China Sourcing Services: The 5 steps to sourcing success – Part 3
December 19, 2023
As discussed, implementing the China Sourcing Solution comprises the following five steps:
- Step 1: Understanding the Vision
- Step 2: Getting Your China Sourcing Team
- Step 3: Mission Definition
- Step 4: Execution
- Step 5: Measuring Results
We have covered Step 1 to Step 3 in previous blogs. Today, we will finish the process by covering Steps 4 and 5: execution and results. But before jumping into part four, let us recap Steps 1 – 3. The first step is to get clarity of vision: which products you want sourced from China and why; the second step is securing the resources needed to complete your project; and the third step is defining the mission, especially for the first month, and using S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, measurable, achievable, results-driven, and time-bound) objectives.
China Sourcing Services Step 4: Execution
1) Start with the Right People (Covered in Step 2.)
2) Excellent Communication with the suppliers through your team:
- New missions often kick off with a Welcome Video Call to meet and interact with your China Sourcing Team. Your U.S.-based Client Success Manager will coordinate such meetings.
- Daily emails should be few and structured. With at least a 12-hour time lag between China and the US, your last email of the day will arrive at your China office first thing in the morning and vice versa. Each email should provide clear bullet points with summaries, questions, and recommendations that you can address clearly and easily. Despite the China time difference, your state-side Client Success Manager is available for inquiry and troubleshooting during regular US business hours.
- Supplement this with video or audio calls when necessary.
- Use WeChat and other instant messaging sparingly.
3) Regular Objective Review
- Structured Meetings: Efficient weekly or monthly meetings (depending on the size of the program and requirements) can be very useful.
- Impact Meetings for unexpected challenges and opportunities.
4) Implement Quality Assurance (QA) Protocols to ensure conformity with your specific program objectives.
5) Ensure Supplier Fit and Compliance
- Factory visits and audits; review compliance with Corporate Social Responsibility and Economic Social Governance standards.
- Thorough negotiations leading to formal contracts: Purchase orders, Non-Disclosure Agreements, Tooling Agreements
6) On-going Performance Monitoring: Your team should closely interact with the manufacturer, following the agreed-upon protocols and protecting your interests.
7) Ensuring On-Time Delivery: Even shipping challenges such as those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic can be addressed with advanced planning and agile solutions such as:
- Adjusting shipping schedules and flow charts
- Liaising with local logistics companies
- Container consolidations and warehouse management
- Awareness of alternate delivery channels
Step 5: Measuring Results – the 30-day cycle
At the close of each month, your sourcing team will go through a systematic process to measure results. This routine includes:
- Comparing monthly objectives with results
- Measuring and reporting results in a Monthly Report
- Evaluating and presenting new ideas and concepts
- Seeking feedback
- Confirming objectives for the coming month, i.e., finalizing the new mission
- Aligning resources to deliver on new objectives
We call the above process the 30-day cycle because it repeats each month. Note that most sourcing programs have a much longer timeline than one month, some may require years. What matters here is translating that long-term program into clearly understood and specific monthly goals that can be measured regularly.
Do you have a rigorous sourcing program in place? Are you ready to test out our China sourcing services? Get in touch to activate your own CPG China team.
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in June 2022.