To make your design produced, this is concerning about a partner manufacturer.
1.Sign NDA(non-disclosure agreement )with supplier not to disclose of your design.
2.Requiring samples from the supplier that make items similar with your design to make sure they can do a good work for your production. You need to check quality or workmanship of the items from the suppliers. You can asking from 2-3 suppliers and see which one is best.
3.More things need to considering bassed on what items you are going to manufacture.
4.Have an inspection after goods ready, if possible, have a list like report of the item, as well as the percentage of defectives, so, from the first trial order, you can check if this supplier is able to cooperate with you.
If you are going to import from china, there would be cost at your port, usually they are shipping cost,VAT,duty, port cost, handling fee, unloading fee, etc.
This is because you use a China local forwarder to ship the goods to you, I am sure the forwarder is arranged by your supplier, if by CIF terms, it is just costing them 1-10$ per cbm, some even give free freight to the supplier, and forwarder just put those fee into the debit of buyers(destination port).
The best solution is you search a forwarder locally, in this way the local charge will be much cheaper, certainly, before you working with them, ask them to send you a quote for LCL and FCL, then you just need to give contact to supplier for booking shipping space for shipment, or ask forwarder to contact supplier, you can even ask the forwarder to pick up goods from the supplier and ship to you.
For me, sometime my clients do not have a forwarder for shipping, I will use my cooperated forwarder, but besides asking price of freight, I also ask them to quote the destination port cost, this will avoid them charge too much to my clients.
Since business model is changed effected by internet online shopping development, from distributor to wholesaler, retailers and online stores do not buy from distributor or wholesaler in their country locally any more, specially affected by more and more Chinese wholesale business offered in China, such like DHgate and Aliexpress platforms offer wholesale products from China, nowadays, ebay, amanzon and online stores owners just simply have their product sourcing buy from Chinese wholesaler, we call this small quantity wholesale in China.
Small quantity wholesale in China has been developing very quickly, a lots of new companies has set up their online wholesale websites, China factories also see business opportunity due to their lack of big quantity orders, on the other side, factories affected by this reason has to shut down their factory, because only factories who can be responsible for their product quality, it need a good production management system to manage the company.
As we know that shipping by LCL or by air small lot will cost much for international freight, more small orders will takes more time, now, we will have an example of how international online store owner do this work. The important thing is they hire a sourcing agent in China.
1. Buyer prepares a product sourcing list, including, item pictures or link they found from internet and order quantity, etc.
2. All orders will be EXW terms with wholesale suppliers, but you need to plus transport cost to warehouse. If you ask the supplier to quote FOB, that is not smart, because the supplier will add the FOB cost to each unit item, usually, FOB cost for a shipment is $250-$500, because we handle export by ourselves with shipment consolidation, we will only pay one FOB cost for the whole container.
3. The sourcing agent order from wholesalers or retailers in China, represent buyers to communicate with wholesale suppliers for product details, negotiate prices, calculate China domestic freight to warehouse. Certainly, supplier evaluation is very important, sometimes need to ask samples from suppliers to check the quality before order.
4. A total delivery time must be scheduled for all orders, and a qualified warehouse will be needed, a shipment consolidate may contain a lot of suppliers; a bad warehouse management will have your parcels lost.
5. A delivery record for all orders has to be created to make sure which order has deliver to warehouse and cbm of each order.
6. Can we have the shipment consolidation go by LCL or FCL? We suggest the shipment to go by FCL even the container only reach to a cbm around 20cbm, because this will be easier for China custom clearance. If the goods export by LCL, you will need to apply custom for every kind of products, the more item you apply to custom, the more cost would be; if you send the goods by FCL, you can just have a container package clearance, that will be simple and save cost. Sometime, there is an occasion, which is some suppliers want the goods to apply to China custom to have tax refund and create export turnover, they will require their goods to apply custom. This will need you to confirm the term before order, by EXW term they will not apply custom, FOB term they can have their goods apply custom; if one of the goods in the container apply custom, all of the rest goods will need to apply custom too. In spite of this, we still can clear the custom for the container, will just increate the cost of custom clearance.
Step by step, be patient to work out a reliable supplier.
Small orders to start with supplier, make sure everything is fine, as it is small amount, it should be ok for you, business has risk itself. There is no 100% guarantee that they are scammer, including other factor, factory shut down, they gone with money(even all license and company is there when you visit them).
Sometimes, there is big order but we have leadtime and need to place order as scheduled. then, what should we do?
1. Try to look for a supplier that is verified by a third party and years' registered member, for example, a 4-7 years registered member, and has some business record displayed there.
2.Verify company details and address info, company large or small, check if all the info is same, etc. (certainly, only a Chinese can do well for this part)
3. Visit factory to see check meet them.
4. Search from internet to see if there is any black report to this company.
5. Hire an agent to take care of the order for you even the company is licensed, you still need quality control before shipment.
Today, the internet business developing so fast, from B2B to B2C, more and more oversea retailer, wholesalers changed their purchasing resource from local distributor/importer to buying directly from China to save their cost.
In deed, this way can save the middleman cost, but there are more and more complaint and faulty products happened during these direct transaction, because their is no third party(middleman) to control the goods. For example, a retailer or wholesaler buying machines from China on aliexpress, if the seller on aliexpress is reliable, certainly, everything goes fine, but once you meet an unprofessional one that have never export to your country, then faulty goods may happened. for machines, there are more specification to meet each countries' standard, that means this machine only suitable for certain countries. So, this kind of products you should buy from local distributor, because they have test the machine to meet your countries' standard with samples and then custom production. you should know that 90% of China products are custom made for worldwide importers.
I do not suggest any people to buy machine or something similar by retail or wholesale from China, a professional importer is needed, what is professional importer?
It is importers buy sample from the supplier to test in his country, if everything goes well, then they place order for bulk production according to the sample.
Buying from China sometimes is cheap, but be careful that it is not for everything.
For this kind of item, you can buy from your local distributor or wholesaler, and that is real warranty. Some seller give warranty on the listings, but they are heavy items and impossible to return to China. So, real warranty will not be executed.
it depends on the quantity your buy and how would you like to ship them, by air or by sea.
But to have another company arranging these things will be better , usually, you can send an inquiry to supplier to get a rough cost for both. if by air express, if their price is ok, then you can just ask the supplier to ship for you. From my experience, most of suppliers do not have good resource of good rates, certainly, there are some supplier also offer great rate.
When you need your goods shipping by sea, you must not ask the supplier to ship for you, because the china forwarder will forward all the cost to your destination port, and they quote very cheap price to China suppliers. The best way is you find a forwarder at your end, ask the supplier to quote product price by FOB terms, give contact of your fowarder to the supplier to ship the goods.
If you want to save your work, you can pay for a little service fee to a sourcing agent for handling all these work. they can offer the service like Sourcing products, place orders, inspect the goods, arrange goods with supplier to warehouse, consolidate shipment, handling export, documentations, etc.
Besides professional of industry/products, it is also like hiring a staff for a company, using a sourcing company is like to have a good staff working for the company inChina, for example, as a sourcing agent of me, my client do research with a list for the items and send to me. so I will be the staff of my client's company to be purchasing manager, and doing the work:
Sourcing products, place orders, inspect the goods, arrange goods with supplier to warehouse, consolidate shipment, handling export, documentations, etc. lets say there are more than 10 suppliers or more into a container.
If the client want to deal with suppliers directly, he will certainly need to hire a staff in his country, and I am sure the salary will be double or more than a sourcing agent in China, and this staff can not compare with a sourcing agent for communication with local Chinese suppliers.
From the above, you can see there will need a "good" staff, whether this staff has enough experience to manage these work, rather than experience, ability of the person to solve problems is more important, intelligent enough, etc. Intelligent is the key to compare with professional of products, for me, when I start my sourcing agent service, a lot of products is new to me and never deal with them before, if you are smart enough, then you will use your brain to study by yourself to be familiar with products, in this internet world, a lot of things you can learn by yourself, just need to work hard.
All this is also "good" factor of a sourcing agent as a staff of a oversea company.
It is happy to receive a client's inquiry that interested in my service, most of them come to learn me from my blog articles or my reply to other clients for solution of problems, thand I am rather happy that they like my opinion and their trust to me.
But, when I receive their inquiry with words like "I will be making a purchase soon, and maybe, I could use your help with inspecting factories and inspecting Goods...assuring quality trading service.." they contact me just "maybe", and then another words "Please provide me with a list of suppliers for this product, who is reliable and who is not. Company names, informations, order limits etc." they send these words even we do not talk about any cooperation terms, or my service charge, who knows, after I work out a list of suppliers, they can not accept my service fee. This looks they do not respect other people's work. maybe it takes one or two days's work to collect those suppliers, but will be ignored as we do not confirm any cooperation words.
What I want to say is : you can not treat a sourcing agent like sending inquiry to a supplier who they have a quotation list ready every moment and send to all buyers by the same. a sourcing agent is partner, who can decide success of your business, and give solutions depending on what help you need.
This is called OEM project, and you do need one to take care of this OEM project, for example, plastic case after mould tooling, functional testing, if possible, PCB design is also the quality that you can identify for the item, hot release, etc. when an electronic item developed, there will be a lot of defectives need to be approved, so this agent will represent you to control them.
To start this project, you will need to search a quality manufacturer, Shenzhen would be the best place for electronic items, since it is a customized item, after you choosed a supplier, you will need to do with these steps:
1. Sending samples or designs to the manufacturer for a quotation, including(unit price, mould fee, sample fee, and time schedule for all of them), if possible, advise the supplier when the item need to be finished. Note: unit price will need supplier to quote for different quantity, such like initial order quantity and regular quantity, there will be a difference.
2. Sending payment for mould fee and sample fee to supplier, start tooling and making samples, if possible, your agent take care of the sample parts quality, such like material or workmanship, and final finished sample will still send to you for approval.
3. Placing initial order, as it is a new item, a rate of defectives will be higher, so, the agent need to be professional and careful enough to found out any problems, almost need to spend more time at workmanship, and do more random inspection to ensure everything goes fine.
4. After item sold into market, there should be some problems found by consumers, well, even how professional inspection still hard to avoid this, then you need a good communication with supplier for approvement and revision.
Controling and communication is important for this kind of case, so you do need to let your sourcing agent understand your item, so that he can control and work better for you.
Regarding the cost that a sourcing agent, I think a nice job is better than any cost, certainly, cost should be fair for both party. remember, a nice work will also make you good selling too, this is how sourcing agent live.
This is the case that two shipments from two province in China, and 50% for each of the supplier for the container.
You need to have an forwarder to handle your shipment first, if possible, a forwarder from your country would be cheaper for the total shipping cost, such like port charge, handling fee, etc.
Ask your forwarder to quote freight from two port and how long to it will take, then you can select one of the route. Tell your forwarder that your goods are at two place, then they will arrange a warehouse for one of the supplier to deliver goods, they can load container at two places but same port, this would avoid damage of the goods, anyway your forwarder can handle this. You need to talk to one of your supplier that if they can deliver the goods to the other port warehouse that the forwarder arranged. and see if they will charge more.
If you want to release two bill of lading for two suppliers, you will need to ask them to book shipping space with your forwarder. if you want just to be one bill of lading, you need to pay for the goods to the supplier before shipment, otherwise they won't deliver the goods. Then there would be a problem concern about shipper name list on the bill of lading, if possible, you can just ask your forwarder to make all documents from their company, as invoice and pakcing would need one company name too.