The quoting process frequently becomes an extended ordeal because the RFQ lacks info that otherwise would’ve greased the engine of smoothness. Here are 8 ways to avoid time loss, misunderstandings and help your supplier be more efficient in the quoting process.

Ways to Help Kick the Quoting Process into High Gear!

1-  Time of Day

Send the inquiry in China’s early morning so that the supplier will see it at the start of their work day. Many buyers send an inquiry in their own morning and they’re on next to opposite timezones of China. It seems like a entire day is lost. The more traction you gain with your suppliers, you’ll be able to send an inquiry in the evening, go to work the next morning and have it in your inbox. Talk about a fast quoting process!

2-  Use a Template

When dealing with vendors, you want to be routine and consistent. Spontaneity works on dates and in poetry but not in China sourcing. Always send your RFQ’s to your vendor in the same format. Sure the details will be different but use the same layout, the same headings, the same expectations. That way, you’re vendor knows what you expect, there’s less-back-and-forth and the quoting process is sped up. That brings me to my next point…

3-  Be Thorough

Include everything you need in your RFQ. Before you hit the send button, spend time simply meditating over what you’re asking and think about your RFQ. Ask yourself questions; should I include this? Do I need to tell them that? What would you want to know if your client was sending you the inquiry. No points are scored for how short, cryptic and misspelled you make your RFQ.

4-  Include Your Quantities

You may assume that if you don’t include the quantities, then the supplier, being the super sleuth that they are may just quote the minimum order quantity. Or they may lay out a basket of quantity scales so you can have you pick like you’re at the hog trough buffet. But that’d be a wrong assumption. If you send an inquiry without the expected order quantities, you can expect to lose an entire day with the supplier emailing you to ask you “what quantity should we quote?”

Quantity Request Information

5-  Have Artwork or Branding Requirements Ready

From the get-go, provide as much idea as possible when it comes to branding expectations. Send the artwork file as soon as possible. Detailedly describe the artwork placement and measurement. This is not an area where you want to leave it to supplier guesswork. Ask the supplier the supplier for any print area measurements you need.

6- Packing

The supplier won’t delay the quote if you don’t provide packing. But if you have a specialized packing request and don’t inform the supplier from the beginning, you’re going to have to go back and adjust the quote. Adjusting the quote may put you in a bind if you didn’t consider the change and you’ve already passed the price to your end customer. Even worse, if you’ve already calculated any air-freight pricing, a change of packing may completely change your price scale! Talk about throwing a monkey wrench into the quoting process.

7- Leave Out The Unimportant

There’s a balance to strike in providing the necessary detail and becoming too wordy on things that will bog down the supplier’s understanding. Provide the need-to-know details that lead to a precise quote as well as pieces of information that’ll give insight into expectations throughout the order process.

8- Let The Vendor Know When You Need the Quote

A novel idea, right? If it’s an asap request, then you need to let the vendor know it’s urgent. But endeavor to provide the vendor with a timeframe. For example, “I’ll need this quote by Friday morning, please confirm if you are able to provide it by then”.

If it’s not asap and you have a few days, let the vendor know so they are able to put the proper time towards the pricing and not do a rush job.