Using Chinese Suppliers – How to Import Effectively
While plenty of businesses have already switched to Chinese imports near exclusively for the sake of their organisation, others are still to some extent apprehensive to do so – perhaps even critical of China’s business practices. Of course, it’s impossible and pointless to deny that there are certain differences between the ways things happen say in the US or UK manufacturing industries and what goes on in China – something that’s never likely to change a great deal.
However, the success or otherwise of any international supply contract lies in the hands of the procuring business alone – side with only fully vetted, accredited and established names being of paramount importance. What’s more, complete and total understanding of all needs and any agreements is crucial prior to signing on the dotted line.
Unsurprisingly, taking a trip to China is probably the best way of all to see what goes on and perhaps gain a first-hand look at the supply partner you’re considering teaming up with. Realistically though this is rarely possible, but this doesn’t mean you cannot arm yourself with all you need to know simply by using what’s available online and via other helpful industry sources.
If you haven’t yet finalised your decision as to what exactly you are going to import from China, carry out plenty of research to fully assess whether or not there is demand for it in the market you intend to bring it to. Once you’re confident in the product or products you’ve chosen, the time comes to research the available manufacturers and suppliers of it located all across China. All are by no means cut from the same cloth and some will stop at nothing to dupe you into striking a deal that’s of value only to them. Ask questions, research heavily and leave nothing to chance.
Choosing a Supplier
Unsurprisingly, this is the most critically important step in the whole process – get it right and you’re golden, get it wrong and it could be game over. And it’s not just about getting off on the right foot either – you need to side only with those partners that are least likely to cause any problems for you or your business further down the road.
Finding suppliers is the easy part – there are thousands of them across China covering every product and service you could ever wish for. Where the hard work comes in is in the process of narrowing them down to only the best of the bunch and ultimately choosing one and one alone. Sourcing portals like Source Chinaare good places to start as these will have already to some extent vetted each of the suppliers listed, which work well for ridding yourself of most bum options right off the bat. Most importantly though, they’ll provide you with the contact details you need to move onto the next step – speaking to the supplier directly.
Ask the Right Questions
There’s no such thing as being too careful and in this instance there’s no such thing as asking too many questions. From minimum orders to pricing to policies and so on and so forth, if there’s even the slightest matter of importance you’d like to cover, cover it well.
Some of the most important questions to ask at the earliest possible stage concern things like terms and conditions of orders, product specifications and warranties. Be aware however that you will only be able to make a safe and sensible decision if you have first established prior to the conversation what it is you’re looking for. After all, it’s no use to ask about warrant periods if you haven’t already decided what is and isn’t acceptable.
If looking to order physical products or components in large volumes, use this early opportunity to ask about introductory samples or very small orders in order to allow you a full examination of what you’re getting yourself into. And finally, ask about the other businesses they’re currently partnered up with which you may then get in contact with for essential feedback.
Never forget that some products are massively more complicated to import than others due to compliance issues. As such, never take for granted the smooth transference of your order from one place to the next, but instead look in detail at the specifics surrounding what you’re ordering in accordance with the destination country.
And finally, don’t make the mistake of overlooking any number of potential landing costs that could severely dilute the value the deal appeared to offer in the first instance. Landing costs apply to things like shipping services, final delivery charges, import duties at customs and so on and so forth – all of which can add up to quite a hefty premium.