Outsourcing to Chinese manufacturers and suppliers can be a huge risk, but you can mitigate these hazards by hiring sourcing agents in China that can serve as your local representative. Some of the most successful businesses in the world work with sourcing agents to ensure high quality and timely delivery. A sourcing agent will act as your eyes and ears on site; they will make sure that everything your orders pass your quality standards and are made according to your requirements and terms.
Hiring a sourcing agent in China is not as easy as going online and contacting the first company you see. You want a long-term partner, after all—a team that you feel comfortable entrusting your supply chain to. It’s important to take your time in selecting an agent.
The first thing you should ask for is their portfolio. How many years of experience do they have in the industry? What are their services and areas of expertise? Where in China are they headquartered? Don’t forget to check their management team. It’s often a good idea to work with sourcing companies headed by Westerners who speak your language and understand the way you work. Some of the top sourcing agents in China are Western owned companies with multiple offices around the world.
The best sourcing agents have established themselves in the industry and have built partnerships with local suppliers, manufacturers, vendors, logistic companies, auditors, inspectors, and more. Hiring a local sourcing agent with a vast network is essential; they should know the market like the back of their hand. They should be aware of the price fluctuations, customs regulations, country-specific clearances, international standards and more.
Rome was not built in a day, and when it comes to establishing trust, the same applies. The finest sourcing agents in China will understand that you want to safeguard yourself from wasting any money or resources. Order a sample first and when you are satisfied, purchase a small batch to check their duplicating capabilities and consistency. If you trust the sourcing agents and suppliers or manufacturers after the test order, then order a large batch. You can also choose to add a little more regularly to every order—you don’t have to jump immediately to ordering a large batch. Both have their benefits and downsides.