9 Essential Points to Keep in Mind When Sourcing From China

Sourcing products from China has become a favorite of most business, particularly those based in the United Kingdom that are running a limited budget are looking for opportunities to cut costs.

But, the greatest challenge, for most businesses, is the communication limitation, which makes negotiating with suppliers in China a little difficult.

If you are new to sourcing products from China, and are afraid you might be scammed, here are some of the things to consider before you get started.

Spend some time looking for reliable suppliers

No business entity wants to spend money and time wondering whether it choose the right supplier. There is no guarantee that the one you choose to do business with wont rip you off, even if you chose one with Accessed supplier, Golden Supplier or Trade assurance certification.

Bing, Yahoo or Google search engines are the default options for most people who are looking for suppliers to help them source products. Alternatively, you can visit sourcing platforms like Global Sources, Alibaba or Made in China. These avenues connect businesses and suppliers based in China.

Take note that while these avenues will come in handy when you wish to draw up a final shortlist, remember that most businesses listed by search engines might be resellers, not product manufacturers.

Although sourcing through these middlemen can work, especially for businesses buying retails products like clothes, toys or electronics, when you want products that have to meet certain technical standards, it is often advisable to work with a reputable manufacture.

Most sourcing platform such as Bliss Sourcing have a rating system for their suppliers, which can be helpful to businesses creating a shortlist of products suppliers in China. Look for suppliers with a gold rating, as this is often a sign of trustworthiness.

But, be careful, because some suppliers pay platforms an annual subscription fee for premium membership, which comes with the gold status. This helps to increase a supplier’s visibility. That is not a reliable mark of trustworthiness, so you need to be careful.

Verify your suppliers’ credentials

Once you have your shortlist of suppliers, the next step is to verify that they are who the claim to be. Although you may find some useful information online, you also need to find out whether they are a factory of just middlemen. Also find out if they have the capacity and expertise to meet and deliver your order.

There are plenty of ways to achieve this. Start by checking the company’s website. Ensure that the firm has a website to start with, and not just an About Us page. Google the firms in your list and find out whether they have scam reports against them or bad reviews.

Ask questions whenever something seems unsettling about a supplier. For instance, you can request for product samples to be sent to your location or ask for pictures of the suppliers holding the product you wish to order.

Maintain consistent communication with the supplier, but if things begin to feel erratic, that would be an indication that is not the right company to work with.

If you do not have the time to travel to China or your budget is a bit limiting, find a sourcing agency like Bliss Sourcing to carry out pre-shipment inspections together with other important functions like assessing production, testing products, to ensure the components are produce in accordance with your requirements.

Bear in mind that Cost and quality go hand in hand

People often wonder why most businesses look to China for most of their products. The primary reason is that it is cheap to produce in China, even with shipping costs and duty included, which makes it economical to source products from China than anywhere else.

As you negotiate with your chosen manufacturer, remember that each factory works with a “Price floor”, which basically means the minimum amount it will cost to make the products you need.

If you did your research really well on your desired product, cost of raw materials as well as the product’s market you will have an inkling of what the price floor will be. Do not work with a supplier who promises you a price way below the average floor price. Additionally, buyers who want large orders, from the view point of a manufacturer, will want to lower the supplier’s price event further.

Please note that if your manufacturers goes below the standard threshold, the effect will trickle down your supply chain. The manufacturer may choose low quality materials, lower the worker’s wages or subject them to poor working conditions.

The supplier might also choose to bypass some steps in the quality control process. In the end, this will negatively impact not just the end product, but also the reputation of your business. Disgruntled customers might even take you to court.

Be concise in your communication

If you choose to source from the Asian market, you need to bear in mind language will always be an issue. Although some large product suppliers have English speaking customer support representatives, most s the issue that arise between buyers and supplier often stem from poor communication. Understanding what was implied is never the same as having understood exactly what was communicated.

Often, these issues are not deliberate, but if you know this beforehand, you will be able to protect your business from expensive mistakes. Such issues are the reason why requirements like product specifications, packaging, and quality requirements have to be in writing in a thorough and clear manner.  Basically, do not give the supplier the leeway to make assumptions, but encourage question so that you can iron out anything that is not clear.

Negotiate before you strike a deal

If there is something the Chinese do very well, it’s haggling. In the past, it was somewhat challenging for other countries to source from China, but nowadays, they understand the art of haggling and they enjoy bargaining for the best deals.  

Be sure to negotiate with your supplier and iron out issues like minimum orders as well as terms of payment. Have a an agent based in China like Bliss Sourcing handle negotiations on your behalf because prices may go up as soon as the supplier hears an overseas voice.  

Ask for Samples to be sent to you before you purchase

Do not make a large order before you assess quality of workmanship. Some suppliers may charge a small fee to have the sample shipped to you. You are entitled to a sample, even when you choose not to visit the site where the products will be made. Request from at least four supplier and be sure to note cost, shipping and delivery time.

Quality control inspection is important

Although establishing an agreement with your supplier is probably the best way to kick off a business relationship, it is important to conduct regular quality control inspections to ensure your products are always up to specification. This deters costly mistakes that might haunt you in later on.  

Engage a sourcing agent

Alternatively, you can reach out to professional and reputable sourcing firms like Bliss Sourcing. They will handling product sourcing for you, saving your business plenty of money and time with regards to inspecting samples and having your products mass produced. The benefits of working with a sourcing agency include:

· They will handle negotiations with suppliers in China on your behalf

· It’s very unlikely that you will be scammed

· If you have not been able to find a reliable supplier, have a sourcing agent locate one for you

Establish a business relationship with your supplier

Ordering products via web platforms should not restrict you from creating a business relationship with the supplier.

In this day and age, it is very easy to build a professional connection with people around the world via web applications like Skype and Facebook, which allow real time communication. So, it is possible for you to conduct business with people from other parts of the world without you traveling to their location.

If you are inexperience in sourcing products from China, the tips we have listed should point you in the right direction. However, should you want to engage a sourcing agent, Bliss Sourcing has a team based in China to guide your business through getting products quotes, assessing manufacturers and communicating with suppliers on your behalf.

We understand the sourcing business, we are constantly in touch with the best manufacturers in China, our reputation guarantees us the best rates on the market and we ensure that you products reach your destination within schedule.

Language barrier and cultural differences shouldn’t be the reason why you can’t source your products from one of the most cost friendly country in Asia. Give your margins a boost, build a name for your business by giving your customers quality products at a price that will put a smile on their faces. Get in touch with us today, and let us handle you sourcing needs.