The importance of working with our vendors overseas. / by Lana Grant

We often sent technical designers to visit our vendors in Asia and China. How helpful is it for our technical design business? What do we want to accomplish with these visits and how important are they? The answer is - it is the most helpful business tool we have in producing our goods overseas.

          It is very important to work with the vendors side by side and see for yourself all the obstacles they encounter in the process of working with us.

          Only after meeting the vendors face to face you can really establish a good working relationship and start to understand more about who they are and how they work.

The number one problem in working with overseas is the language barrier. Most of the time the actual technical people, such as pattern makers, do not speak English and have to rely on merchandisers to translate our fit comments for them.  Since the translator isn’t a technician, there’s always the concern that the instructions could be misunderstood. So, there is no guaranty that your fit comment will be received and understood the way you intended.

So, when you are at the vendor’s office and doing the job together it is much easier to explain what the fit or construction problem is.

 Another advantage of going overseas is saving time. The time we spend waiting for those samples to arrive could be cut dramatically when you are actually there. You can bring your own fit model or find one there. In Hong Kong and China they have many modeling agencies that can provide you with fit models.

It will take you an average of two months to fit-approve a line sitting in the office in the U.S. Fit-approve a whole collection in a couple of weeks when you overseas are much faster.

What other advantages you encounter in going on business trips overseas? Please share your experiences and we will be happy to hear some advice you may have on how we can improve our visits and how to better work with our partners at the factories.

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