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Strengthening your brand through quality products in China

For those of us who are attempting to or have already created a brand, we know the many challenges involved in getting it recognized and noticed. There are numerous marketing, advertising and promotion techniques and many pieces of literature that can help inform you of the best ways to build your brand. They may not all be relevant but you will find ideas that you would be willing to try in order to build a stronger and more recognizable brand.

Of all these options, I believe the best and most reliable route towards a stronger brand is in fact the most fundamental; make sure you have the best product in your class. The best product may mean the most durable. It may mean the finest materials or the latest design. It may mean the best price in its category. Whatever the criteria, it all stems from one thing; manufacture and fabrication.

I have been sourcing in China for 10 years. I have visited countless factories and have been in countless situations revolving around the quality of a product. It’s true what they say, that you ‘get what you pay for’, but first it is vital to know exactly what you are paying for. Making informed decisions on suppliers and manufacturers coupled with correct management of your orders throughout the process will enable you to find that extra value.

For example, you can be told that a manufacturer produces 200-500 containers a year or that the ‘laoban’ (big boss) made 500million dollars last year. Both seem impressive and may sway you to use them as a supplier. But these ‘facts’ are precisely the ones that need to be looked beyond and instead concentrate on the pride in which the sales department and department-heads take in their jobs.

They will always pay special attention to you for the first and second orders. But soon enough, you’ll find yourself just another client and the preferential treatment you used to get will wane.

It’s a good idea never to have, ‘all your eggs in one basket’ with regards to producing your goods. If your production needs are large enough it is a good idea to split them over 2 or more facilities. A backup is incredibly useful. It gives you leverage over each manufacturer as the threat of losing an order will always be there. You will notice the question, ‘do you manufacture these anywhere else?’ is always one of the first to come up.

Another advantage of splitting your production across facilities is it allows you to manage your individual orders and overall production schedule with greater effectiveness. Communication is a massive issue when dealing with facilities, and expecting an informed or honest response when asking a mid-level employee about the production schedule of a large number of products is problematic at best. Being able to limit your enquiries to a few direct questions with the key people can streamline the process on both ends. This ultimately allows you to apply pressure in the right areas to ensure production that meets your schedule.

On hand factory and manufacture experience can help you overcome these problems and assist your fabrication of a better product and ultimately a better brand.

For advice on managing your product development in China, visit the official ETP website: www.enterthepanda.com

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