Last week we had Dragon boat festival here in China, I didn't see a single boat in Shanghai. There was enough rain water for boating in most places - so let's hope they were there somewhere. This week has seen the humidty set in - "real" summer has arrived. Anyway enough about the weather! Today we are looking at the following:
It's likely you have heard someone say sourcing from China is soooo easy these days you just go on Alibaba, do a quick search and there you go 1,000 suppliers, job done in 5 seconds flat. It's dangerous in any field to believe you know it all or think that everything is going to be easy. The reality is Alibaba hasn't really changed in 12 years. You could still search just as efficiently then and come up with as many results. The only thing that has changed is now some companies have been on there for a number of years - does this make any difference to how you should treat quality control?
Whether it's yourself, a colleague or a 3rd party sourcing company that conducts your China Factory Audits - it's an operation that simply needs to be done at some point. Keeping costs down is a wonderful thing put we need to be mindful not to squeeze to tight in this area - it's really about managing your risk. China factory visits can be really great, really difficult, can be very interesting and can even be a bit shocking. You are certain to have experiences to conjure lots of different adjectives, boring is unlikely to be one of them no matter how many visits you make.
A good chunk of your time needs to be invested in analyzing the information that you gather from suppliers in China. Sourcing from China and assessing Chinese suppliers is time consuming full stop. It's even more so if you are not organized. Today let's talk about how you can be a bit more organized in this area.
Industries often have their own internal language that is a bit non inclusive to the lay person. Freight forwarding, logisitcs and shipping from China is no different. Today we will help clear the haze of this improbable language barrier! Incudes a free mini encyclopedia on shipping and importing from China terms.
Some of this blog is written as an internal conversation I had with myself 12 years ago so I hope I don’t sound like a madman! Let’s see, I hope you can relate to it. I’ve talked a lot recently about shipping and shipping agents in China or shipping agents in Australia. Today, we are going to compound that knowledge and talk about “landed prices” or maybe more correctly delivered prices. There are also some example calculations for you to download just to make it super easy.
When you are sourcing from China it is really beneficial to have your own shipping agent working for you in China. Stating the painfully obvious importing from China is a 2-way street, goods are exported from China and then imported to say Australia and the USA. Surely then it makes sense to have a shipping agent in Australia or America too I hear you ask? Yes, absolutely and really the search for a shipping agent in China should start at home. What you really need is a shipping agent (also commonly known as a freight forwarder) located at the port where you will do most of your importing from China through. So if you are near Melbourne or Los Angeles or shipping to both then that’s the place to look for your agent.
It is always surprising to learn that many people importing from China don’t understand all the elements involved. For example, the actual shipping from China process. It’s sometimes easy as a buyer not to get involved since it is something we may not have experience with and best left to the professionals. While the second part is true, it doesn’t mean we should happily remain oblivious of the process. When I started out importing from China I was in this boat and made lots of very avoidable mistakes.