Is Hiring a Sourcing Agent in China a Must?
The answer depends a lot on the total skill set and knowhow that make up your organization.
Sourcing factories in China can cost your business a lot of time and money. For many organizations, sourcing consists of logging onto one of the many free platforms available on the internet to obtain manufacturer contact information.
Managing the risk levels working with a new partner presents should be one of the primary concerns of any organization.
These risks result from a variety of reasons. Manufacturers sometimes present themselves as large and capable manufacturers. Others might be concealing limited technical or financial capabilities from your organization. And let’s not forget the general difficulties provided by the communication gap present when working in any foreign country.
This is why the definition of “sourcing” must include the process of “qualifying”. Just finding the contact information of factories claiming to be able to manufacture your product is not enough. You must be able to verify this claim independently.
Some pieces of information companies can verify about a factory without actually visiting the manufacturing facility. But, the only way you can really be sure the information you’re receiving is actually usable is to visit the production site; either you or someone you trust.
Handling all this can be simple and easy, or difficult and frustrating. As mentioned above, everything depends on the skill set and know how a company has access to.
Sourcing factories require more than simple project management skills. In order to make decisions and take appropriate actions, businesses need to be able to comprehend the information their receiving in its proper context.
One of the keys to a successful and efficient sourcing process is disqualifying unsuitable vendors at an early stage before you waste time and money assessing them in person. You will need to decide whether a factory is suitable or not based on text and pictures the factory will send. It’s almost impossible to verify these independently; the only tool you have is your familiarity with the Chinese business world.
The Secret Sauce:
A simple Yet Effective Formula Used by Sourcing Agents in China
The secret to a successful sourcing process requires two things:
The logic of the process is simple:
Design an easy to operate funnel that will filter out nonviable manufacturers.
This should be implemented at the very beginning of the process to reduce the amount of time and money spent visiting manufacturers.
The ideal funnel generates a short list of viable factories and operates in two stages.
The first narrows down your list of potential vendors via remote inspection – email, phone, internet queries, etc.
The second stage involves in-person inspections of the factory and its processes. Depending on the skill sets your company possesses, this stage may best be handled by hiring sourcing agents in China.
Design the Perfect Vendor Profile
The “Perfect Vendor” profile design should include:
Build your Candidate List
Now, that you have a clear idea of the type of factory your organization is searching for, start assembling a candidate list
Use online platforms, business references, search engines, and trade shows to collect supplier names and contact information. As you search, start disqualifying factories that don’t fit your target profile.
Depending on your industry, you may have anywhere between a few, to dozens of vendors on your list. The more factories you begin the process with – the better; you want to have alternative options as you enter future negotiations. You don’t want to compromise simply because “there is no other choice”.
If you can’t find enough candidates, we suggest you consider hiring a sourcing agent in China through our factory sourcing service.
It is offered at a promotional price and it will save you valuable time and money.
Initial Supplier Internet Research
So far the easy part.
Now, it’s time to get busy.
It’s time to start running your suppliers through the funnel and begin the screening process.
First, complete an internet search for the supplier. This is a relatively easy step to do. Utilizing public domain information, you can quickly gather initial information to help you decide if the vendor should even be contacted.
This research should render information such as date of incorporation, geographic location, product range, and relative market experience.
Sometimes, however, the information is only available in Chinese. For some companies, this is not an issue. If it is an issue for you, please consider our factory internet search service, starting from USD $400.
Supplier Introduction Email Form
After the initial vendor screening it is time to make first contact and request they provide your organization with extra information
The best method is to send a standard self-explanatory form that you prepare for all vendors.
Keep in mind filling out the form requires a time commitment from the vendor. They might be hesitant to respond to an email from an unknown sender, requesting they share information.
For this reason, it is advisable that your first email to the vendor will include an introduction to your company and explanation for sending the form.
This form should request easy to provide information that is not always available on the internet. For example, you can ask them to provide the total area of their manufacturing facility, or the number of employees in their organization, or ask for their distribution (in percent) of sales between their target markets.
Identifying a good manufacturing price range would normally be the first step in sourcing a factory
if getting a good price from manufacturers weren’t so difficult that is. We’ve left the issue of price level till this point, even though it’s one of the most important criteria in sourcing a factory because there are other equally important items that are easier to handle.
There is no point in working with a vendor whose prices make your company lose money.
All companies want the highest quality product available for the lowest price possible.
But you can’t afford to pay for the kind of quality that will make your business lose money.
Now that the factories know who you are, and are willing to invest time in your organization, you can begin requesting quotations to get a sense of the price ranges. You don’t have to send them the most recent mockup of your IP sensitive product. Instead, send them product specifications of products already in the public domain.
In the age of digital communication services like Whatsapp and Wechat, the cost of international phone calls is no longer an issue
Even landline restricted businesses have access to affordable long-distance packages.
The purpose of the phone interview is to gain a sense of the attitude of the person on the line. You want to cover topics in more depth and address any questions the form raised.
Remember, while you are evaluating a factory, the factory is evaluating you. It is important to impress upon the factory that doing business with your company is in its interest and they should be trying to add your company to their customer list by the end of the interview.
Factory Visit / Audit
At this stage, the majority of non-viable candidates should be removed from your list.
By now, you should be left with a short list of 3 – 10 factories you are really looking forward to visiting.
Still, as mentioned already, there is always the risk you will spend valuable time traveling to see a manufacturer, and find out they are just not right for you.
To avoid that, consider our factory audit service. It is designed to quickly assess a vendor’s entire operation, including the hardware and management system, and give you a useable manufacturer assessment.
The service is offered at highly competitive prices. Contact us now for a free consultation with no commitment from your side.
CSO Projement is
A service provider helping western companies work directly with Chinese factories.
Our customers are tech-based SME’s for whom price and quality are equally important and to whom protecting their reputation is a top priority.
Our customers are companies that cannot afford paying commissions or third-party margins on top of the net factory price. They are companies with complex products and complex supply chain.
Our clients understand that they must work directly with their manufacturers for improved communication and fast decision making.
They are companies for whom quality and cost are important uncompromising concerns, and want to be involved in the order follow up process, but cannot afford to let it consume too much of their time.
Who is this service for
This service is designed for non-Chinese companies who are currently manufacturing or planning to manufacture their product in China
It is designed for companies that are looking for factories capable of manufacturing a high-quality product at a competitive price.
We realize that the one resource more important to our customers than money is time. This is why
we designed this service for SME’s that have little or no presence in China.
We offer a professional and experienced team with extensive local knowledge that helps companies through the vendor approval procedure including a factory audit.
We designed this service keeping in mind production in China is a complex project that exposes many of our customers to big risks. This service minimizes those risks, while remaining affordable.
Larger organizations with their own team in China can still benefit from hiring a sourcing agent in China. Especially if the team is dedicated to non-operational tasks like sales and marketing.
Our service process is straight forward and easy
How It Works
Complete The Vendor Information Form. Please be as informative as possible.
Indicate on the form which service you are interested in and send it to us.
We will review your information and may ask you a few questions if the need arises
If you are interested in the Factory Online Research or the Factory Email and Phone Interview services, we will follow this process:
If you are interested in the onsite independent audit or in the customer audit support services, we follow this process:
choose the service best suited for your needs
|Factory Online Research||Factory Email & Phone Interview||Factory Sourcing||Onsite Independent Audit||Customer Audit Support|
|Number Of Factories||1 -5||1 -5||3 -5||1 -5||1 -5|
|Price (USD)||$400||$600||$1000||Get Free Quote||Get Free Quote|
|Chinese Government Data Base Check|
|Factory Quotations for your products|
|Sourcing according to your specific manufacturer profile|
|Our Independent Onsite Audit||Per Your Request|
|Visit Coordination and assistance|