Choosing a great supplier can help your business grow massively. A wrong choice can lead to quality issues, delays or worse.
It’s worth taking the time upfront to find the best suppliers in your niche.
In this article we cover the top tips for understanding what is important when selecting a supplier.
Tip 1 Size
Whether the factory has 10 workers or 1000 is not important for most products.
Many factories inflate their size on their website and in presentations because they think that the bigger they look the more reputable they are.
The key is not the factory size, but whether your communication with them is good, the price is reasonable and the quality is excellent.
Some small factories are very specialist at some products – and so have lower pricing as well as good quality.
Tip 2 Good or Not
Find out who are the factory’s main customers.
This will give you an idea of the standard of their work. It doesn’t mean they are good because they supply Walmart. If they supply medium to high-end brands then they should have better quality control processes.
Make sure the supplier has experience exporting the product you are selling to your market. Otherwise there could be all kinds of customs documents that they are not aware of.
Look for suppliers that supply top brand names in your markets. Most big brands have very strict quality and audit processes.
Tip 3 Price
Sometimes small factories can be 50% cheaper than large ones since they have fewer staff to pay and less overheads.
The problem is that small factories may have difficulty communicating or have little experience exporting. This is where the services of a local agent in China can help.
The best balance is a small to medium size factory. They will have the experience of dealing with overseas buyers as well as lower costs.
Huge factories can be very expensive as they have to maintain high margins to cover all of their costs.
Tip 4 Quality
Every factory says their quality control processes are of a high standard. The reality is that even very high-end factories making electronics for top brands can fall short of the mark.
You need to arrange your own quality control for every shipment. How? Hire a 3rd party inspection company to do a pre-shipment AQL inspection.
I recommend doing an inspection for every single order – even if the factory has shipped your product successfully for years.
Tip 5 Attitude
More important than factory size or price is how hungry they are for your order.
If they are very responsive, responsible and do everything possible to meet your requirements, then chances are your order will go much more smoothly.
If you are not an important customer to the supplier then they might not help you when you need a faster delivery or something goes wrong.
Tip 6 Technology
When most people think of factories, they think of machines, robots and processes.
Most consumer goods are made in low-tech factories with workers sitting around a conveyor belt or a desk assembling all the different parts of a product by hand. Even high-end electronics rely on a lot of manual labor in their assembly.
As most products involve a high amount of manual labor – things can go wrong. That is why it is important to check out product samples before ordering and trying to prevent issues up front.
Tip 7 Visit
After contacting as many factories as possible via the sourcing websites, the best way to get the best suppliers is to visit your supplier and check them out yourself.
After 10 days visiting factories you will know more than 99% of the suppliers.
Covid makes this nearly impossible now – but video calls allow you to conduct virtual tours of suppliers and check out their processes & products.