When it comes to importing manufactured products, using sourcing agents is highly recommended. They can resolve issues quickly, bring peace of mind, and simplify the import process by handling all the legwork of product sourcing.
Here are some tips to working with sourcing agents that can make your experience importing even better.
Be Upfront with Your Sourcing Agent
The more information you can give about what’s important about your product, the better. If it needs to pass a certain certification, your sourcing agent needs to know upfront to best guide you.
If you need your shipment within a certain timeframe, they need to know so they can explain what needs to happen to accomplish it.
Sourcing agents will ask questions and gather as much information as they can, but they also aren’t mind readers so if you feel they didn’t ask about something important, let them know.
The bigger a picture they have on how to handle your project, the quicker and easier they’ll be able to quote it and move it along. It will help reduce problems down the road.
If you feel uncomfortable sharing product details for confidential reasons, ask them to sign an NDA for more peace of mind. They should be happy to sign one, and if not, that’s a red flag.
Be Realistic in Your Expectations
Most of the time, people source products overseas due to the cost effectiveness it provides. Your sourcing agent should be able to help you get much of what you are looking for, but they can’t wave a magic wand and grant you all your wishes. You shouldn’t expect to get the highest quality parts with quick lead times at rock bottom prices for a low volume run.
What we at Global Trade Specialists strive to provide is quality work on your parts, cost effective pricing, to inspect and make the shipment, and to replace or compensate defective parts with our replacement policy.
Most factories in China don’t stock parts. This means that every time you place an order, they have to order the material before they can work on your parts. If they are super busy, then it may take a little time to get to your order. If it is a new part, they will have to work on tooling or molds before they can manufacture the order. Then there is shipping. If you are shipping by sea it can take 4-6 weeks before it arrives.
What this means is, you should give yourself enough time to order in advance. There isn’t much a sourcing agent can do to expedite a shipment that won’t cost substantially more money, like air shipping. And you really shouldn’t put pressure on the factories to expedite orders. When they quote a time to manufacture a product, it’s to make sure they have the time to do it properly and to spec. Cutting in to that time is a recipe for disaster.
You can also make sure your designs are finalized and prototyped before moving to manufacturing. This will also save a lot of time and money, as having to rework or remake molds or tooling during a production order can be costly. We can help you get your product developed and prototyped with our U.S. based engineering team if needed.