Monthly Archives: October 2013

What an Unmotivated Contact Tells You About a Chinese Supplier

Have you ever worked with a Chinese supplier contact who seems to be very unresponsive to your concerns? He might be causing you a lot of headaches but you had to continue working with him. The supplier had good facility and the product you were looking for. It was just very difficult to deal with it because of your contact’s lack of motivation.

He only provided minimal support when you ask specifically what you needed to move on. What was worse was that you had to remind him of the request if you ever wanted to get it done.  He never thought of going one single extra mile. He said right to your face that you were the most picky customer he had ever served, when you asked him to redo a very tiny thing. What a nightmare.

This guy should have been fired by his boss but he was not. He was in this position for a longer time than you could ever imagine, were it a company in a comprehensible sense.

Beware, you are dealing with a problematic company.  Such sort of behaviors could stem from multiple causes.

You are not the type of customer whose requirement is compatible with the supplier’s usual mode of operations. It causes the supplier contact to feel that it takes more sweats for him to support than the “normal” type of customers he deals with. A supplier who exports to Africa most of the time would scratch their heads when he deals with a customer from more developed world where he has to provide support in certification, labeling, customization, accuracy in wording etc.

The supplier doesn’t provide the right incentives for their sales representatives. This would become a huge problem for the importer in the long run because he just could not get the needed support from an unmotivated supplier contact.

The factory/trading company you are dealing with isn’t well managed. A person without the right authority is assigned to customers. He isn’t able to allocate the resources in his company to support his customer and gradually he loses his patience to care his customers. You don’t ever expect resourceful support from such a supplier.

Nepotism exists in this supplier. You could be dealing with the boss’s nephew who really doesn’t need to worry about his promotion or job security. You could imagine that there’s someone like him in the material procurement department, quality management team and anywhere in this company.

The behavior of an unmotivated supplier contact is a red flag. As an importer sourcing from China, one should take care to look for the causes behind it. Consider switching from the supplier if you feel that the situation tends to continue and there’s just no way to change their way of doing things.

Varieties of Parties One May Encounter When Sourcing Glass Packaging from China

Glass Product Trading Companies

The contacts you may most likely find when sourcing glass packaging from China are trading companies. These companies may have a wide range of models in their catalogs for the buyer to choose from and they make money by reducing cost in the sources and adding their margins in the final prices.  In most cases these companies would tell you that they are factories or they have stakes in the factories that they present. However they will never tell you where the factory is and what it is. In fact we have learned that the trading companies rarely have exclusive distributorship. They may actually even buy from different factories instead of a single source. The trading companies control over the factories vary. The larger their trading value is, the tighter relationship they have with the factory.

If one does want to source from these trading companies, it is very important for a buyer to know exactly what the business model is with the trading company he is dealing with. They tend to lie about their relationship with the factory because they don’t want to lose the business opportunity with the buyer if they tell the truth of how they operate. The buyer may want to encourage honesty in such matters and assure that their add-value as a trading company is appreciated.

Individuals

Another type of contacts you may encounter in your sourcing is individual who claims to be representing a factory. In fact he or she may be a broker acting on his own and may mislead you in the whole process. In the end you may end up buying from a factory that is not the one that was “represented”.

Factories

Without professional assistance (or without great luck), the type of party that a foreign buyer is the least likely to reach is a real factory.

The reasons for this issue are:

– There are flooding trading companies and brokers on the internet and they make it very difficult to tell who is who.

– Glass factories are filled with customer orders and they don’t really have much incentive to make marketing efforts to make themselves known to new foreign buyers.  Most factories don’t even have websites or domains.

– Very few glass factories have a strong workforce for foreign trading.

Despite the difficulty in developing relationship with real glass factories,  the advantages of dealing with them directly are enormous. To name a few:

– Glass factories are capital intensive. Therefore your sales contract with the factory are well guaranteed by the factory’s ability to remedy issues.

– You can exchange AQL standards with the factory so you both parties are on the same standard of quality requirements to avoid disputes.

– You can send your representative to monitor quality control in production time or at the end of the production whereas in other cases you are not permitted with the access to production site.

– Factories have their strength, weakness and specialty in their production capabilities. By having direct relationship with the glass factories you are enabled to select the best fitting one for your project.

Sourcing Spectrum as a sourcing agency have extensive experience in dealing with glass factories and is the best sourcing partner for companies requiring glass packaging for cosmetics, food and beverage.

Assessing a Sourcing Agency for Your Support in China

Many companies rely on using support from sourcing agencies to handle their supplies in China.

For those companies just started to select such a partnership, a very wide range of different sort of agencies are out there for consideration. We hereby offer a score card as a guideline for your assessment.

To have a successful and consistent flow of importing, you would need a full range of support from sourcing to operations. You don’t expect this from individuals who work alone and who are not able to  maintain a consistent service standard.

For rendering such full sourcing support in a professional manners, an agency should have its standard processes, well trained and stable staff in the multiple disciplines, experience and know-how on the products your company is dealing with and ideally a host of proprietary tool sets to support the tasks.

In your interview with your candidates, learn from them about these four important components that construct a well functioning agency.

Assessing Sourcing Agencies