Sourcing & Importing frequently asked questions
How can I be sure the quality standards will be met?
We deal with a sample and with companies who already made the right product now, or if new, similar products. This alone makes a great difference. The sample and specification become the agreement. Money changes hands on that agreement. We get the items inspected independently before shipment, which adds to piece of mind. There is always risk, but from experience, most issues occur where the specification is either not clear enough, or a client retrospectively introduces a technical or packing detail that they assumed everyone knows. The Far East is full of good business people and they understand the value of the second order, things can go wrong, but then people come to us in order to remove or reduce that risk.
How long will the goods take to reach me?
Typically 2 to 3 months from order. Occasionally less, but rarely more. Production is usually 20 ¨C 30 days, and shipping is typically a month.
Won¡¯t you also sell to my competitors?
We are prepared to sign a confidentially agreement, stating we will not sell anyone the same product for at least a year or longer after the last shipment for you. We are in the business of building up long term relationships with clients, not merely selling products, so we do not sell on the same products to others
How much do I need to buy?
Whilst everybody assumes you have to buy in FCL (full container loads), many orders are less. FCL are the best value for shipping, however volumes can be two cubic meters and upwards. The only aspect understandably is cost of shipping as a proportion of the goods - the smaller the amount, then the higher the shipping cost is as a total percentage of the deal, and the less the savings may be. Value is far more relevant than volume. Typical deals are ¡ê8,000 - ¡ê12,000 but we find manufacturers are not interested if the spend is less than ¡ê3,000 - ¡ê4,000.
What currency do I deal in?
If the cost is delivered, then understandably it is in your local currency ¡ê, $, € . If the client is worried about currency fluctuations, then it can be in RMB, the Chinese currency if you wish.
Can we source quality items?
This is a most telling state of affairs. According to a BBC news report in November 2002, 50% of the worlds cameras, 30% of the worlds TV¡¯s, 20% of the world¡¯s fridges, 10% of the world¡¯s computer monitors and 37% of the world¡¯s hard disk drives all come from China. Admittedly many more basic items (toys, furniture and the like) come over, but we are seeing huge quality producers such as Motorola, Philips & GE are now producing over in the Far East. Quality can be excellent.
What if, despite all the assurances, the products are not up to scratch?
The agreement is with the sample and specification. If in the unlikely event the product is different to that, then we work to resolve the problem. Be it replacement goods, correction of the product, reduction in price what is the most practical solution for both parties. Business is always a relationship game, and almost all of our clients are after repeat orders, so want to find a practical solution going forward. We never walk away. This is a major benefit of dealing with Product Sourcing Services.
What can go wrong?
Assumptions and timings. If it was not agreed for the goods to be packed in 50¡¯s then they may come in outers of 20¡¯s or 100¡¯s; they may wrap in paper or left loose etc., It is the little details that we work hard to quantify, the assumptions are one risk. The other is a slight risk of delay in shipping, or slight risk of damage in transit.
Customs are understandably a rule to themselves and can have a delaying capability as can the weather.
We insure all goods, inspect before shipment, and use the best of our experience to check all that we can, but as mentioned it is the small oversights that will catch us out if anything will. The sample not inspected correctly, so for example glue fails in heavy use; rust from salt air, on painted goods where no antirust paint was specified; inadequate packing during transportation etc,.