China Project Management Template: Who, What, When, & Why?

Even the most professional of project managers paired with intensive quality control will not be able to make a bad supplier great.  So, if you find the right supplier early on, you have put yourself on the right path and both project management and QC will be much easier.

Related Content: 
Supplier Selection & Verification

China Project Management: A template for tracking who is doing what when & why

Overview: Project Management in China

In the US and most of the Western countries, when the PO (purchase orders) is placed with a domestic supplier, we sit back knowing the hard work is done and we just wait for the order to show up on time without a lot of drama.

While China has some amazing pricing, it is not known for excellent quality or short lead times. This means that the placement of the PO is the start of the supplier management process in China, not the end. 

It is very rare for suppliers, even ones that are as large as 1000 employees to have proper Project Management software which clearly defines and track who is doing what, when and why. To the contrary, usually there is an account manager or sales person that takes point on walking your project thru all the steps from production to delivery.

Template: China Project Management

Salespeople are good at sales and may even speak English, but most aren’t engineers, certified project managers, or even know their way around a production line.  So here are some tips to help ensure your product ships out at the agreed time with the agreed quality.

  1. Pick a factory that is the right size for your order.
    If you are a small buyer at a large factory, you will find it hard to keep their attention.
  2. Make sure you communicate with the suppliers on a regular basis.
    If you aren’t asking for updates, you are unlikely to receive them.
  3. Give public praise when your supplier does something right.
    Try to share good news when possible so you don’t become the “headache client” who contacts the factory only when things are bad.
  4. This may sound obvious, but if you and your supplier don’t have a system for project management then you need to be proactive and create one.

    For example, a simple excel sheet listing:

    • action items
    • project gates
    • deadlines
    • and responsible parties

    is a huge improvement over trying to manage via email.


Have this open project list serve as the agenda for periodic conference calls with your supplier. Once the tasks are mutually agreed, save the list for future reference. 

Most likely you will be the only one recording the progress.  That can come in very handy when the supplier forgets what they said and who they said it to!

ABL Blog: Sr. Editor and Primary Content Creator:  Michael J. Bellamy

About the Author: Michael J. Bellamy

Originally from Upstate New York, Mike moved to Asia in 1993 and is a China business advisor to both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.  Recognized as an expert on doing business in China, he has been interviewed by WSJ, CNBC, FT & Bloomberg.

A featured presenter on China issues at seminars, trade shows and corporate events across the globe.

Learn more about Mike and AsiaBridge Law at

Mike is the author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing
(available on Amazon).

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