Most business owners require a helping hand after outsourcing their services to China. That is when the task of a procurement agent becomes relevant. The agent will be considered as the business owner’s right hand and a trustworthy ally who will be working on the front line in China. However, the title of a “procurement agent” can be owned by anyone- an honest and capable agent or a fake agent. It is completely on the hand of the owner to make a profound decision when choosing an agent because making a wrong decision can make him lose a lot more than the service fee. But, employing a China sourcing agent can add value to your business.
Before that, you need to know certain factors a Chinese sourcing agent should possess. Read on to know them.
Why do you need a purchasing agent?
A purchasing agent is an employee of a company or working as a freelancer who help companies to import products and goods from overseas market. A purchasing agent should be hired by every company willing to outsource services to China as they can help the owner out with the following things:
- Find new and relevant suppliers and products
- Manage draft agreements and negotiations
- Manage logistics and shipping
- Audit the existing supplies
- Perform quality control and factory inspections
It can be really time-consuming to deal with the Chinese suppliers. There are several challenges that an owner might face if he thinks of dealing with the Chinese suppliers without an agent’s help. These include language issues, may not know the correct market value, may have problem in negotiations, and many more. Moreover, finding the correct supplier is even more a problem which requires a laid-out strategy. The sourcing agents in China will actively follow these strategies and with their years of experience they will be able to weed out the bad suppliers and can easily identify a qualified manufacturer. Finding the correct supplier requires significant knowledge, an asset that is possessed by the Chinese sourcing agents. If you have any previous knowledge about sourcing or have an in-house agent who can deal with these matters, then it is okay to save a few dollars. But for anyone else who is new in this path, these five crucial factors will help you select the right purchasing and procurement agent in China.
- The items imported from foreign locations are subject to safety regulations. It is illegal to import products that does not comply with the legal standards and such products may result in a lawsuit or forced recall only if anybody is injured by the products. Most Chinese suppliers serve products that does not comply with foreign standards. In fact, many of them do not even know why it is so important to have compliance with the overseas buyers. But that is not the only factor, there is a lot more to it. Many suppliers do not have the required expertise for safety regulations of product in the markets. Working with such agents can put you in danger as you will be held responsible if the products does not comply with the relevant standards. Therefore, you should always hire china sourcing agents from a reputed company who have previous records with happy customers.
- Area of products expertise is another crucial factor that you need to look for. If you are importing products from China, then that will solely depend on the product you are buying. Certain products are fairly convenient to get while others are a bit complicated. Therefore, you should ask questions from the agent you will be hiring from China for buyer references and previous order case studies. Even if you find it difficult to find a Chinese agent who is specialized in certain specific niche products, you can ask for a buyer reference from a related industry to know if the agent is agent is qualified or not. Employing a purchasing and procurement agent who has the correct knowledge will ultimately make a difference in a complete disaster and a successful business process.
- The third important factor you need to focus on is the sourcing procedures and organizations. It is crucial for you know that finding a supplier is easy but finding the right, qualified one takes a lot to get identified. This requires a well-executed sourcing strategy, and this calls for an efficient procurement agent. A well-experienced agent will have proper knowledge and transparent approach client’s certification requirement and product specifications. An agent will always try to put these requirements in the first place. Even if the sourcing agents in China work in different ways, the standard procurement process flow should somewhat look like this:o Supplier sourcingo Initial price negotiations
o Selection of final supplier
o Choosing the qualified supplier
o Quality and production control
o Sales agreement
o Qualified suppliers audit
o Confirmation of certification requirements and product specification
o Sample order
- This brings you to the next vital point and that is the location. A well-experienced purchasing agent, at a minimum, must have an entity in a registered company and at least have an office in a Chinese city, including Hong Kong. And, a procurement agent who is more qualified, would have an office in China as well as in your country. While this knowing about this information is not vital for your business’s success but it will be a clear indication about the purchasing agent’s establishment in career, his experience, and if he is a reliable agent. Such experienced agents might also have proximity to industrial clusters that may cut your transportation and travelling costs.
- Choosing a foreign location for procuring goods and services comes with a lot of heck like linguistics and communication-related problems. But, these factors become easy to handle when you choose to work with a reliable sourcing agency. The procurement agents of China you will be employing must have a clear grasp of their local language. Trying to speak with a foreign supplier who speaks in some other language is undoubtedly tricky and challenging. Clear communication increases the chances of maintaining successful business relations.
Whether you wish to purchase goods on a small or large scale, hiring China sourcing agents can help you experience many useful services that can effectively simplify the purchasing process.