If you have an established source of sales that you are already selling into the market, and have a large volume, you might be thinking of trying to outsource your product.

China offers a vast array of products and to track something down that is suitable, you are going to need someone who knows the country well. He or she can advise you very quickly if you are likely to find a company where you could place your order and thereby increase your margins.

Here are some of the things that you will need to establish before working with an import agent:

1. Full product details with drawings / graphics

2. Packing & presentation details

3. Branding requirements

4. Certifications & Safety standards required

5. Date product is required

6. Quantities (min order quantities apply in most cases)

Considering the requirements, qualified suppliers will be selected by your agent and details sent to those who look the best prospect. From the resulting replies three are invited to quote.

A good agent will discuss quotes with the manufacturers, confirm their experience in UK / European markets and check their production capabilities.Your personal visit to China could be carried out to inspect the factory personnel, the manufacturing process and quality control systems. This process is often backed up by a team in Shanghai who should cover the whole operation.

1. Prepare a detailed report on all visits.

2. Quotations include manufacturing costs, branding, artwork and presentation of your product, method and cost of shipment, all duty and port dues plus haulage from port to your warehouse

3. Orders are normally quoted c.i.f. destination port.

Estimated time of delivery is also given at this time and confirmed as more information becomes available about your consignment.

Choosing the right manufacturer, ensuring quality and providing an on-time delivery are all crucial business processes. Controlling production quality is achieved through scheduled inspections of all factory processes with final quality inspection and packing checks completed under the direction of your agent, before products leave the factory. Personal visits to factories are recommended in order for you to become more familiar with the overall process. Appropriate packaging will have been agreed between all parties to ensure protection of goods with the details now being submitted to the shipping agents.

Shipping options will have been confirmed with you with all appropriate documents being completed. Customs clearance is completed and Duty plus port dues are often paid by your agent

* Work with a wide network of suppliers from numerous market sectors in China, and provide products that meet your requirements and monitor progress to ensure on-time delivery.


Sourcing your product in China

When you contact a few agents you will find sourcing requests are responded to fairly quickly.
Normally an agent will have an extensive network of manufacturers, and can either source an existing product or customize to your specification, including bespoke items. They will often have a Chinese speaking team, both in the UK and in China to check requirements with potential suppliers and provide the information required to obtain costs.

You should expect a detailed written quote submitted for your approval with all costs, delivered to your warehouse. Where significant design work is involved, you can negotiate a separate fee.

About the author:

Arthur Stoller operates his import agency from China to the UK and further details of his operation of importing from china can be viewed here.

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