• Elksourcing:Common Mistakes Made by Importers

    Elksourcing:Common Mistakes Made by Importers

    During my experience of helping business people sourcing from China, I’ve seen many mistakes that importers made when sourcing from China. Below are 8 most common mistakes: 1. Using PayPal Almost all beginner guides will tell you, only choose suppliers who accept PayPal. We say otherwise. There are a couple issues when it comes to using PayPal. You’re required to pay service fees. This can end up costing a ton and ruining your profit margins.  A lot of guides will explain, PayPal is great for that added piece of insurance. The problem with this, if you’re using PayPal as a piece of mind to know your supplier can’t run away with your money, then you have not been vigilant enough with your sourcing. You should never choose a supplier unless you are absolutely confident they are capable of performing to your qualifications. International Trade is an industry that is older than…

  • Elksourcing:Why Chinese Suppliers Ignore Your RFQ?

    Elksourcing:Why Chinese Suppliers Ignore Your RFQ?

    It happens often, you, as a buyer, after hours or days searching on Alibaba, has found a promising Chinese supplier, and sent out a RFQ (Request For Quotation). The next day, and next few days, you check your mailbox but nothing happens, you have not heard back from the Chinese supplier at all. Why Chinese suppliers ignore your RFQ? When sending the RFQ, do you fall in below bad situations which quenching the fire of the supplier motivation? 1-  Wide-open RFQ shows you do not know what exactly you look for. These broad inquiries are heavy on generalities and low on specifics. If the supplier is responsible and not too busy, they may come back and ask the buyer questions, in hopes to nail down some specifications. Otherwise, the supplier simply puts your RFQ in low quality category and ignores it. 2- No indication of time frame. An indication of time frame…

  • Elksourcing:12 Common Mistakes of Importing from China

    Elksourcing:12 Common Mistakes of Importing from China

    During the daily practice of importing from China, I’ve learned 12 common mistakes from various clients I dealt with. Here are the details: 1. Looking for the lowest price If you purchase something below market price, you are taking very high risks. Either quality will not be up to your standard, or you are about to get scammed. 2. Letting the supplier ship without checking product quality Once a production batch is on a boat, it’s too late. Verify quality yourself, or pay for quality inspection services. And do it systematically, at least for the first 5 shipments (after that, you can do random skip-lot QC). 3. Failing to realize that pre-production samples are selling tools Many buyers who are surprised that samples are not representative of bulk production. But getting an order and a cash deposit is one thing, and manufacturing the goods is another thing! Your job is…

  • Elksourcing:How to Enforce Your Quality Standards in China?

    Elksourcing:How to Enforce Your Quality Standards in China?

    How can importers establish a quality standard, and then enforce it? Here are 4 proven ways to handle your suppliers in China. 1. Insist on getting a “perfect” sample Whenever possible, you should have a perfect sample (i.e. a prototype that is conform in all points to what you want to receive) in your hands before production is launched. The best practice is to get at least two samples, and send one back to the factory with your signature/stamp on it. This is the most basic way to establish your quality standard. The difficulty will be in the enforcement. In China, in General, factories know that sending very nice samples is what helps them get orders. These perfect samples (prepared by experimented technicians who take their time) are usually better than what can be made in mass production. Suppliers simply assume that the buyers know it. And in any case,…

  • Elksourcing:Types of Supplier and Types of Product in China

    Elksourcing:Types of Supplier and Types of Product in China

    During my daily work of helping western businessmen purchasing goods from China, I’ve seen many back and forth negotiations between supplier and buyer. But in fact, much negotiation time could be saved and the process could be less frustrating if the buyer could perhaps understand things from the supplier’s point of view before you start contacting them. Types of supplier In China as with the rest of the world, this can vary hugely. One supplier might be a factory with thousands of staff and at the other end of the scale you might have a mother of one working from home to try and pay the bills, along with many middle men in between. The difference in China is that it might not always be that clear exactly who you are dealing with. The mother is as likely to tell you that she is a factory as the factory itself. The…

  • Elksourcing:What to Do if Your China Factory is Low Standard?

    Elksourcing:What to Do if Your China Factory is Low Standard?

    Do you work with a factory in China, and wish their quality standard were a bit higher? You are not alone. What to Do if Your China Factory is Low Standard? Here are six pieces of advice you can follow in this case. 1. Say it, and write it, to your factory If you don’t communicate your dissatisfaction, nothing will happen. Here is an example of message you can send: “The customers who shop in our stores expect a relatively high quality (higher than average). We don’t want them to think, ‘Oh, these products are also made in China’. Either we keep our quality standard up, or we will need to stop purchasing from your company.” 2. Give early feedback It is the whole purpose of inspections during production: give a warning if the average quality is too low, while the manufacturer still has time to do corrections. If you only perform…

  • Elksourcing:How to Evaluate China Suppliers?

    Elksourcing:How to Evaluate China Suppliers?

    Whether sourcing from China or elsewhere, one of the most important things you as a buyer need to do is to make sure you are working with the right supplier. So where do you start? Define your ideal supplier. Buyers should first define their “ideal supplier.” This is unique to each buyer and depends on a number of factors, including price, quality, order QTY and lead time. Define your location. Where factories are based should also play a role in supplier evaluation. While factories in China‘s northern and western provinces have lower manufacturing costs, the quality is often lower, also, they are far from port so domestic logistics costs and lead time could be concerns. Those located along the coast and in the southern region have higher production outlay but the quality is generally better, plus close to port. Look in the right places. Although nowadays leading B2B websites can help buyers…

  • Elksourcing:China Quality Control Reminders

    Elksourcing:China Quality Control Reminders

    While China quality control is no longer a nightmare, there is still a lot of “hand holding” required to ensure suppliers fully understand your specs and have the ability to maintain quality. Only through physical inspection of the facilities and review of actual production samples will you gain a true understanding of your supplier’s ability. If you are unable to make the trip yourself, there are independent QC agents that can assist with this qualification and analysis process. Always see an actual production sample from the actual supplier. It may sound simple, but you would be surprised at the number of so-called suppliers who actual trading companies that farm things out to sub-suppliers without full disclosure to the buyer. This creates an additional level of margins. More importantly, should a problem in quality arise, the lines of communication are complicated by middlemen. Ask the supplier to provide their internal QC documentation. For…

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