Import from China Tutorial 07: Why and How to Provide A Good Production Manual to Your Chinese Supplier


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It is very important to have a clear and qualified product manual before production. It can make the production process simpler and more efficient, and the products will be more consistent with your requirements. Many mistakes occur in production because of misunderstandings between suppliers and customers. Those mistakes could be easily avoided if you provide a production manual.

What Is A Production Manual?

It is a document used to clarify all product specifications and all order terms before production, such as shipping mode, product size and so on. And you can confirm your order with the suppliers according to the terms listed in the production manual. This document is not only useful for one order. It is usually valid for 3-5 years, which means you can use the same production manual for a few orders in the period of validity.


How to Make A Production Manual?

If you want to make a production manual, you need to understand what information should be conveyed in this document first. And you can fill out the information step by step, then you can get your own production manual.

Basic Information

  • Buyer’s and suppliers basic information
Business registration number/ Business license number
Zip code
City & Country
  • Product specification

You can list all the Information about this product, such as size, color, materials and so on.

TermsProduct AProduct BProduct C
Type (OEM/ODM)
  • Product design files and brand

If your products are customized, design files are needed. Also, if you want to use your own logo, remember to send them to your suppliers and express your requirements in detail.

Design Drawing
  • Requirements for subcontracting

What if your supplier subcontracts the order to another supplier? You can state in this section that if a subcontract is discovered, the supplier must either reproduce the entire product or refund it outright.

Payment Terms

  • Payment method and time

Generally, payment will be divided into deposit and the balance, thus it is necessary to clarify the method and time clearly. And there are three commonly used payment method in foreign trade, namely remittance, collection, and letter of credit. If you want to learn more about this part, please refer to this article:

TermsDeposit Payment (30%)Balance Payment (70%)
Payment Method
Payment Time
  • Bank Account Details

It is important to ensure that you get the correct bank account information of your supplier, otherwise, you may lose your money.

Beneficiary address
Bank account number
Swift code
Bank name
Bank address
  • Production time

Production time should be clarified in this section and it should be specified what penalties will be imposed if delays happen.

TermsProduct AProduct B
Maximum production time
Delay penalties

Quality Inspection Terms

  • Quality inspection booking information

Buyers are allowed to book a third-party quality inspection during or after production. If you need your suppliers to cooperate, you need to fill out the following information.

Quality Inspection agent name
Delivery address
Delivery deadline
Contact information
  • Definition of a defective product and accepted defective rate

It is necessary to reach an agreement on the definition of defective product in order to prevent disputes arising from quality inspection issues.

ClassDefect DefinitionAccepted Defect Rate
Minor defect
Major defect
Critical defect
  • Solutions for a failed quality inspection

If the products doesn’t pass the quality inspection, you can ask your suppliers to repair them or ask for a refund if necessary.

Compliance Testing Terms

  • Compliance regulations and standards

If there is a compliance requirement for the product in your target market, then you can book a laboratory testing.

TermsRegulation1/Standard1Regulation 2/ Standard 2
Product A
Product B
  • Laboratory Testing information

If you need your supplier to cooperate with the lab testing arrangement, the following information is needed.

Testing company
Lab address
Tested Sample
Sample quantity
Delivery address
Delivery time
Contact information
  • Solutions for failed lab testing?

If the product does not pass the test, it can not be sold in the target market. In this case, the supplier must either reproduce the product or refund.

Shipping Terms

  • Shipping information

Buyers need to understand meanings of different Incoterms, then you can choose the most suitable one for yourself. If you want to learn more about Incoterms, please refer to this article:

Who will book shipping?
Mode of transporation
Delivery address
Port of destiation
Freight Forwarder information
  • Export packaging requirements

In order to prevent the goods from being damaged during shipping, you can make a request to the supplier on packaging. Because some suppliers will use inferior packaging materials to save cost, resulting in buyers receiving damaged goods.

Outer cartons
Outer print
Inner cartons
  • Lead time and delay penalties

You can specify the latest delivery date in this section to ensure that the seller does not delay unreasonably.

TermsProduct AProduct B
Latest Delivery time
Delay penalties

Intellectual Property Terms

In order to prevent suppliers from stealing your design, you may choose to sign a confidentiality agreement with them. However, this method does not guarantee that your IP will not be stolen. If you want to protect your own IP, you can take the following actions:

  • Register trademarks both in main markets and the manufacturing country.
  • Register design patents or utility patents

After registration, you can claim compensation if a business infringement discovered.

Why A Product Manual Is Necessary?

Prevent Quality Issue

Many quality issues occur because of misunderstanding between the buyers and suppliers rather than suppliers intentionally to do so. Therefore, if the product information is clearly stated in the production manual, many quality problems that should not occur can be avoided.

Put Pressure On Suppliers

The Compensation measures and delay penalties mentioned in the product manual will inadvertently create pressure on suppliers, which is beneficial to the whole production process.

Reduce the Risk of Balance Payment

It is stated that balance payment will be paid only after the quality inspection and compliance requirements have been passed in this document, which reduces a lot of risk.


Don’t let the hassle stop you from preparing a production manual, because it will make the whole process much smoother. If you need a complete production manual template, please contact us on livechat.

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