The most frequent question, and perhaps the most important one, might be “Why do I need a local sourcing agent?”. Today in this blog, I will illustrate it with four essential things that only a Chinese sourcing agent can help you achieve.
GET MOST ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR SUPPLIERS
Although you think you know your suppliers well, that information in English is just what they want you to know, while the suppliers are registered and functioning in China after all. On the other hand, a qualified sourcing agent in China can run through a paid enterprise database in China and other related news or information on the Chinese internet. At the very first place, we need to investigate enough to know if the suppliers are legitimate and having involved in any legal dispute, and if they indeed own or invest in an authentic factory. It’s not new that some unscrupulous suppliers take you to other factories than the ones where the product development will actually be done. And further on, we can conduct more prospections on suppliers’ capability. For several years now, we have been using tools enabling us to verify a manufacturer according to several criteria that are both objective (seniority, activity, premises and machines) and subjective (quality of exchanges, understanding of issues). We believe every buyer comes to China seeking for strategic business partners. Therefore, get the most acquainted with your suppliers in China is very crucial to get genuine prices and promising long-term relationships.
BE FULLY UNDERSTOOD ABOUT ORDERING DETAILS
One of the biggest reasons that some buyers don’t feel the needs of sourcing agency is that more and more Chinese in this business can speak English now. However, does “speaking English” equal to “understanding English-speaking persons”? There are two levels of communication. The first one is the language. Not taking into account trading companies, most sales representatives in Chinese factories only speak little English and it will be difficult for them to understand complicated conversations such as product development. Secondly, it’s the different thinking pattern generated by disparate culture between Chinese and westerners. One of the most typical examples is the “CHA BU DUO” culture, which means “not far off” or “close enough”. It has happened in a lot of customizing orders: When you ask the factory if they can make it the same with that in the design file. They say yes and yet the samples are slightly different. As for centuries Chinese always tend to settle in “convergent”, while westerners tend to be more “divergent”. One deviation could be dreadful for delivering the product idea. Acquainted with this “CHA BU DUO” culture, we always make sure if the factory can produce “YI MU YI YANG(meaning identical)” or just “CHA BU DUO”. If it’s the latter, we will check with them every single detail that could lead to deviation and discuss the solution or get buyer’s feedback. Always being future-focused is also our way to deal with another Chinese thinking pattern, being past-focused.
TALK TO THE RIGHT PERSON FOR ORDER MANAGEMENT AND QC
Nowadays more and more industrial companies separate their sales offices and factories, for example having an office and showroom in a developed city Guangzhou, while having the factory located in low-cost city Jiangmen. However, due to the time difference and language barrier, most buyers can only remotely manage orders and supervise QC with the sales representative. Most salesmen are only familiar with their finished products, but have little knowledge of things going on in the plants and are trained to only tell you nice stories. The time lag of issues management and inefficiency of communication will possibly lead to poorer production process or fail in meeting the specifications. A good sourcing agent should be able to talk to the right person in the factory, perhaps the engineer, QC manager or even the assembling work. For instance, there was a client paid for a mold to OEM lens for Pico projectors. He approached me to intervene in their quality control process to see what’s going on, as the defective rate was oddly high. Even though the factory was willing to cover the defectives, the productivity was too low. It’s until when I talked to the worker in the plant that I knew the true story: the high deficiency was caused by their engineers who experimented with their personal ideas onto this mold, which meant the mold was not made 100% following the original design. Only by talking to the right person and get to the bottom of the core issue, we could solve the problem more efficiently.
HAVE YOUR CHINESE OFFICE FOR MORE LEVERAGE
Having a qualified sourcing team supporting you in China can represent you as your Chinese purchasing office, which can give you more leverage on top of the game. In the very first place, it opens up many other options for suppliers. There are thousands of good factories in China that are only supplying to domestic markets or trading companies. A Chinese office can facilitate the process needed to close an exporting order with a local factory, which may offer you a better price more straightforwardly. Moreover, a Chinese office can build up a more intimidating position in the relationship with suppliers. It shows them that you are doing serious business and that you value the supervision and management of orders. For instance, there are times when my clients are in urgent need of supplies and the factories are piled up with orders. What might be the silver lining is a genuine call from the Chinese office to the keyman of the factory, asking for a favor of flexibly maneuvering some unurgent orders for the sake of the relationship. It might be the kindness of Chinese to Chinese or the involuntary reaction of taking buyers who have a Chinese office more seriously, the propose is often accepted. Last but not least, a Chinese office can always intervene in time while any issue or the need for QC occurred while buyers are not available in Chinese working hours. This can massively improve the efficiency and quality of management.
To conclude, by entrusting a professional sourcing company with the management of your purchases in China, you rely on a company recognized for its know-how and seriousness. We will help you ensure the success of your project, allowing you to focus on growing your business.