The most important factor in determining the success or failure of your sourcing program will be finding the right supplier. It sounds obvious, but making detailed comparisons and verifications of vendors at a professional level can be daunting. By following below procedures, things may turn easier.

Your sourcing feasibility study and supplier identification research should have a clear methodology for defining and measuring the desired attributes of the ideal supplier.

Step One “Defining”:

The “right supplier” is unique to each buyer, as the relative weight placed on price, quality, lead time and other attributes differs from project to project.

Step Two “Measuring”:

Focus on those factories that can clearly show production experience with your particular product or production method.

Be aware that polished English skills do not reflect production skills. Often the most polished websites are set up by trading companies.

Review the candidates’ websites and brochures against your desired attribute list, contact each candidate by the follow ways:

Send an e‐mail or make a phone call to ask for initial product‐specific information (price, minimum order size, lead time).

Are samples available? If they don’t have samples readily available, they probably don’t deal in your product on a regular basis.

Confirm the actual production location and ask for ownership papers of the factory. Be explicit that the production location may be audited and that this location cannot be changed without approval of buyer.

The above research should narrow the field down to about 2~3 highly qualified candidates. At this stage, visit the factories in person to review quality systems, confirm production methods, negotiate pricing and look for any red flags. In other words, visit the production facility to confirm the information given during the initial research was accurate and truthful. This is an essential yet often overlooked step by those looking to cut corners during research. Unfortunately, due to the massive number of trading companies and aggressive China sales staff who will say almost anything to get your business, visiting the production line in person is the only way to confirm the real situation.

If you cannot visit the factories by yourself, hire a verified QC company to do it for you.

Based on the results of the factory visits, the next phase is sampling, trial order, if you are happy with all the results, you may have find the right supplier, and can proceed with purchase order placement.


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