Disclaimer: This is the second part of our Find reliable suppliers in China: for beginners Blog, if you haven’t read the first part click here
Once you’ve narrowed your options, you need to approach the new potential suppliers and ask them several key questions that will help you to make the final decision about your new manufacturing partner in China.
Trusted and experienced suppliers would normally respond without troubles, to questions related to the following topics:
1. First and most important factor for your check list MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity), this is a really important factor because if you are new manufacturing abroad, your first orders won’t be big, and some manufacturers don’t sell or manufacture orders below certain quantity. So before contacting the potential suppliers you need to take into account how many pieces are you willing to manufacture, and remember a simple market rule, the bigger the amount, the lower the prices.
2. Secondly, you need to ask about the pricing for samples, even though some suppliers will offer free samples, these will be normally for off the shelf items, so if you’re looking for an unique product you need to add the price of the first samples to the final quotation, having some samples in your hands will allow you to detect potential quality issues and to make sure that the manufacturer understands your needs before the commencement of the manufacture, in some cases the cost for the samples will be deducted from the final production price in case you decide to work with the supplier.
3. Thirdly, the production costs; this is one the determinant factors for majority of the manufacturing projects, make sure to ask your potential manufacturers to send you quotations for two or three production volumes, this will show you how the prices will reduce according to the volumes and also can help to make a decision about the size of the batch, aside of the factory costs, make sure to add all the shipping and import related costs and tariffs, to obtain a final price.
4. Fourthly, ask your potential Chinese supplier about the lead times, this should not only include the time needed for the manufacturing process but also the time needed for shipping the products, this is an important factor to consider if you’re looking to have your products ready for a specific season of the year.
5. Lastly, make sure you and the supplier have clear payment terms, ask the manufacturer about his accepted payment terms and make sure those terms suit you, in some occasions for new projects, the factories will ask for a 100% payment upfront, but for regular clients this will change to two or three installments in between the whole production process.
Once you’ve gathered all this information and have compared you different options, you need to choose your new supplier in China, normally the next step would be to ask the supplier for a sample or prototype of your desired good to test the quality.
After you’ve received the samples of your product, make sure to check carefully the product looking for potential quality pitfalls, it’s important to mention that rarely the suppliers get it right on the first try, even more if it’s an unique product, so be strict in terms of quality, this will ensure that your products will be manufactured, the same way you need them.
The amount of samples will depend on the complexity of the product, but, if after some tryouts the supplier simply doesn’t get it this should turn on a red light, and might mean that you need to go for your second option.
In spite the fact that China has become better in terms of quality and manufacturing techniques, some pitfalls might still occur, but if you follow the previous recommendations, make sure that the risk is lower and also will ensure that you will commence a successful relationship with your new supplier in China.