I would like to emphasize the importance of personally visiting your suppliers in China. You may have heard that some consultants do not see the necessity to go to China at all. They suggest their clients order samples and place orders based on the results of their sample evaluation.
I strongly advise you against this and will explain why. My more than 25 years experience of importing goods from China has taught me otherwise.
Why Make the Trip?
There are of course some very large manufacturers in China with quality assurance organizations to guarantee a relatively consistent quality of products. With them, you can be more easygoing but chances are they cannot offer you the most competitive prices because of their bigger organization costs money. Often they have distribution channels in your home country making it less desirable to buy from them.
You will usually deal with smaller or medium size factories which need clear instructions from you and this is best done by meeting face-to-face. One of the issues working with a middleman or agency is that they may be knowledgeable about a variety of products, but not necessarily sufficiently experienced in any of them. In the end, there is no way of getting around the fact that the Chinese mentality favors frequent personal contact with overseas trading partners and visiting their factory is the way to go.
Be Prepared for Surprises
The smaller or medium size factories can usually offer you the most competitive prices and since you want to maximize your profit from importing, they will probably be your best partners.
By visiting your preselected factories, you can make your decisions about whom you want to strike a deal with after concluding your negotiations.
During your factory visits, you will be in for many surprises and you may have to revise the first judgment you arrived at from previous communication with some of the factories. You will find that some factories are smaller than expected and have only a limited production capacity available on their own premises. They do not want to miss out on your orders and hire a subcontractor to produce for them instead.
This is totally unacceptable because these subcontractors are usually inferior in quality management and care less about your orders because you are not their direct customer. If a factory has this policy, simply don't work with them if you want to stay out of trouble.
The Importing Consultant
Another way you can achieve superior results is by employing a neutral company as your personal consultant. They have gained the needed understanding and knowledge to effectively deal with Chinese manufacturers and provide their service at an affordable cost. Simply send your requirements to them and they will have them executed in the best possible way. You also do not need to worry about inferior factories because they have ways avoiding them. You have to make sure that they have no special relationship with any factory to be sure that they will strictly follow only your instructions.
Klaus-Dieter Hanke is a professional exporter/importer for more than 2 decades. He is the author of a successful eight ebook series “Importing from China".
His company WebMediaBiz provides consultancy services to worldwide importers.
Claim his free eBook “7 Tips to more Successfully Import from China" from his website => http://www.webmediabiz.com now.