Purchasing Skills | What kind of supplier we should look for?

By justchinait
October 28, 2020

As an old buyer who has been engaged in procurement for eleven years, let me talk about what kind of supplier we should look for from the perspective of an international buyer.

1. About the price

Suppliers whose prices are in the lower middle of the industry are most favored by international buyers.

The most acceptable price level for mature buyers is that the supplier’s price is at the lower-middle level of the entire industry, rather than requiring a supplier with the lowest price. Because the price of a supplier is the lowest among similar suppliers, which it is detrimental to the stability and long-term transaction. There are two reasons.

Excessively low prices often have problems with product quality and service, and ultimately damage the interests of buyers

Excessively low prices are not conducive to long-term and stable supply of goods. Suppliers cannot develop their business without reasonable profits.

2. Supplier’s stable and reliable product quality

For buyers, stable and reliable product quality is sometimes more important than price advantage. We have dealt with many very small factories in the past 11 years. Such companies often have very unstable product quality, even unable to pass third-party inspections, and eventually delays in delivery will cause losses to us. Buyers can judge the supplier’s product quality through the following methods

  • Confirm product quality through samples

It is very necessary to request samples before placing an order. Chinese suppliers usually charge a sample fee, because this is the company’s regulations and the salesperson cannot change it. But you can ask the factory to refund the sample fee after you place the order.

  • Understand the industry reputation of the supplier and the market it has entered

Buyers should investigate the reputation of a supplier before placing an order, and even directly ask the supplier if there are other customers in the destination country, in this way to investigate a supplier’s reputation and product quality.

  • Entrust a third-party organization to inspect the factory in person

Judge the quality and stability of the company’s product quality by visiting the workshop and the company’s management capabilities. For large customers, it is very important to evaluate the supplier’s corporate management capabilities and production specifications.

3. The supplier’s technical level and R&D capabilities

There are more and more similar suppliers on the Internet, and many factories are even in the same industry group in the same region. In many cases, the product quality of several peers is very similar, and some even have the same design style. In this situation, buyers should focus on the technical capabilities of the suppliers, especially the ability to develop new samples. We are also facing fierce market competition in the destination country’s market, and product innovation has undoubtedly increased our market competitiveness. Therefore, if a supplier has strong R&D capabilities and technical advantages, we should choose this supplier at the same price and quality level.

4. The professional quality of the supplier’s salesperson

The foreign trade sales represents the service and professional quality of the supplier. Salesman is the bridge between us and suppliers. Doing business with an excellent salesman will save us a lot of time and trouble. Generally, foreign trade salesmen need such professional qualities

  • Honest attitude

Our information are more from foreign trade salespersons, such as corporate information, product information, and delivery dates. The integrity of a foreign trade salesperson is the most critical factor.

  • English ability and knowledge of international trade operations

The communication skills and English ability of salesmen are directly related to the smoothness of trade. The skillful understanding and application of knowledge of international trade operations also plays a key role in the smooth completion of orders.

5. Supplier’s after-sales service capability

This is what our buyers value most. Especially when dealing with disputes, if the supplier can consider the problem in front of the buyer, then the problem can be resolved more smoothly.

6. Suppliers who trust you

Many suppliers have low trust in online buyers, and they may be very cautious and skeptical towards you. For example, when you ask the supplier to provide samples, they will suspect that you are cheating the samples; they will ask you to pay the balance before shipment. Stay away from such suppliers. Trust is the foundation of any transaction.

7. The advantages of factories and traders

In fact, as long as the supplier has obvious advantages, whether it is a factory or a trader, it is acceptable.

The advantage of the factory is its low price, technical resources, and a better grasp of technical resources.

The advantage of traders is that they have very good expertise in foreign trade knowledge and foreign trade services, and can solve a series of trade problems.

So the core is not that the suppliers are factories or traders, but whether they have the unique value that attracts us.

8. Large-scale export production capacity

Ask the supplier’s employees, sales, and target market share in the email to determine whether a company has a large-scale production capacity. However, a fatal disadvantage of Chinese salesmen is that they like to exaggerate, and the information they give to customers is often inconsistent with reality.

9. Active and enterprising mentality to continuously meet the needs of buyers

There are many small and medium-sized suppliers in China who have lived the life of “boiling frogs in warm water” for a long time. They may have a few old customers and rely on their order patterns. The customer gives the factory samples and they only need to produce, but this kind of supplier never takes the initiative to develop new products. A good supplier should have market insight and help customers to develop the market rather than just production.

10. Accept the new business environment and business model

Many young buyers who are just starting out or old buyers who want to develop a new product are more inclined to small-volume, multi-frequency purchasing mode. You will find that many China suppliers adopt the model of not accepting small orders and only accepting large orders. However, there are also some suppliers who follow the trend of the times and are willing to accept new purchasing models, accept fragmented orders from suppliers and provide fast delivery services.



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