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Tips to guide you when sourcing from China

When looking in to how to source products from China, there are many things and factors to be aware of. These are five ways to get started.

1. Spend some time searching for the right supplier

Many people who want to source products from China will use a Yahoo, Bing, or Google search. Online sourcing platforms like Alibaba, Global Sources, and Made in China can be used to connect buyers with suppliers in China.

These resources can be useful in assembling a shortlist. However, remember that search engines and sourcing platforms often list resellers of businesses. If you’re looking for products for retail, such as toys, clothes, or electronics, it may be okay to source products from middlemen. However, if you need products that meet very specific technical requirements, such as metal stamping, die casts, and plastic injection molding, it’s best to find a manufacturer directly and source them. This not only reduces costs but is also important.

Global Sources and Alibaba both offer online sourcing platforms. They also give suppliers ratings, which can help with the shortlisting process. Alibaba gives suppliers “gold” ratings which are regarded by buyers as a sign that they are trustworthy. It is important to keep in mind that every supplier who pays Alibaba an annual subscription for premium membership may be granted gold supplier status. This increases the vendor’s visibility and credibility on the site. This is not a reliable indicator of reliability.

2. Verify suppliers

After you have selected suppliers, verify their credentials. You will need to do your homework and evaluate the information you find online.

They are the factory, or a middleman?
They have the technical knowledge and production capabilities to deliver what they promise.

This can be done in many different ways. Ask the factory to provide you with its audited accounts. You can also check its Value Added tax invoice. It is possible to identify the factory’s Chinese name, the location of the factory and the local government office that it falls under. You can verify the information they have given you by going to this office.

3. Quality is directly proportional with cost

Why is it that purchasers around the globe look to China for their needs? Low manufacturing costs are one of the main reasons why purchasers in China look to Chinese suppliers for their requirements. This is true even with shipping and duty charges. It is important to remember that every manufacturer has a price floor. This is the minimum cost it takes to make the product.

Two points are made here. The first is that you can get an idea of the price if you do your research on the product, its raw material costs, and the market. It is best to avoid suppliers that offer lower prices. The supplier may try to lower the price of purchasers who place large orders. You want high-quality materials, especially for packaging consumer products. High quality packaging is not something that anyone wants to purchase, especially if it comes at a high price.

Remember that suppliers who go below their minimum price thresholds will have an impact on other suppliers in both instances. This could lead to a decrease in quality or worsening wages and conditions for workers. This could lead to suppliers bypassing quality control steps. All of this could have negative consequences for your product and reputation, as well as legal implications.

4. Communicate clearly

It is important to remember that Asia has a culture and language gap when sourcing. Although larger suppliers may have English-speaking customer service, many problems between buyers and suppliers can be traced back at misunderstandings in communication. Sometimes “understanding” what was said is not the same thing as understanding what was meant! This is not intentional, but purchasers can avoid costly errors and delays by keeping this in mind.

Communication gaps are also the reason why all of your requirements, from product specifications to packaging quality and content to whether instructions manuals are required, must be written clearly and in detail. It is best to not allow suppliers to make assumptions and to encourage you to ask questions if they are unclear.

5. Inspections for quality control

A good manufacturing agreement can be a great way to establish a relationship with your supplier. However, it is important to conduct quality control inspections on a regular basis to ensure that your product meets your expectations. This will prevent costly errors in the future. Research shows that problems discovered later in production will always be more costly than those found earlier.