Working with overseas vendors. / by Lana Grant

Now days, most of our product produced overseas or in South America. We are all working with different countries and that can be challenging, you will probably agree with me.

          The issue is that we are here and they - the factories, are very far away, in whole different countries. They have their own culture and mentality. We are coming into this foreign mentality with our demands and often criticize them for not doing a good job for us.

          But before we judge, we need to look at how we do our job here. What information and how that information is provided to the factories is a key to a good quality product. We should better understand what they must deal with when producing that product for us. Based on my experience and seeing many fit comments, I would like to say this. Fit comments and technical packages are all different, everyone (technical designers) has their own style and ways of explaining the fit issues. Some provide more pictures; some use more words to describe the fit problems. Different format and programs used to present the comments.

In my first trip to overseas, I asked my colleges there what do they want to see in our fit comments? The answer was more pictures and very precise comments along with the pictures. And, the language in the fit comments should be simple. We do have the language barrier and we need to communicate in a simple way as possible, so it is easy to translate and understand, that will help with any miscommunication.

          Now to my point, I personally think that our vendors deserve more respect from us. They do work very hard and any mistakes they make, we make as many as well. But for some reason, I hear repeatedly how bad some of them are. Yet we do continue working with those factories for various reasons.

Why are we so critical of their job? Instead of criticizing our vendors, maybe we should look at how we can help them understand us better. Create better relationship with those factories and that will help on both sides.

          We need to visit the factories in order to establish good relationships and see how they do business. This will help better communication and understanding, it works when you meet people face to face.

          It would be interesting to know your opinion on this subject and what do you think can be done to better our cooperation with vendors.