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Purchasing Management: best practices in importing from China and Asia

Purchasing management is a crucial task in the efficient running of any business, especially those involved in importing. Despite its name, procurement management is not just about sourcing, but about the entire process of planning, identifying, procuring and monitoring the goods and services needed to carry out daily operations.

In the context of importing from China and Asia, procurement management plays an even more critical role. It determines which goods must be purchased, from which suppliers, in what quantity, and at what price. This process involves activities such as market research, supplier selection, contract negotiation, and coordination of delivery logistics.

How to improve purchasing management?

Optimising procurement management is one of the objectives of many businesses (and our customers), as by doing so, a company can gain better control over its costs, improve the quality of the goods it offers and strengthen its relationships with international suppliers. To achieve this, there are a number of good practices to consider.

  1. Needs analysis: Identifying and assessing the current and future needs of the company is crucial. This analysis must be detailed and accurate to avoid unnecessary or insufficient purchases.
  2. Supplier selection: Choosing reliable and quality suppliers is essential. Aspects such as product quality, delivery reliability, price and customer service must be considered.
  3. Effective negotiation: The objective is to obtain the best possible terms and conditions. This includes not only price, but also delivery, after-sales service, warranties, etc.
  4. Supplier relationship management: Maintaining good relationships with suppliers can lead to better purchasing conditions, greater collaboration and a more stable supply flow over time.
  5. Quality assessment: It is important to conduct regular reviews of supplier performance to ensure that they meet agreed quality standards.
  6. Risk management: Identify and manage risks associated with the supply chain, such as supply disruption, stock-outs, changes in import tariffs or fluctuations in product quality.
  7. Technology integration: Technology can help optimise the import process. Tools such as supply chain management (SCM) software or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can automate and improve the efficiency of the process.
  8. Continuous training: The world of import and procurement management is constantly changing. Continuous training and skills development will help procurement managers keep up with the latest trends and best practices.
  9. Respect for ethics and sustainability: Respecting ethical principles and promoting sustainability in procurement contributes to a good corporate reputation and can offer long-term benefits.
  10. Continuous review and improvement: Finally, it is important to implement a process of continuous review and improvement, monitoring the most relevant KPIs, to optimise procurement management and adapt to changing business needs.

Does your company need help with purchasing management?

Purchasing management in the context of importing from China and Asia is a complex challenge, but through effective techniques and the use of best practices, companies can maximise their efficiency and profitability.

In many cases, having an in-house purchasing department is not enough and it is then when the help of a sourcing company is needed to provide support at one or all stages of the import process.

At S3 Group, we help all types of companies to manage their purchases and improve the process; from the initial orientation, to the choice of suppliers and quality control, among other services. Experience has taught us that learning how to make purchases in the most effective way is a skill that is acquired with practice and a competent team that is available both in the country of origin and in the country of production (such as ours).