China Sourcing Management Services
January 9, 2017
You have no idea how many times I’m confronted with this question on a daily basis from China Importers; “If a service provider is not an agent or a trading company, but still help manage the China supply chain, what are they?” Sometimes it can get a little frustrating because you try to define something that is not common, that is versatile, using just one label. To each importer, a China sourcing team is and does many things and serves different purposes. So, how do you label this? A company that provides China sourcing management services is neither Agent, nor a Broker nor a Trading Company. Why not? Because:
- An agent usually works on commissions and tends to be product specific.
- A broker’s job is product specific, limited in scope and not service driven.
- A trading company is really another supplier, not a service provider.
So, a service provider that puts at your disposal a professional China sourcing team does what? Well, assuming the team is good, what it does for importers is to provide them with their very own China sourcing team, an operation that executes on the specific wishes and needs of the importer, an operation that really is an extension of the importer’s own home office.
As discussed before, such services are the best, the most versatile, the most cost effective approach to managing the China supply chain, or to managing your China sourcing program if you will. They are not for every one of course, typically, the need to manage one’s program implies that the business would have to be of a certain size and complexity.
The key word here is “management”. A good buying program is one that is well managed on-site. That is how importers differentiate themselves from the competition. We believe that any China importers who buy a significant amount of business from China should have a professional on-site China sourcing office. It is a necessity, not a luxury. But doing this yourself presents two main challenges:
- A cost burden: To set up one’s China sourcing office is expensive.
- A management burden: To manage a China sourcing team from a distance is difficult.
That is where the suppliers of China Sourcing Management Services come in.
So, if you have considered opening your own office because you are ready to take your whole import program to a higher level, you may want to evaluate and compare such a service provider before launching into this complex and expensive development. And if you already have a China sourcing office, but it is proving to be less beneficial and perhaps more cumbersome than anticipated, you may want to explore the same thing.
What are your thoughts and your experiences? Share them with us in the comments below!
By Guerschom Francois