It is no secret that China is the biggest exporter of goods in the world. Almost all other countries in the world import some type of commodity from here and consequently have to deal with a Chinese Supplier. Importing commodities can be a hectic task and one might consider a procurement agent in China. There are many issues to contend with including customs, international tariffs, and logistics. For those new to having to undertake such importation, here are some tips on how to hopefully get through the process without hitches.
Conduct a site visit
Once you have identified a prospective supplier of the goods you want, it is vital to conduct a site visit. You should try to do it yourself, or have a trusted person in the country do it for you. The reason behind this is that you may find you are really dealing with a middleman or broker rather than the manufacturer. Eliminating this person can mean better cost savings.
A site visit is also important to ensure the factory has the capacity to provide you with the amount and quality of the product you want. It can also provide insight into employee welfare as you would not want your business to be associated with exploitation. This face-to-face interaction can also help when negotiating pricing and when trying to foster a good business relationship with your supplier.
This is especially important where you want to have custom orders done. Samples are not always free, but if you are satisfied with their facilities and expertise, it can be well worth it to pay for this. It also sets the standard for further production. It can eat into your time and budget to have to request samples but is highly recommended. With the perfect sample, you can then go forward with negotiations, knowing the supplier you have chosen has the ability to replicate.
Ask the supplier to provide you with client references. Where possible, from clients in your country or region that you can easily verify and consult with. This will help attest to their experience in dealing with overseas clients and can therefore understand how to handle customs and other issues. It will also provide insight into how they conduct business and what you can expect in your interactions. You can also confirm their consistency in product quality.
Have a contract
There should be a contract in place to clearly define the obligations of all parties. It should cover such issues as product specifications, payment terms, and delivery times. This can help in resolving any disputes down the line and will help to guide the business relationship. Consult with a lawyer to ensure that your interests are balanced.
Even when you get the perfect product sample, it is always possible for standards to slide with time. This is a common problem that you can often prevent from happening by engaging suitable inspection companies or agents. It is the best option if you are not based in China and cannot, therefore, be available to keep inspecting shipments before they are sent out or during production. This should be an ongoing practice that ensures product specifications and quality are consistently met.