Sourcing from abroad involves a lot. Today, China has emerged as a preferred sourcing country, where you can find quality products at very reasonable prices. One major challenge is that you may have to visit many producers manufacturing the same goods for you to find the one with the goods of the quality and cost you prefer. This can be very tedious, and you may still never find exactly what you want at the cost you want it for. That is where sourcing agents come in.
Sourcing agents act as trusted middlemen who do all the groundwork for you. They visit the producers to ensure that you get high-quality goods. They negotiate with producers on your behalf, reducing the risk of trying our new manufacturers. Hiring a sourcing agent helps you find high-quality products fast and efficiently. They keep an eye on the manufacturers, maintaining good face to face communication channels with them, given that they are natives.
Sourcing agents minimize costs, save time and help you maximize profits. They easily spot scams and reduce communication barriers because they speak the native language. They also navigate through the local culture more easily, and can easily collaborate with the manufacturers to develop new products. The benefits are quite numerous, all geared at helping you focus on your core activities.
What to Look for in a Sourcing Agent
Now that you know the benefits of sourcing agents, and you have decided to hire one, what factors are you supposed to consider? The answer(s) to this question is very critical because you can’t just settle for anybody who bears the title ‘sourcing agent.’
Here are some important factors to look at in choosing a sourcing agent.
Carry out due diligence to establish the capabilities and resources of the agent. Visit their social media profiles like LinkedIn and Facebook to establish their company profile, experience, goals, sourcing services offered, the number of employees and company existence, among other details.
It is advisable to settle for an agent with vast export and import experience, as well as related work. Such agents have connections with suppliers, vendors and logistics partners. Such agents help you to connect with their reliable acquaintances for your entire import processes. What this means is that you will have more time to spare for your very core business operations.
Find out how knowledgeable the agent is about the products they deal in. This is especially very critical when it comes to electrical and technical products.
The agent should also be knowledgeable about the production processes of the specific goods and the raw materials involved and their impact on the quality of the products. This will assure you that they know how to conduct quality control inspection, a factor that will help them to spot any quality issues before the goods are shipped.
Find out where they focus their business, or where most of their customers come from. This is because different countries have different approaches to import processes, certifications, tastes and regulations. If you are from the USA, for example, you can’t engage an agent whose focus is the Middles East. He won’t do a good job for you.
Experience means the agent knows what they do and how to do it. Choose an agent who is experienced in the sourcing and export field. This will save you time because they already know the ropes of the trade, including quality inspection. Hiring a newbie can let you down big time. They will actually be learning on the job, a factor that may mess you up when you least expect.
Where are they located? In China, for example, an agent located in a city that is far away from the supplier may not effectively serve you. Most industrial parks in China are found in the coastal cities located in Guangdong, Fijian and Zhejiang provinces.
Choosing the right sourcing agent can go a long way in enhancing your success in business. Maintaining a trustworthy agent such as Leeline Sourcing agents service for the long haul is very advisable if you want to see faster growth of your import business. With the above tips, you are now in a much better position to choose the right sourcing agent so you can focus on the core operations of your business.