As a businessman, the last thing that you may expect is a delay in your shipment from your outsourcing company in China. Delay in shipment can jeopardize your relationship with the customers, can cause you a lot of inconveniences, and your reputation may be at stake.
Perhaps it is not only you but many exporters from China who may tell you a similar story about a delayed shipment from China. One of the main reasons if you analyse, is that in every case, you must be committing a mistake that you realize later.
However, with certain Chinese sourcing consultants you can get the right advice and anticipate the problem well ahead, and you can put yourself in a much better situation and mitigate at least some of the risks as far as your manufacturing process, shipping, logistics, and much more are concerned, while directly sourcing in China.
If you have ever dealt with any Chinese company for manufacturing products in China, then it is a very common thing to find time and again the Chinese suppliers failed to meet their commitment about delivery time.
They may tell many good reasons for the delay like shortage of manpower, equipment breakdown, vendor supply delay, and so on. Since you are far away from China and hence may not be able to know what the actual reason was.
Therefore, appointing sourcing consultants in China can be your best solution to at least know the real story and obtain advanced information so that you can be proactive enough to find an alternative plan to procurement.
Let us see how a sourcing consultant present in China can help you to address the shipment delay that you may be facing from time to time.
1. Help you to verify your supplier
Before you start to find factories in China, it is important to search for a few potential suppliers of your product that you want to import.
If you simply do this process with help of email letters and telephone calls, then there can be many information gaps that you may not be able to anticipate.
Remember, the Chinese business environment is entirely different from your country. Hence unless a China buying agent is available on your side, you may continue to face problems off and on.
You may initially identify a few potential sources in China through the Alibaba website or by reading reviews about the company. Thereafter, you can communicate and ask for the quote through email communication.
However, you need to inquire about the following few more things before you finally approve your potential supplier in China.
Checking their business license where the scope of business must include the word “manufacture” or “producer” if it is a legitimate factory.
Asking for a VAT invoice that only a registered factory will issue them. After receiving that you need to check that the name of the business is the same as that of the license.
ISO 9001 certification in case your prospective supplier is certified, then the company is likely to be a factory.
Minimum order quantity of the supplier as most trading companies often poses as manufacturers and be ready to offer a smaller quantity too.
Clarity about the product is also necessary as often due to the language barrier your supplier may misunderstand your requirements despite offering the quote. Such misunderstandings can be too costly for you if not clarified with the help of your Chinese sourcing consultants.
2. Understand the Chinese market
Many often the delay in supply from China take place due to a few holidays prevalent in that country due to which a factory may remain closed for several days or even a month. Such long holidays can always disrupt your supply and if you are not aware of this fact, it is going to be a total surprise for you.
Even in the western countries a similar situation arises during festive months and hence you cannot complain about it. Some of the important holidays that you need to keep in your mind are as follows:
New Year’s Day
Chinese New Year
So, you need to be proactive and cannot blame the supplier for late delivery if you are not posted with such info. Any Chinese sourcing consultants will never miss that and can help you to plan your production well ahead of time.
3. How much advance you must pay
We all know that China is one of the cheapest suppliers in the world. However, when you are making a business relationship with any Chinese company for the first time, you need to pay certain advance money.
You must keep your supplier motivated by offering an advance amount, particularly on your first order so that he can maintain his profitability.
Paying an insufficient advance amount can always demotivate your supplier and quite possibly they may give low priority to your order. A Chinese consultant can surely offer you the right advice.
4. Maintaining relationships with your supplier
In China maintaining a good professional as well as personal relationship is very important, so that they may not feel uncomfortable dealing with you.
Being friendly with them helps you to extract much other miscellaneous information like possible delay in supply or some other important details that may be useful to you.
A Chinese sourcing consultant is usually hand in glove with all Chinese suppliers and that helps their business too.
5. Follow up
Sitting in thousand miles away from China, you cannot do a proper follow-up with your Chinese suppliers unless you pay a visit to the factory. Surely, you cannot pay a visit to China every now and then.
Following up by email and telephone may not be good enough as much information may remain hidden from you. Here a Chinese sourcing agency can be of immense help.
6. Often you need to compromise
There can be a situation that may be beyond the control of your supplier, where sometimes you will be forced to compromise with the situation.
You may often need to swallow your ego and try to listen to your supplier to know the real issue. Quite possibly they may ask you to relax the specification or make certain small changes in the specification.
You can take the right decision after discussing it with your sourcing consultant as he may be more aware of the right reasons.
7. Making a contract
For large orders or any order that will continue regularly, it is essential to hire any Chinese law firm so that he can help you to write a suitable contract that is valid as per the laws of China.
A sourcing consultant on your side can be of immense help while creating a legally binding contract for you.
8. Penalty clause
If your order is very large and you have paid enough amount as an advance, then you can negotiate with your supplier to agree to add a penalty clause for late delivery.
You may try to keep the penalty amount low, but significant enough so that your supplier would not like to lose it with delayed supply.
How can your sourcing agent help monitor the production progress?
As already discussed, it is very important to evaluate your Chinese supplier before you are going to place your order. However, equally important is that you need to monitor the progress of production of your product from time to time.
There are a few checkpoints that you must establish so that it can help you to monitor the progress of production in China sitting in the USA or Europe.
You must be able to discover certain abnormal factors that are going to influence production efficiency by monitoring production progress so that you can ensure that your products will be shipped to you with the right quality and quantity on time as per the agreement.
Every production industry may have different norms and strategies by which they monitor their production schedules, however, the key points will mostly remain the same!
Your sourcing consultants can be a valuable asset for you to perform the production progress monitoring because they can visit the factory personally and monitor the situation much before the production activity starts and during the production.
The following are a few pre-production monitoring activities:
Checking the production plan
The status of material planning
The status of manpower availability
The product information status
All these need to be very closely monitored and from time to time you need to ask the supplier a few relevant questions to get a confirmation. Very close contact will be necessary with the supplier, which is only possible if a local sourcing agent is available to you.
If you try to do that from a remote location in your country, then the suppliers may offer you an answer as convenient to them and you will never know the real situation.
If the factory has misled you, then you may often get into deep trouble and your reputation before your customer becomes very poor.
Business is a win-win situation for both you and your supplier, hence it is necessary to keep a good relationship and keep them happy, then they too will give their best support and a sourcing consultant can play a very important role.