are seriously compromised. A factory’s sales often plummet when their engineering or management team moves on to a competitor.
Unfortunately, this happens more often than you would expect. Usually the only way to find out is either to wait until the effects are felt or be proactive by finding out during your factory visits.
This knowledge is essential to you because your business and reputation will suffer if you are unaware of the changes. You can always inform your customers at home about problems you are facing, but if you let them down, it will likely cost you serious money.
Since you will be visiting several factories during your trip, it is very likely that one of your factories will hint about other struggling factories. Rumors spread very fast in China but they will not reach you if you stay at your home country all the time.
In other words, “been there, done that” would be a totally wrong approach since everything could have changed in the meantime.