Are you looking to importing products from China? Before you proceed with an order and pay the bill, pls look at below 4 aspects, they will help you get into serious sourcing business.
Why do you need to figure out the product specifications?
1). Your potential suppliers will have to make an official quotation based on your required product details.
2). In China, there are many quality levels: basic quality, okay quality, good quality, excellent quality etc. You won’t like too much surprise especially on price and quality because of misunderstanding on product specifications.
3). The supplier might want to cut corners where the product requirement is “blurring”. If you don’t confirm with them as much detail as possible, they can be too lazy to mention OR they are more willingly to just let it go.
4). Most suppliers only have the initiative to make an offer if you know specifically what you need in detail. They tend to think you are a serious buyer only when you have specific order needs.
5). To provide specs of what you want to import from China can highly increase the efficiency of the entire import process, especially in the inquiry and offer round.
2. Packaging Specifications
Packaging can be discussed after the sample order in terms of different product categories. But keep in mind to get a basic picture with your supplier about whether the packing is included in the pricing and how the package will be like.
Primary packaging – first envelops your product, usually the smallest unit of distribution
Secondary packaging – the layer outside the primary packaging, can be used to avoid being stolen or group primary packages together
Tertiary packaging – used for bulk handling, warehouse storage and transportation, most commonly packed in pallets
There are many packaging categories in terms of materials, for example, Corrugated Boxes, White Boxes, Cardboard Cartons, Paper Bags and Sacks etc. Different product lines will use specific packaging material.
How to deal with the product regulations, certificates, standards and compliance?
A. Where – the “go-to” options for compliance information
1). Testing labs (SGS, UL, Intertek etc.)
2). Customs Brokers
If you work with some customs broker for years, and build up a good relationship, you can try to ask and they will likely tell you for free.
B. What to confirm?
Which countries do you want to sell the products in?
USA, Canada, France, UK, Australia etc.
What information to get confirmed?
1) What tests need to be done for what purpose?
2) What is the cost for the various tests?
3) How long will it take to do the tests?
4) More information case by case.
4. Supplier Portraits
It’s necessary to draw your ideal supplier portraits because you might not stick to your standards for what type of suppliers to choose from, along with the long way where you are looking for your right Chinese supplier and might overlook certain important baselines.
Write it down at the very beginning so that you can leverage for the final supplier option and make sure the change (if any) is reasonable instead of being too excited about some too good to be true offers.
The groundwork is always tedious but it’s definitely worthwhile. It can avoid spending your time on suppliers that don’t well match your needs, meanwhile, you will build a good start on your importing project. It’s just like playing a stacking game. If you don’t stack right and well from the first layer, the blocks will fall and you will have to do it over again.