Good Practices for Sourcing Products Internationally
Despite increasing importance of sourcing internationally, there are many organizations which are not aware of such practices. Below are some good practices I have learned from sourcing products internationally.
1- Know the market trends:
To source products internationally, at first, you should know what will be required and what are relevant. For instance, if you are sourcing a fashion product, it will have own demand and trends. Moreover, these trends can differ in the global and local market. Thus, before starting to source internationally, it is your task to research thoroughly. Before stocking inventory, ensure that what you are purchasing, will sell.
Bringing products to your domestic market may be time-consuming sometime. That’s why; you should keep an eye on what is new related to your product. It will ensure that you are receiving the perfect type of inventory always. Keeping an eye on the production management system of your chosen supplier is necessary to avoid the issues like outdated inventory or delays.
2- Understand your suppliers’ capacity:
In the case of overseas procurement, you have to rely on the supplier a lot. when buying some organic products, such as processed food, the order can be impacted by weather condition. On another hand, when you are supplying anything like electronics goods, then the risks caused by weather conditions start to reduce. However, in these cases, the infrastructure possessed by supplier influences the entire order quantity. Before choosing a supplier, make sure that the manufacturing unit is large enough to provide you with products of right quantity.
Analysis of the supplier's capacity also needs extensive research. You can employ own staffs to assess the manufacturing capability of supplier before purchasing products from them. For too small organizations, where the resources are scarce, you can hire agencies for the purpose. While assessing a supplier, always try to visit the factories in advance multiple times. Only the factory visits can let you know the manufacturing capacity accurately. During such visits, be ready to ask the suppliers as any questions as you can.
3- Check whether the quality is matching:
Matching up the quality is one of the biggest challenges for international sourcing. While sourcing globally, you have to match the quality of products offered by a manufacturer living in remote areas of a developing country to that demanded by your customers living in top cities. Clearly, the task is quite stressful. In your chosen sourcing destination, you may find a number of internationally recognizable supplier, though getting inventory from them can be little costly. If you are working on a tight budget, choose to purchase from multiple suppliers. It will also help you to get superior products in right quantity and at the right time.
Getting the sample of products manufactured by suppliers is another effective technique to assess their abilities. However, the quality of sample may not match always with that of actual products. Therefore, check the reliability of a supplier before making any deal.
4- Stay updated about major holidays:
Every sourcing destination has different festivals and holidays. The production of your required product can remain suspended during these periods. If you do not plan in advance, such interruptions can take a serious toll on your supply chain.
Getting products from foreign suppliers will become easier if you put yourself on their priority list. Otherwise, the suppliers may not give much importance to your order. While placing an order, provide the supplier with some information about your business or your inventory planning. If the suppliers realize that you are having long term plans, they will show more interest and serve you better.