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    1. Raynard is offline

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      #1

      Should I Travel to China to find suppliers?

      My company has been using one supplier here in the US for a lot of our products. We sell high-end textiles and are looking into using suppliers from China who are higher up on the supply chain; however, I’m not sure I should go directly to the manufacturers and visit them myself. Is it worth it for me to travel to China to find suppliers?
      Over 150,000 Verified Sources + Deals 95% Off MSRP + Free Website!

    2. dealsrus is offline

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      #2
      There are several factors that are critical to answering your question. First, it depends on the goods that you want to source. Something like textiles will most likely be cheaper in China, and if you’re already getting most of your textiles directly from China through a domestic supplier then it would make absolute sense to get closer to the source. However, if you can’t buy a higher volume of goods or buy a company’s minimum purchase, you won’t get a better price.

      Before you make any trips to China to check things out for yourself, there are a few things to consider:

      1. Because you’re shipping large volumes of potentially heavy items, China might not be the best place to source from. The shipping costs could be prohibitive, along with the lead times. It typically takes about a month for goods to arrive from China, which is an important factor to take into consideration.

      2. Consider what the best practices are in your industry. Does your competition source directly from China? If so, that should encourage you to investigate further. If not, you must ask yourself if you really want to jump through all of the hurdles just to make a bit more profit. Is there a better option or could you potentially be the first to find a new source?

      3. Once you are sure that you need suppliers in China, the real hard work begins: Do tons of research on Chinese suppliers and figure out who you want to visit and how long it would take you to do a full tour of each facility. Also, figure out how long it would take you to inspect and verify the products you want to source. There are databases out there that list Chinese suppliers like:

      GlobalSources.com (a large directory of Chinese manufacturers)

      Manufacturers: Global Sources

      Esources.co.uk (a trade site that houses manufacturers, distributors, etc., listed worldwide)

      Wholesale Suppliers & UK Wholesale Products Trade Directory - eSources.co.uk

      4. Once you’ve narrowed down your search of suppliers to pinpoint your product, shipping needs, etc., you’ll have a short list of, say, your top 10 suppliers. At this point, you need to contact them all. I would recommend emailing, as the Chinese generally know how to write English better than speaking it. It’s also cheaper that way. Get prices quotes for the goods you’re interested in, talk about payment methods, minimum order quantities, and so forth.

      Checking each company thoroughly will ultimately save you money and headache. I’ve heard of situations where people have sent in payment and never received any goods, ever. I’ve heard of companies receiving shipments that were completely defective. I can’t emphasize enough the value of research. You’ll be glad you did it.

      One thing to consider at this point is ordering samples or trying a minimum order. Sampling is one more step in the process of assessing each supplier. I personally wouldn’t fly to China to check out a factory if I hadn’t even seen the product yet. The decision, of course, should be based on the particulars of your situation. If you’re already familiar with certain textiles from China, you wouldn’t necessarily need to see a sample.

      5. At this point, let’s say you have five suppliers you want to check out. You are ready to book a flight, but you’ll need to let your suppliers know beforehand that you’re coming.

      6. A critical part of the process of visiting a manufacturer or wholesaler is a factory audit. If you don’t know what’s involved in an audit, I would recommend using a firm to perform an audit. Outsourcing an audit is generally cheaper than visiting yourself, and if you find a reputable company to conduct the audit you save yourself the trip.

      Another advantage to hiring out the audit is that these types of firms are experts in factory audits. You can always choose a firm that has a foreign base outside of China to assure unbiased results. Ask around for references within your industry to develop a list of firms that conduct audits.

      There are lots of companies out there that specifically target business with China, but here are a few to explore so you can see what they offer.

      Daily Travel

      Daily Travel is a business consulting firm, and they will help you learn the culture, etiquette, connect you with businesses, and even work on your business plan for growth in China. They also offer sessions on how to do business in china and how to prepare for travel within China.

      DAILEY TRAVEL LLC - China Business Consulting
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      This is the Service You Need.

    3. Thank you for this post:

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    4. Raynard is offline

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      #3
      It sounds like I could potentially conduct a pretty thorough review of a manufacturer from my home base. What about trade shows? Are they useful?

    5. Sydboy75 is offline

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      #4
      Some people find trade shows valuable. You should be able to find one that specifically targets your industry.

      I’ve been to China trade shows in the US, but wasn’t very impressed. The number of suppliers was small and less representative of the goods I sell. I’ve never been to a trade show in China, but I do know that because of the location those shows get a higher sampling of suppliers.

    6. dealsrus is offline

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      #5

      Quote:

      Originally Posted by Raynard View Post
      It sounds like I could potentially conduct a pretty thorough review of a manufacturer from my home base. What about trade shows? Are they useful?
      If you’re leaning toward a visit to China, you could combine a trade show with your trip. The trade shows should list the companies that are a part of the show so you can research them beforehand, and you might be able to connect with some suppliers that you are already interested in.

    7. Sydboy75 is offline

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      #6
      One thing to know about trade shows is that not all the vendors represented, will be suppliers. Some companies are actually trade companies passing themselves off as a factory, which means that you’ll be quoted a higher price.

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      #8
      Before you start to research any suppliers in China, it’s critical to know your product and your market. I made that mistake when I started sourcing from China. For instance, if your profit hangs on the volume of sales of a product that is cheap, you need to be sure that your supplier will be able to produce that volume for you at the price you require.

      I personally would only recommend traveling to China to find a supplier if that particular product was essential to my business. I would have to be able to justify the travel time, costs, and all of the effort to make it worthwhile.

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