If you are looking at sourcing products from China, you have two options, contacting factories yourself, or using sourcing agents.
Contacting Factories in China Directly
Directly going to factories is risky because you have no way of knowing if they are a legitimate company without actually visiting their location, communication is difficult across time zones, and you’ll rarely have established relationships with them.
Without having boots on the ground or taking a flight to China, you don’t know if the factory actually has the means to manufacture your product, or if they are scammers in a slum that have built a good looking webpage. You unnecessarily risk a lot only to end up saving a few pennies on the dollar, and that is if everything goes well for you.
Using a China Sourcing Agent
If you decide to use a sourcing agent, that can help save you time, money and bring you peace of mind. But what makes a good sourcing agent?
It’s a important decision that can affect the success of your product. We don’t want you to make the decision lightly, so we’ve put some of the most important considerations when choosing a sourcing agent below:
Considerations Before Choosing a Sourcing Agent
The sourcing company you use should have several years if not decades of experience under their belt. This is especially important when working in China because their business partnerships are built on guanxi. This is a form of relationship building that takes years to build solidly and only seconds to destroy if you are inexperienced or uninformed. Companies that have a long standing history will much more likely have these relationships on top of the expertise to skillfully source your product.
Good sourcing agents will respond within 24 hours of being contacted. They may not immediately have the answers you may want, but they will let you know they are working on finding out. Communication is key to any relationship, business or otherwise, and time is money.
Good sourcing agents will source your product with whatever you try to give them. Better ones will be straightforward with you. If you are making a custom product and your designs aren’t sufficient to be quoted from, they will tell you, instead of moving forward anyway to try and get a quick sale. They are in it for the long haul and want to build long term relationships. The best sourcing agents will try to work with you to get your product designed.
Sourcing agents should explain things thoroughly to you. You may not know why you need a customs broker to import your shipment. You may not know what a shipping term means or why you need to have your product fully developed before proceeding to manufacturing. The best sourcing agents will be happy to educate you.
Your sourcing agent should be invested in your product. They they should care about what you are trying to have made. After all, their success hinges on your success, and they should be invested in the details you care about when discussing your product. They may not be able to accommodate all your requests, but they will work hard to get the best fit for you.
Your sourcing agent is almost like the conductor of a symphony. There are many different instrument sections to any orchestra, and there are different parties involved in importing. There are his partner companies in China, the factories, freight forwarders, and customs brokers. All these have to work in order to successfully import a product, and a good sourcing agent will be able to effectively manage these groups so most of the communication is streamlined through him or her.
Consider Global Trade Specialists for Your China Sourcing Needs
At Global Trade Specialists, we have been in business since 1991 with our 3 partner companies in Ningbo, Qingdao, and Shenzhen. Our long term relationships have allowed us too quickly and effectively source products for our customers. We strive to respond quickly to our customers and find the best fit for their needs so they can successfully source their products.
Have more questions about sourcing? Check out our other blogs or contact us. If you’re near Chandler, AZ – come see our office.