I could not make this up if I tried.
I just finished some work for a department of a relatively large Hong Kong trading company.
I could not understand why they needed four merchandisers, as there was barely enough work for three.
It turned out that initially there were four desks in the office, and three merchandisers.
As there was an extra desk, the manager was afraid that someone senior to him, would come to him for a favour, and ask him employ someones child, friend, etc.
As the manager did not want to put himself in this position, he decided to hire someone to fill the desk.
Surely logic entails moving the extra desk out of the office. Far cheaper and easier.
Never under estimate the effect of culture on business.
People often ask me why I refuse to use any of the instant messaging services (Line, What’s App, We Chat, etc) for business.
I always reply, that today, email is also an instant messaging service. Everyone has their email app on their phone.
What is important to me, is that it creates a chronological paper trail that cannot be disputed, accessable through any computer or smartphone.
Something that caught me out once, a long, long time ago, but recently nearly caught a client of mine out.
Depending where you are from in the world 8/7/2017, could mean August 7, or July 8 2017.
It is always far safer to use names of months when conducting business. It eliminates any potential problem. Ie 2nd October 2017.
I have had a few suppliers ask me about the concept of value addition.
This is especially the case in countries like China, where costs are increasing, and buyers are leaving.
I have given them a number of ways to add value.
One important one is , take responsibility!
If you are supposed to submit a strike off, for example, on a specific day, and you miss the deadline, take resposibility and try to correct somehow.
I always get the same story. “The printer is too busy, so the printing is late”. “The mill is running late” etc”.
This is vendor blaming.
Using my example above, the printer might well be running late, but simply telling the customer this, reduces value. If a factory chooses a printer, that printer is their responsibly to manage. Not the buyers.
Make up for it somehow. Offer to express courier courier the strike off to the buyer, or get creative.
This is an example of value addition. There are many, many more.
Feel free to add.
A colleague recently showed me some garments that had needle damage.
When I asked him if he discussed needle policy with his supplier, he mentioned that he did not.
Obviously needles need to be replaced at certain intervals by a sewing factory, and very often the factory does not have a good (if any real) needle policy.
However, it is still important for the factory to know, that you know about the importance of a needle policy.
It indicates that you know your business, and indicates to them that this is something you will possibly specifically look for.
Never be reluctant to ask a supplier about a price quoted for a garment, or anything for that matter.
Some people often seem reluctant, especially if the price is good.
They think questioning it will somehow let it slip, that its a good price.
But, keep in mind, it could be a mistake on the suppliers part, and when the supplier realises it, you could be in for a shock.
Always double check what a quoted price includes.
Is it for your Incoterm specified?
Does is include all raw materials and inputs?
If you have a nominated supplier for trims etc, does it include this cost?
Does it take into account your payment terms?
What is the validity of the price?
How will any exchange rate or commodity price fluctuations impact the price?
Does it include all sampling required once the order is confirmed?
I am sure you can think of some more questions, but never be afraid to double check every detail.
Everytime I visit a factory that is not busy, I get the same answer, without even asking the question.”This is our quiet period. In a month, we’ll be full.”
The strange thing is that, I get the same answer no matter what time of the year I visit.
From January to December, I get the same story from about every factory, working well below capacity.
Now we know a lot of business is seasonal, to the extent that there are usually specific times during a year when brands place their bulk orders.
But, a lot of business is not, where buyers are placing orders throughout the year.
That’s why it was refreshing to get a mail from a Chinese supplier, asking for suggestions to increase business, due to so many buyers moving to lower cost countries, and/or countries with import duty benefits.
Unless you want a potential lawsuit.