Control and assessment of providers and their factories
After attending the Canton Fair and having contacted a provider whose analysis was positive –including his affirmative answer to the original question “You own a factory, right?”—we arranged a meeting.
In effect, we were at “his factory” the day after the fair. We were really pleased because we had found a provider who offered the product just as we needed it, at the right price and besides… besides he had “his own factory”.
The perception and personal conclusion of a team member, as well as mine, were opposite to his answer and what he was trying hard to show us. Clearly, the provider had picked up that we placed a lot of importance in this point, and that it would be crucial in making our decision to establish a business relationship. Therefore, he wanted to satisfy our need, even if he had to lie, and close the deal.
Following the established process, and in order not to discard the provider without finishing his assessment, we didn’t share the conclusion with the rest of the collaborators. Had we done that, it would have been decisive, and we would have discarded the vendor right there. It was not necessary, because were sure this company was an excellent choice to bring into our supplier portfolio, whether they owned the factory or not.
In addition to turning our perception into certainty, we had to show the provider that we were not naïve, we had experience in these cases in China, and we had to make ourselves very clear in terms of the relationship we would establish. Once we had a business relationship, we wouldn’t allow this type of deflection from reality.
Taking advantage of a good moment and with tact so that the provider wouldn’t “lose face”, we shared our perception and thoroughly supported our response, in such a way that he had no choice but to admit the truth. We were sure about that!
The provider replied that reality was indeed just like we had described it.
He was not the owner of the factory, but he had a strong, long relationship with the owners, and he knew its tradition, its capacity and the value the factory was able to offer.
He also supported his conclusion with a final inquiry of his own.
“If you believe, based on your analysis of the other aspects, that my company and I are capable and have the necessary experience to provide the product following your conditions strictly, at the agreed price, facing all necessary risks and taking responsibility for them, and hence you will give us a chance, why do you care if I make the product in my own factory or in a rented factory which I perfectly know and it has passed the applicable international certification?”
Indeed, this “trader” has been an excellent provider who since that moment –nine years ago—has been part of our active portfolio. We have come a long way together, and we continue to achieve very important goals for both parties.
Until next time!