Many people come to our website not only looking for a sourcing partner who can help them with their imports, but also to discover the various services an import agent like S3 Group really offers.
In our articles, we always try to emphasise that any international sourcing process is a complex task and way more than simply sourcing suppliers or knowing how to communicate with them successfully. Sourcing encompasses a range of skills that ensure the entire importation process runs smoothly whilst offering solid peace of mind.
Unforeseen events can arise at any stage of the import process, just as they can in any job. However, using the services of a professional to solve these types of problems quickly, not only adds value but ensures that the products are fully guaranteed to reach the buyer.
In this context, companies understand that a sourcing service is much more than communication with suppliers and that companies like ours create a commercial bridge between the countries of the buyer and the importer.
Main tasks offered by a sourcing partner
The product a company imagines is not always the same as the product to be produced. Changes in planning occur in the design stage when details are drawn up. As a sourcing partner, one of our services is to research the product to be manufactured. This includes the history of similar products, raw materials, production areas, possible cost overruns, etc. It is absolutely vital to carry out market research that elicits the very best results.
Search and selection of suppliers
Undoubtedly, this is one of the main reasons why companies contact us. The fundamental success of an import largely depends on the selection of suppliers.
Contrary to popular belief, selecting suppliers is not within everyone’s capabilities. Although nowadays, thanks to the Internet, lists of manufacturers and suppliers can quickly and easily be found , a professional search is much more thorough and effective.
Similarly, the negotiation is very important, as it enables a higher profit margin for the purchasing company. Negotiating with a manufacturer is not always easy, particularly in certain Asian countries. Excellent experience is invaluable for this and informs the limits so that lower pricing does not lead to lower quality products.
Communication throughout the whole process
Communication is an important factor in all areas of life, but especially in business. It is not only about knowing and speaking a language but is more about knowing what to say, how to say it and when to say it.
In Asian countries, where our import role mainly takes place, culture directly affects communication.
Follow-up of production
Some people are under the false assumption that once products have been ordered, there is nothing else to do until they are shipped.
Rather, it is important to closely monitor production; from the ordering of sample products to checking that each stage is running to schedule.
Keeping track of production is no easy task when it is happening thousands of kilometers away. This is precisely one of the main strengths of our company with our offices and equipment in various countries around the world including China, the follow-up of all imports are closely and carefully monitored.
Asian countries, China in particular, are without a doubt, capable of both designing and producing products of a high quality. However, as with any purchase, a series of controls are necessary in order to ensure that the items ordered not only meet all requirements, but that they will also pass the quality controls of the countries of origin and destination without any problems.
Logistics and transport
Logistics and transport are a common problem in importing.
Two possible difficulties exist which are not always considered when importing. The first is the long waiting times between placing an order and receiving the goods. A long time; which may be 3, 4 or 5 months, that companies do not often take into account and which leads to inevitable ruptures in stock. A good sourcing strategy acknowledges the timetable of the import process in order to avoid this disagreeable situation.
Secondly, customs issues, which are often complicated by a lack of knowledge of the legal procedures, can further prolong the time it takes to receive the products.
However, as we have seen, a sourcing partner’s responsibilities are diverse and extend far beyond communication with suppliers. Many tasks must be performed in order to ensure successful importing. Furthermore, many companies only need help with certain sourcing services. In any case, after more than 15 years of experience in the industry, we at S3 Group are used to adapting to the needs of our clients, as long as we are convinced that an import is perfectly feasible.