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Understanding the supplier-buyer relationship

As a small business, the Chinese manufacturing industry may be vital to the success of your business and the type of products you offer your customers. We have put together some tips together in regards to how you can go about placing your order, and what you should and shouldn’t ask for from your Chinese suppliers.

1. Order placement

You’ve done your research, you know which products you are looking for and have asked for quotes from numerous Chinese suppliers. We advise that before placing the order for a large shipment of products, you ensure the following points are accounted for when placing the order:

  • Product specifications – make sure you are happy with the size, model and any other specifications you have requested.
  • Quantity – ensure that you order the correct number of products, based on your budget and demand.
  • Quality – remember to be very clear as to the quality of the product you are looking for.
  • Estimated deadlines – Set up a pipeline when you are placing your order i.e. when you are going to receive samples, when will you expect products to go into production, when they are expected to be finished and shipped to South Africa.

2. Discussions

You have placed the order, now it is time for negotiating the terms of your product order. Your Chinese supplier may want to change dates for distribution or the terms of the contract. Stand sturdy, they would like your business. Ensure that the projected timeline is realistic, and don’t forget to ask for samples before placing large orders.

3. Sampling and Testing

You have met with your Chinese suppliers, you have negotiated the terms of the contract and you are ready to get the production process going. It is wise to not just to place the order without receiving samples and testing the products you wish to purchase. Order in a few samples of the products you wish to purchase, one sample is never enough and you want to ensure the quality of each product is consistent. Once you have received the samples, test every product to ensure it works properly, and try to pick up any problems which could be vital to the selling success.

4. Production

Make sure you are part of every step in the production process. Constant communication with your Chinese supplier is vital in ensuring not only the quality of your products, but the estimated dates of production and shipping as well. Be careful not to let communication fall away once you have received the samples, and have placed the order.

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