China has emerged as the manufacturer of all kinds of goods at very attractive prices. Therefore, most businesses of the world now prefer procurement in China.
However, for any American or European businessman, it can be a tough call to manage this venture so smoothly. China is located at the other end of the globe, and also the business culture of China is entirely different from western countries.
Therefore, it will make sense to obtain assistance from a certain sourcing agency for your procurement in China. A local product sourcing agency can ensure that all of your needs are met and assist you in finding the finest supplier for your best-selling product as you are far away and unable to simply pay a visit to China in case you have any issues.
Advantages of sourcing agencies in China
Chinese sourcing agencies are more familiar with the various business practices, languages, and various customs of China and they will be very much knowledgeable about factories in the industry they are experienced.
Effective communication - As you know language is a major issue while dealing with Chinese companies. Your sourcing agency can be your useful link. You can save lots of time if you have a trustworthy sourcing agency available on your side.
You don't need to scan through hundreds of internet pages of suppliers, invest time in screening numerous factories, and engage in drawn-out, challenging talks about product specifications. All these responsibilities will be handled for you by your sourcing agency.
Help with negotiations - Your sourcing agency can be very useful when negotiating price with suppliers. He can provide you a very useful input so that you can always have an upper hand during negotiation with any Chinese company.
Sourcing agencies are knowledgeable about the suppliers in relation to the material cost and product cost. As a result, they may bargain for the best deal while preserving quality.
Good network of suppliers - An experienced sourcing agency will have a good network and contacts in China who can be very useful for you doing business with China. They can verify and offer you correct input about Chinese manufacturers.
They frequently work with a variety of manufacturers and are aware of which ones are best for a given kind of product.
Reduce risk of scams - An expert sourcing agency can help check the manufacturer's official certificates and permits, and do due diligence check. Also, they can pay a personal visit to the potential suppliers, to make sure the company does exist and can truly produce the products you are looking for, and can meet your requirements of quality and capacity. So, they can reduce the risk of being scammed.
Things to consider while selecting a China sourcing agency
If you try to Google search for export agencies in China then you may come across the names of many such companies, but how can you find one who will be the right fit for you? While selecting any sourcing agency, the following are some of the things that you must keep in mind for making the right choice.
Location of the sourcing agency
The location matters a lot. In China, usually, industries are clustered in some industrial towns. So, it’s better to find a sourcing agency which is close to the industrial towns. For example, if you want to purchase consumer electronics, Shenzhen is the best place to go. If you want to source furniture, Foshan is the right place.
When you select any sourcing agency, you must ensure that the company has got a very well-staffed office in China. Also, you need to check out how long the office has been in operation in China. Prefer a certain sourcing agency who has a very well-proven past track record.
Experience in the industry
You will soon realize that the way business operates in China is very different, mainly because their customs and mind sets are entirely different from that of western countries. Therefore, it will be better to appoint a sourcing agency who has experience of many years in this field in China.
It is advisable to select a China sourcing representative with extensive knowledge in the industry. A sourcing agency with significant expertise working in China has a wide network of trustworthy suppliers, and can manage your China supply chain effectively. These are very important to your business.
Check for references
Choose a certain sourcing agency who can provide you with verifiable references from other companies. Don't forget to visit these references' websites and speak with them in person. Ask about the quality of their service and how long they have been working together. Also, ask them whether they would recommend this sourcing agency to anyone.
Check how they deal with quality issues
While sourcing any products from China, product quality will be your topmost concern. Ask the sourcing agency what kind of measures and controls they have already in place to address the quality problems. Make it abundantly clear up front that you may not put up with subpar goods.
You must make it sufficiently clear right from the beginning that you cannot accept products of poor quality.
Expertise in the particular products that you are looking for
All sourcing agencies specialize in certain fields. To find out whether your sourcing agency has previous expertise in finding the products that you are interested in, you must do some research. You can request buyer references from businesses in your sector, or ask the agency for a list of prior orders.
A sourcing agency must have a certain professional area where they have worked, you need to check whether your prospective sourcing agency has any prior experience of sourcing those products that you want to import.
Your expectations from a sourcing agency
Let us do a little brainstorming here to list out all your expectations from any sourcing agency that you are looking for.
1. Your sourcing agency must have good managerial as well as technical capability to understand the complexity of the product or products that you are looking for.
2. Your sourcing agency must have a team of people having sufficient experience with the products and various commerce involved in locating and shipping the product to overseas countries.
3. Team members from your sourcing agency must be fluent in speaking both English and Mandarin and able to communicate in speaking and writing.
4. Your sourcing agency must be aware of Chinese customs and cultures and know very well how the industry and the various business in China works.
5. Your sourcing agency must be quite resourceful and in case of any urgency, they can quickly find a certain alternate source so that you may not go into a short supply situation.
6. Your sourcing agency must be knowledgeable enough to solve any unforeseen problem that develops in the shipping of your product and work with an entrepreneurial spirit.
7. Your sourcing agency must have very good networking with most of the relevant factories in China so that he can create multiple sources for your items that you want to source from China.
8. Your sourcing agency must have manpower who can check the quality of your product that you are sourcing so that you will be assured of the right quality from the manufacturer’s end.
9. Your agency must be honest and ethical and whom you can easily trust. If your agency is not trustworthy then all the above attributes will be totally meaningless.
Finding an ideal China sourcing agency will be the key step if you are considering a strategy of product sourcing from China. Receiving top-notch goods at a fair price and on schedule might help your company expand greatly. Spend some time selecting the best China sourcing agency as your company's future may depend on it.
By cooperating with the correct sourcing agency in China, you are able to get high-quality products on time and at the appropriate price, so as to develop your company’s business tremendously. The sourcing agency is critical to your company's long-term success.