Some importers send information about the product they expect through many different channels:
- Email threads;
- Skype or QQ conversations;
- In the form of samples, or validations of counter-samples;
- Drawings and explanations in face-to-face meetings.
And they expect the supplier’s salesperson to gather all this information, translate it, and present it in a unified and coherent manner to the engineers and technicians who will manage production!!
In my view, it is the importer’s responsibility to gather all product specifications in one master document, and to keep it updated.
The difficulty, of course, is to find a template that makes sense. Well, you are in luck. Here is a template that I think is pretty good:
Feel free to download this Product-Specification-Template and to modify it if needed.
(Right-click on the link and select “save target as…”)
If you want to get closer to best practices, I have some more advice:
- Think of the QC inspection and testing process when writing this document. It means you will include tolerances, descriptions of potential defects, and so on. (More info on this topic in How to prepare a QC inspection checklist).
- Get this document reviewed by a quality assurance agency, if you want feedback to make it more precise and more useful.
- Have someone translate it if you don’t fully trust the supplier’s salesperson to do so (a simple rule of thumb is that, if she doesn’t want to show you the translated document, it was never translated in the first place).
- Get a factory manager to comment on it, and adapt it if necessary. Two-way communication is very important.
- Ask the supplier to date, sign, and stamp it to indicate their acceptance of your specifications.
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