China has got certain benefits in terms of overseas sourcing, however, in order to do it properly, a professional is needed. Do you know how to qualify a sourcing agent? You may ask below 10 questions.
1)What sort of services can a sourcing agent offer?
Obtaining products from China is often underestimated. It requires good amount of hard work, knowledge and expertise in this domain. Ask your agent to demonstrate what can he or she do to manage your project ‘end-to-end’ and this will save a lot of time in inspecting companies, customs, freight forwarders and collaborating agents.
2) What can the sourcing agent source?
You may come across some agents who have a wide network in a market and they can help you to purchase different products. With large database and purchasing system, such agents can penetrate various markets and get you a product at an affordable costing. A good sourcing agent will have a systematic approach to manage your project.
3) How can you be sure of the price?
To know ‘fair market value’, you should go for open market tendering, instead of just creating just a few established contacts. This will let you know the average cost prevailing in a marketplace and will give you a peace of mind that you are not being overcharged.
4) Will the agent give you full details of suppliers?
Most of the sourcing agents will prevent you from knowing their suppliers, they try to withhold their details so that you rely on them. But, when you are selecting a sourcing agent, ensure that they are transparent and provide you with every detail. This can be quite beneficial for you. In case, if you and your agent relationship ceases, you will not be out of products, as you can directly contact the suppliers.
5) Does the sourcing agent have good knowledges about factories?
A professional and reliable sourcing agent will get quotes from many suppliers so that you can decide who can suit your needs. If the sourcing agent is professional, he or she will suggest you a trustworthy supplier who can meet your requirement.
6) Is the owner of the sourcing agency firm Chinese?
Many agencies can be non-Chinese, who have made a few contacts, done a few business trips and are trying to fit in the Chinese marketplace. Whenever you pick a consultant, make sure that the owner is Chinese so that he or she can give you a clear picture of the market that can help you to be successful.
7) Are you going to have a single point of contract?
In case of single point of contract, this will save a lot of money and time from being passed from one person to another.
8) How is their ability in English?
Email is the only channel used to conduct business. Hence, agents with good English written ability and communicating ability is important to avoid any sort of inadequate communication.
9) Do they have any sort of experience in West and East?
Sourcing agents with bi-cultural experience and knowledge will help them to do create a better approach while doing business. A bicultural agent is someone who understands Western and Chinese culture. Choosing such an agent will give you smooth access in different markets and he or she can negotiate with the supplier.
10) How can you ensure the quality?
Throughout the sourcing process, there must be a quality control unit. Your agent must work closely with factory and managers so that he or she can satisfy your demands.
On reading these points, you can understand which questions are needed to ask before you think of selecting a reliable sourcing agent from China.