You’ve clearly given this some thought if you’re reading this. You’ve been noticing your competitors lowering their prices to get ahead but you can’t simply can’t because you have a range of overheads. And you know that this trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Importing products from off-shore lower wage countries is a viable option – but where do you start?

Why not go direct to the factory? There are heaps of options on Ali Baba and more. Wouldn’t that keep the supply chain shorter – and more cost effective?

Have you considered using a Procurement Agency to do the heavy lifting instead? Let’s explore how a specialist procurement agency can benefit you.

Experience

Business in China is different. We’ve learn that from operating factories and businesses in China – for over a decade. We’ve operated factories in Australia for even longer. We understand the locals intimately in China just as much as we appreciate all the challenges you face in operating your business here in Australia.

We all speak Mandarin – and between the whole team an extra 8-9 other languages and dialects. Many of us are also engineers and designers – mechanical, industrial and manufacturing.

Our relationships with (good) manufacturers based in China are close. These relationships, particularly with each of these owners is critical as it means that they have a better appreciation of things which do matter to Australian importers – price, quality, proper packaging, AQIS requirements, and even an understanding of Australian OHS consequences should pallets fall apart.

We’re specialists and have a clear understanding of market conditions, pricing, documentation and the like.

Unless you’re large enough and import enough product to employ someone with specialist expertise, we can handle the whole sourcing, quality control and importing logistics far more effectively. We know how to write a cast-iron specification, contract or PO – all in Chinese. Our existing networks mean that we can find prospective suppliers and get samples more quickly. We can design and develop products for you and get them drafted in CAD or Solidworks. We know what freight options are available and practical. We understand customs duties and processes. And because we’re doing this full-time, we’re always up-to-date with changes.

Independent Presence On The Ground

It’s not possible to run a Quality Control regime remotely relying entirely on your chosen supplier. Like in Australia, when things go wrong, its far easier to fix it there and then.

Having an independent team on the ground who do not work for your manufacturer means that we look after your interests, not theirs’. Our teams in China, many of whom are English-speaking locals have strong networks and are able to locate a suitable supplier for you efficiently while acting on your behalf.

This means that we are able to exponentially increase your manufacturing or purchasing manager’s effectiveness – allowing your manager to focus on the other areas of the business which require their attention.

Language and Cultural Challenges

It’s a different world operating in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. None of these countries have populations who speak English widely.

Not everyone in China speaks Mandarin either! There are many people, particularly the older generation only speak their local dialect. Our office in Hangzhou for example have staff who speak Ningbonese, Hokkien, Hakka and Cantonese – all languages completely foreign to someone speaking Mandarin.

China has a trade history which spans many thousands of years. In that time, a whole range of cultural and business practices have developed which are fundamentally different to Australia’s. Some can be regarded as somewhat offensive to those who have never operated in that environment before and vice versa. We’ve seen business relationships break down over the lack of cultural understanding compounded further by the absence of a common language.

We can help guide you in this journey. We may be a bunch of engineers who have decided to become purchasing agents but we add a lot more value by providing guidance on how to navigate Chinese suppliers.

The same applies the other way as we often hear from these manufacturers their peculiarities. We help by bridging some of these differences for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Understanding Negotiation

Local staff with an understanding of the local business culture are by far the best equipped to negotiate a good deal. It’s not simply a matter of haggling over price – it’ more subtle (and sophisticated) as you are far more likely to find trade-offs. For example, a minor modification may lead to a cheaper manufacturing process without affecting quality control, or where a change in volume means the order is better suited to a different sized factory.

And when it comes to shipping, you benefit further from the import agency’s existing relationships with freight forwarders and other logistics suppliers. The agency’s total traffic from you and other clients makes them more important to the suppliers and helps improve rates and service.

Quality Control

It’s a no-brainer to establish that it’s way easier and cheaper to conduct QA on your own. What happens when you’ve off-shored your production? If you have a reliable supplier, everything is simply easier. What happens is you don’t?

You can find a supplier on the web, but how do you really know what their product is like? Even if they send you samples, are you sure the final product will be the same quality?

Using a specialist procurement agency like SourceWorxs, with local presence and existing relationships, minimises the risk of quality issues right from the start. What’s more, our staff in China are in a position to offer factory audits, quality control and pre shipment inspection efficiently and cost-effectively. Imagine if you don’t discover quality issues until after you import the product to Australia. Or you can fly someone out to China two or three times in a lead up to a container being packed to inspect and approve your product quality. Wouldn’t that be monumentally expensive and time-consuming?

Opportunity Cost

Of all the benefits, this may actually be the most important. Unless you were hired specifically to deal with sourcing product, do you really want to spend your time handling the hundreds of details -product specification, supplier prospecting, quality control, contracts, import, freight schedules, warehousing and fulfilment? Or would you rather leave that to your specialist sourcing agency so you can focus on your main role and make a more effective difference to the success of your business?

“We work for you, not the manufacturer. It’s that simple”

Andrew Karter Client
Heng Jiang Cheng

Director, SourceWorxs