Site Visit or Plant Tour: How to Maximize Its Effectiveness

We’ve talked about why and how you should do a site visit before. Even though you know a site visit is of great importance in assuring you the quality and the consistency of your future products, you may still find it hard to put it to effective use. This is all the more true if you or your team have limited experience in conducting site visits or plant tours.

For some, especially those who are looking for overseas suppliers, site visits are both time and money consuming. Especially when you don’t have a local team to help you with that.

So what can you do to ensure an effective site visit? How can you maximize the effectiveness of the plant tours?

We’ve broken the whole site visit into the following 3 parts, so you’ll have a better idea of what to do in each phase of the site visit so as to make it effective as you hope.

Before the visit

Before going straight forward to the supplier, there are things that you can do to save time for the both parties. Such preparations are of utmost important in that they set the tone for the rest of the tasks that follow.

Prioritize your goals for the site visit

First, you need to know for sure why you want to do the site visit, what accomplishments you want to achieve, who do you think you should talk to if you want to get the problem solved.

Without knowing where to focus the time and effort, it’s almost unlikely that you will see a promising outcome for the site visit.

The last thing you want to do is to make the site visit just a day tour to the factory, only to discover that the site visit is but a tiring and non-effective waste of time.

Gather the right resources

Once you’ve set the goals for your site visit, it shouldn’t be hard for you to gather the right resources to actually going to the site.

For example, you should include a quality engineer in your site visit team if one of your priorities is product quality. And you should definitely include a sourcing professional if you want to make sure the product price is not off the chart.

It is, of course, very natural for you to include as many people who have site visiting experience as you can. Because the more site visits one has done, the easier for them to maximize the effectiveness of the tours. However, with the clear goals and structure set, it’s easy for even the young, in-experienced engineers to get the most out of site visits.

Do a joint preparation

When you have the goals and team set, the next thing you do is to start preparing for the visit. And we suggest doing a joint preparation, i.e. a joint meeting between you and the potential supplier.

In this way, you won’t have to explain to your supplier what exactly are you looking for at the site and waste the precious visiting time. And your supplier can prepare the required information such as data, numbers, figures when you ask for it at the site.

In addition, you can settle down on the detail schedule for the visit and propose changes to items that are of little importance to your visit goals.

During the visit

We’ve covered in the post Select the Ideal Supplier With a Site Visit about what questions you should as during a site visit.

Here is just a screen shot for your reference. Feel free to give it a read if you’re interested in knowing more.

After the visit

When the visit ends, it’s crucial that you summarize the visit into a form of report and then send feedback to your potential supplier.

On the one hand, the site visit report is a good way to tell how well you and your team have achieved the goals you set before the visit. In addition, the report provides an objective insight of whether the visited supplier is a good fit for your product.

On the other hand, your potential supplier could use the feedback to improve their expertise and capabilities. Even though the supplier won’t be your choice at the end, it’s still good for your business to maintain a nice, friendly relationship with more potential suppliers.

If site visits are almost impossible…

There are many cases where site visits are almost impossible to be done. For example, when your potential suppliers are located somewhere across the world; when you don’t have the right resources to assess the potential suppliers at site; when the suppliers refuse any chance of site visiting from you…

If you’re still bothered by the above problems, feel free to reach out to us, and we’d be more than happy to fix the problem for you.

We have a team of engineers with decades of experience in field; we’re located in Asia so it’s easier for us to get around; we have great relationships with hundreds of suppliers in almost any industries… In a nutshell, we’ve got you covered.

Feel free to let us know what’s bothering you, and we’ll see what we can do to help.

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