When it comes to outsourcing your product manufacturing to China, doing your own legwork regarding manufacturer selection is strongly recommended. Once you have a manufacturer shortlist, however, it will make sense to engage a Chinese sourcing agent to help you make your final selection, as well as to assist in managing the relationship with your new overseas manufacturer.
Of course, working with any overseas business partner can be tricky, so hiring a sourcing agent is no guarantee that all will be rosy with your offshore venture. The odds will be greatly improved though, if you take the time and make the effort to build a good business relationship with your Chinese sourcing agent.
Start the Partnership Face-to-Face
While some companies are happy to engage a Chinese sourcing agent without ever meeting a representative in person, you should not to follow their example, because you can build a much stronger relationship by spending time with your agent on Chinese soil, and you should in any case visit shortlisted manufacturers and their facilities before making a final selection and establishing a deal.
In addition, when your agent and prospective manufacturers know you will be meeting them face-to-face, they know that you are serious about seeking a Chinese manufacturing partner for your product.
Be Present at Manufacturer Meetings
In Chinese business and industrial culture, relationships are vitally important. By physically visiting your prospective manufacturing partners, you’ll be able to demonstrate your desire to build a strong and lasting relationship.
Your commitment will be appreciated and can bring you benefits in many areas, including pricing and attention to quality from your chosen manufacturer.
Ask your Chinese sourcing agent to accompany your company representatives on a round of meetings with shortlisted manufacturers. This will make for more productive meetings with fewer misunderstandings and again, will help to get relationships between your company, the agent, and the manufacturer off to a solid start.
Be Realistic in Your Expectations
Your Chinese sourcing agent can achieve many things, and may promise to achieve many more. However, agents are not miracle workers and business is business, even in China. Therefore, it’s unrealistic to expect top quality products and reliable shipments at a rock-bottom price.
It’s more realistic to focus on the highest priority, and work with your sourcing agent to contract with the manufacturer best able to service it. If you must get the lowest-possible price from a manufacturer, be prepared to accept trade-offs in terms of quality and/or supply chain reliability.
On the other hand, if you need reliable supply times and high-quality production, expect to pay a premium for it, much as you would anywhere else, although the manufacturing cost should still be well below Western prices.
Choose Your Chinese Sourcing Agent Carefully
While the majority of Chinese sourcing agents are no doubt business people of the highest integrity, exceptions do exist, as some Western companies have found out to their cost. Finding a sourcing agent requires just as much diligence as finding a manufacturer in China.
A China sourcing agent can not only help identify reliable suppliers but also handle everything: requesting quotes, finalizing a supplier, drawing up payment terms, asking for sample runs, and so on.
Like QTC, the company has experience in sourcing and manufacturing a wide range of products. Most of its team members have over 10 years of experience in the industry. QTC provides many professional manufacturing suggestions to clients for free and handles from raw material to final products. Its IPQC system will make sure every product is in good condition and the company always believes “every customer deserves a high-quality product.”