China Company Verification: How to Vet Suppliers in 4 Steps

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China Company Verification

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All too often I hear Buyers making supplier selections on highly arbitrary factors, primarily the responsiveness the sales rep on the other side. Such factors are largely irrelevant. A supplier selection without the right data is often the root cause of quality issues further down the road. In this article, we explain how you can perform a China Company Verification by analyzing their documentation. This procedure can be managed from your office, and doesn’t require an on site visit.

Consider it a first step of the selection procedure, as there are limitations to what can be done from a distance – as compared to more comprehensive, and far more expensive, factory audits. The ideal outcome is identifying a number of potential candidates. In this article, we look into two sets of documentation, company related documents and product related documents, and the role of buyer references and US customs data. Continue reading China Company Verification: How to Vet Suppliers in 4 Steps

Production & Lead Time in Asia: A Complete Guide

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Production line in Asia

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Lead times, when outsourcing production to Asia, involves much more than assembly, packing and shipment. Yet, many importers are far too optimistic about the time it actually takes to get from deposit payment to delivered produce.

In this blog post, we guide you through the four phases of production, quality assurance and delivery. We also explain how you by simple measures can reduce the risks for serious delays, and why you need to consider the risk of quality issues.

1. Tooling Production

Custom designed products, and components, often require additional tooling, such as injection molds. Prints, for example logos, may also require additional tooling, which by most manufacturers must be ordered from a subcontractor. Making, and adjusting, a new mold may take anything between 14 to 60 days, depending on its complexity. However, the tooling is usually good for more than one order, sometimes hundreds of thousands of units. In other words, this lead time can be deducted from all future orders. Continue reading Production & Lead Time in Asia: A Complete Guide

Restricted Substances: 5 Challenges when Buying from China

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Restricted and toxic substances

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Restricted substances, such as lead and formaldehyde, is the invisible enemy of importers in developed markets. At one end, the Chinese manufacturers struggle to ensure compliance with overseas legislation, in a non-transparent supply chain. On the other, American and European importers are subject to increasingly strict substance regulations. It’s a highly potent mix, resulting in a heavy burden for both parties.

In this article, we explain how your business is affected by substance restrictions, and how you can migrate your risks, when buying from China, and other Asian countries.

Which industries are affected by substance restrictions?

Which substance regulation/s applies depends on the product, its usage, and the market where they’re sold. We’ve already covered many of them in previous articles; below follows a recap: Continue reading Restricted Substances: 5 Challenges when Buying from China

Product Sourcing – Why Suppliers Keep Ignoring your Inquiries

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You’ve finally found the perfect product. All you need to do now is to go online, send out a few inquiries on Alibaba and wait for the bidding war to begin! Well, at least that’s the way plenty of importers wish things worked. But, as many of you are painfully aware of, the reality surrounding suppliers sourcing and price research is very different. Getting the supplier’s attention is one of the main issues faced by small businesses sourcing products in China.

It may sound rather absurd that you, the buyer, should be the one fighting for attention, and not the supplier. However, Chinese suppliers do indeed have very good reasons to be somewhat picky. In this article, I explain why suppliers don’t reply your inquiries, and what you can do to change that.

“I’m the buyer. Why should I need to convince a supplier to work with me?”

This is indeed a valid question. However, try to put yourself in the suppliers shoes for a moment. Chinese suppliers are accustomed to manufacture products according to the buyer’s specifications. This requires a serious commitment from the buyer. Suppliers listed on Alibaba, and other B2B directories, can receive large numbers of inquiries on a daily basis. They are, just like any business, doing what they can to cut through the clutter and avoid wasting time on leads that are unlikely to ever give a return. Continue reading Product Sourcing – Why Suppliers Keep Ignoring your Inquiries

Alibaba Suppliers – The 3 Biggest Myths and Misconceptions

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Myths about Alibaba

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You’ve heard the stories. Small businesses importing from China run into issues every day, and Alibaba is often (wrongly) blamed by buyers. But things are not always as simple as they may seem to be. In this article, we explain – and debunk – the three biggest myths and misconceptions about Alibaba.com, and its listed suppliers.

Myth #1: All Gold Suppliers are suitable for your product and quality requirements

We receive emails on a regular basis, from desperate importers that picked the wrong supplier online. Sometimes it regards payment frauds, but more often quality and compliance issues. This comes as a very unpleasant surprise for these importers, as they did their due diligence and picked a proper Gold Supplier. Continue reading Alibaba Suppliers – The 3 Biggest Myths and Misconceptions

Product Specifications When Importing from China: A Complete Guide

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Product Specifications

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The main reason many small businesses fail (as in losing a ton of money) when buying from China is because they contact a random supplier Alibaba, refer to a product listed in the supplier’s directory and specifies “good quality” as their only requirement.

That’s also where the problems begin. There’s no universal definition of what good quality really is. Neither will you ever win a court case in China (assuming that you could even afford one), because a supplier didn’t provide you with products compliant to your imaginary and vague definition of “good quality”. Instead, you shall provide your supplier with a product specification. In this article we explain why a product specification is needed, what it shall include and how things can turn bad if you don’t make one. Continue reading Product Specifications When Importing from China: A Complete Guide