It can be hard to choose whether or not to source products from China, especially if you are new to sourcing products. It can be even harder to decide whether you need a sourcing agent in China or not. The very first thing you will be doing is wondering if you need any assistance. And after that when you will finally start taking Google’s help for searching suppliers abroad on Alibaba or Global sources, you will learn that only those information is not going to cut it short. This can be a tough decision, right?
So, before you become borderline obsessed with sourcing products from China, you need to consider the three main factors:
- Having a good partner (in this case a good Chinese sourcing company)
- Good registration (when applicable, register your copyrights and trademarks)
- Good contacts with the Chinese organization
Considering these factors before you give priority to the others will help you find a manufacturer with whom your standards will align. You will find the right manufacturer while making sure about protecting your intellectual property. And when it comes to protecting the IP, the choice becomes even more distinct for certifying quality products on time.
So, after you have decided to work on the factors mentioned above, you can finally get into the proverbial question- whether you need a sourcing agent in China for sourcing products or you can get at it alone?
A majority of importers find it convenient to go directly and control the entire sourcing process on their own. They usually avoid paying commission to any sourcing agent or middlemen. The experienced importers who have worked with a sourcing agents or agents in China have stated and agreed that the agents demand high commission from the Chinese factories. These agents get a hidden commission from the factories and name it as ‘normal business’ in the country. And whenever the things go wrong, like buying companies receive faulty products from the Chinese factories, the sourcing agents tend to defend the manufacturing procedures and the factories. This is the case with eighty percent of the sourcing agents or middlemen in China.
Dan Harris has the same view with on this topic. Eighty percent of the agents are either incompetent or crooks and most among them are both of these things. The remaining twenty percent are worthy of your trust and money.
Unfortunately, there is no direct answer to the baseline question- whether or not you need a sourcing agent in China. All that experts and experienced importers have to comment on the fact is that there are a few great ones and many bad ones. Since choosing the bad one is virtually going to be worse for your business, if you really need a sourcing agent you need to choose from among the good ones.
Now you will learn about the ways how you can find a good sourcing agent in China? This process is not going to be easy but knowing the right questions that you need to ask can help you find the right ones.
Laid out below, are perhaps the key questions you need to ask a sourcing agent in China before you become involved with them.
- How will you pay them and exactly who will make the payment?
- If they can provide testimonials from satisfied customers. If they succeed in providing their contacts, make sure to contact at least two of them and get knowledge about the sourcing agent’s working procedures and if they are trustworthy.
- Will the sourcing agents give an update to you about the production status on a weekly basis?
- How will they deal with issues like delayed shipments, supplier scams, or if you receive junk products in the warehouse? What guarantee do they offer in each case?
- Are you allowed to visit the production site or even the sourcing agents during the production to check the production status?
- Do they resort a third-party specialist to inspect the manufactured products or do it by themselves?
- Ask if they can share a management system with you. This will help you understand if their processes are in place and if they really follow an established procedure.
- If you keep ordering the same products, will they make the deal for a lesser price?
So, after you get relevant answers for each of these questions, and get referrals from satisfied customers, you can proceed with contacting a sourcing agent in China.
And, if you are determined to source products on your own, here are the helpful tips.
Do Not Proceed With False Hopes
Let’s face it, you have to deal with a lots of hidden costs, if you choose to source products from China directly. Besides focusing on the FOB price of the suppliers, calculate your landing cost as well. And, most importantly, you should never trust the untrusted suppliers on the first go. Do not tell them directly that you do not trust them. Lastly, do not be afraid to perform reality checks from time to time.
Invest Time In Finding The Right Supplier
This is a critical factor that can bring you success. This single most important thing is to find the right supplier. A right supplier will usually produce goods for export purpose whose quality requirement will be the same as you. They will be organized and not too big or too small. And if they are really good, they will be excited to work for you. If you want to get a bunch of good suppliers, visit a trade show.
Perform Quality Management
Before you state your requirements to a supplier in China, you need to have specifications on your own first. You need to have a quality department to define your specifications. Have at least one person who will know about the products you are buying and what your customers expect.
These are the things you need to make sure if you choose to go without working with a sourcing agent in China. You can handle sourcing products from China on your own, if only you are aware of the task. However, if it id your first time, you are recommended to hire a sourcing agent.