China is continuing to experience a rapid rise as a low-cost manufacturing hub making it a highly sought-after destination for procurement agents from the US, Europe and Japan. However, despite the cost benefits of sourcing from China, there are certain logistical challenges that make it difficult for foreign businesses to conduct business in the country. These include infrastructural challenges language barriers, miscommunication, lack of local business knowledge and lack of a physical presence. A sourcing or buying agent can help you take care of these issues and provide seamless service without the hassle of personally supervising manufacturers and suppliers.
There are many reasons for China’s current position as a leading sourcing destination for many businesses. Some of them are listed below:
Expansive supplier base: China has a vast supplier base with a large number of factories involved in the manufacturing of consumer products across a variety of industries.
Lower cost: The most obvious advantage for Western businesses in particular looking to China as a sourcing hub is the lower cost structure. As the labor cost in the country is low, factories involved in manufacturing have gained major cost advantages.
Increase capabilities: China is continuing to scale as a technological leader and the factories in the countries benefit from the superior manufacturing abilities and technological sophistication.
Changes in international trade laws - Shipping procedures and requirements are affected by changing international trade laws that affect cross-border movement. The increased distances and infrastructural challenges add to the hassle. The higher the volume of shipping, the more the shipment is exposed to trade regulation violations. As these laws change frequently, managing compliance becomes a complex and expensive endeavor. This requirement is also out of the ability of companies that are already unfamiliar with the jurisdictions they are sourcing/buying in. As there are heavy penalties involved for non-compliance with international trade laws, availing the serving of a professional buying/sourcing agency can help alleviate some risk.
Unreliable suppliers - A big challenge with international buying is identifying, verifying and supervising suppliers. Keeping track of vendor performance, ensuring top quality and ensuring stable supply are all challenges that a buying agent helps to manage for the end client.
Counterfeit products - Counterfeit is a big logistical hurdle in international buying and takes different forms. From falsely labeled products to trademark infringement and use of inferior components in products, counterfeiting is a big concern and reason for the lack of confidence in international consumers buying from Asian countries.
Theft/damage during transit - There are multiple hands involved in handling goods in transit which makes theft and damage of products very common and a legitimate risk. As manufacturers are only able to gather information about shipment days or weeks after delivery, tracking the source of theft becomes a big challenge.
Bad shipping conditions - Certain products require specific environmental conditions for transport such as certain pre ascertained temperatures. As manufacturers or buyers are not available boots on the ground and rely on logistics companies for support, false information may be shared. A trustworthy logistics company with a solid market reputation and experience handling a wide variety of shipments can help alleviate some of these risks.
No shipment tracking/communication - A big logistical challenge in international buying, especially with e-commerce is that products take a long time to arrive at their final destination. And despite the need for accurate tracking information, the data is not available.
Manual and slow processes - International buying involves many manual processes and paperwork at every stage. Bar codes need to be scanned manually, forms signed and cross-checked. This makes the process very slow and inefficient at times. Consolidating all the paperwork also adds extra hours.
They are adept at managing total supply chain costs.
They automate global logistics processes.
They offer transparent end-to-end supply chain visibility.
They leverage web-based tools to track material movement.
They focus on optimal dynamic routing.
They keep variability at the heart of logistics management.
They focus on logistics optimization by combining domestic and international workflows.
They keep real-time data at the heart of logistical operations.
They focus on financial supply chain factors to minimize sourcing expenses.
A China buying agent can specifically help with the following business needs:
By hiring a trustworthy China buying agent, you are assured that the job of identification, verification and confirmation of suppliers will be taken care of. In addition, a China buying agent will help negotiate prices on the client’s behalf and help you get the best value for money.
A China buying agent will subsequent to choosing a perfect supplier, supervise and follow up with the production side. A China buying agent will be your middleman who will coordinate activities at the manufacturing unit and ensure timely completion of production.
Once production is completed, a China buying agent will also handle product testing and quality control on their client’s behalf. By hiring specialized quality inspectors, a China procurement agent will ensure that the finished goods are free from defects and standardized in quality. A China procurement agent will then manage all timelines involved in the delivery of products and shipping within the time promised.
For success in international buying, communication plays an extremely critical role. An experienced and efficient sourcing agent acts as your on-call liaison with suppliers, manufacturers, shipping agents, custom authorities, etc. This will help you save time and a great amount of money. And in addition, will ensure efficient and smooth processing of the transaction. Many sourcing agents also operate in multiple time zones and as a result, are available around the clock for answering queries and resolving emergency requests.
A China purchasing agent doesn’t just help with finding a supplier and managing production. Many highly experienced agents also provide certain value-added services to clients like product customization, packaging solutions, etc. In this way, hiring a China purchasing agent will help reduce costs even more. As you can avail of multiple value-added services from one China buying agent service, you will not have to incur the hassle and costs of hiring additional service providers.
Remember, however, when trying to reduce costs, you don’t compromise quality. The right China buying agent service will provide the perfect balance of cost-saving while assuring the desired quality of products.
If you meet the following criterion, then you probably will benefit from the assistance of a professional China buying agency:
If you are a first-time importer from a country like China, you will need all the help you can get to navigate the Asian market. Navigating unfamiliar business and cultural territory can expose you to risks which only a local buying agent can help with. From touching base and identifying the correct suppliers and managing product quality and timelines to ensure timely shipping, a buying agent can become your one-stop guide. A sourcing agent based in China can help with all these processes so you can focus on your primary task as a business.
If you are involved in multiple product categories, you will definitely need the assistance of a reliable and highly experienced China buying agent. This buying agent can help you chose between multiple reliable suppliers across categories. As a business unfamiliar with the terrain and without an established network, handling sourcing can be a big hassle. A China buying agent familiar with the market and with existing connections with suppliers and manufacturers can help you chose the best for your needs. Choosing the best suppliers requires contacting multiple people, verifying and paperwork-all of which can be handled by a local with the necessary expertise and reputation.
If your product category is unique or contains hard to procure materials, assistance from a local China buying agent or service can make buying more seamless. An innovative consumer product, proprietary building materials, healthcare or medicines with special ingredients all require the expertise of a professional buying agent to procure. As these products are only provided by select suppliers, sourcing them for you will require extensive legwork and personal efforts beyond the ability of non-locals. A China buying agent will be able to connect you with the source directly, indicate and explain your detailed requirements. And strike a beneficial deal all while saving you the time and resource spend.
There are many reasons for utilizing the services of a professional China buying agent. But the major one is that you are ensured of access to high-quality goods with quick turnarounds and shipment.
Even for the most experienced of business, sourcing from Asia can seem like a huge hurdle. Despite the high quality delivered, Asia has a reputation for manufacturing low-quality products which puts off importers. This uncertainty of sourcing from manufacturers and factories across the globe can be alleviated by using a professional buying agent. Buying agents can find high-quality suppliers, vet them according to your specific needs, negotiate the best terms and follow up and supervise for the highest quality.
Buying agents can help with finding high-quality, reliable suppliers or products. They can also help connect you to the desired suppliers and negotiate conditions of supply. As a buying agent, their primary role then includes the following:
Handling all price negotiations and communication with manufacturers and suppliers
Perform quality inspections
Supervise and manage logistics and shipping
Supervise production and timelines
Once you have acquired the services of a good agent, you have half the job done and can let your buying agent take over. But before you can do that, you will need to find the perfect agent that meets your needs. And can help you navigate the tricky process of international buying. Below are certain things you need to look out for when selecting a buying agent:
Much like the companies and factories you work with, the best sourcing agents are the ones that are licensed. A license is legal proof that these buying agents have the authority to operate in the particular area as buying agents. A legal certification also is proof of their legal status and precedence in the region.
Language and cultural barriers are critical roadblocks in international buying. When choosing an ideal buying agent to work with, make sure they follow the same culture of communication as your business. Solid business relationships cannot be built on ineffective communication. And this is especially true when communications are happening across regions, time zones and global barriers. Make sure to work with an agent or company that provides smooth and timely communication from the get-go.
When hiring a buying agent, make sure to conduct thorough due diligence on their official website and through their testimonials to ensure they possess the expertise you desire. It may be possible that a buying agent perfect on every other accord simply doesn't have experience working in the industry that you need sourcing assistance with.
A valuable buying agent needs to possess adequate experience. As a newcomer to the region yourself, you cannot afford to risk working with a newcomer to the business. Make sure the buying agent you work with has a proven track record that you can verify. This includes case studies, reviews, testimonials and strong business press.
Transparency is the hallmark of a good buying agent business relationship. Chose a buying agent that is clear on its operating process before signing on. Make sure the terms and conditions are discussed upfront and the parties agree to provide/update details of the transaction with you in a timely, consistent fashion.
Maple Sourcing is your best choice for procuring products from China. This expert sourcing company based in Shenzhen, China was founded in 2012 with a bilingual staff and vast experience across multiple product categories. They provide a guarantee for high manufacturing quality and have a team of QC inspectors for assuring standardized service in a timely fashion. Over the years, they have provided sourcing services for companies from around the globe with glowing testimonials and long-term repeat collaborations.
Before beginning projects, Maple sourcing conducts a thorough discussion with you to get an understanding of your needs. They gather information about your production and quality needs and past experiences and issues with international buying.
With a strong network of manufacturers developed over years in the business, Maple sourcing has the ability to get you the best value for money and the most timely service. Based on specific client requirements, Maple Sourcing gets multiple quotes and helps you make the best decision based on available offers and past experiences.
To ensure extra transparency, after accepting the quotation, Maple sourcing provides physical samples as per client requirements that can be approved before final decision making. The clients have the opportunity to review the samples, examine the workmanship and functionality and even get market feedback. Maple sourcing will also provide a second round of samples if the originals don't meet your needs.
Once the samples have been approved, Maple sourcing arranges a trial run to ensure that the manufacturer is producing the products according to client requirements. And based on the findings can tweak the process to ensure the highest quality during mass production.
The QC inspectors on Maple sourcing staff are available around the clock to monitor quality throughout the production cycle.
Maple Sourcing provides door-to-door delivery and manages end-to-end requirements including product declaration, customs, paperwork and certification. Once the pickup is done, Maple Sourcing takes care of tracking and updating you with all timelines.
As a result of an experience in multiple categories, Maple Sourcing has the ability to offer custom solutions based on unique requirements. They are a one-stop destination for all your sourcing/buying needs.
By choosing Maple Sourcing as your sourcing agent, you are assured of:
Quality products and 100 refunds on defective products
Dependable customer care support with 24 hour response time
Detail-oriented service from a bilingual staff
Experience handling requests from multiple countries
Lowest possible rates without compromising on quality
QC inspectors for quality inspection of products
Expertise in multiple product categories including consumer electronics, sports equipment, health products, metal hardware etc.
Existing relationships with quality manufacturers
As a western business interested in sourcing from China, you will need all the support you can get. A reliable sourcing company with years of industry experience across domains and great reviews can help you manage the associated risks of doing business in a foreign jurisdiction.
While choosing a trustworthy China buying agent can be a daunting prospect, with thorough research and in-person verification, it is definitely doable.