common problems when importing from China

What are the most common problems when importing from China?

Importing from China is not easy and is not a viable option for everyone. It is a phenomenon that we often detect when talking to companies and many find it difficult to understand the complications involved. In fact, we often come across companies that, without previous experience or knowledge, have attempted to import and the result has clearly been negative.

As sourcing professionals, we have seen all kinds of problems that many companies face and that, in most cases, they are unable to resolve successfully. It is not always only small companies that experience these complications. Importing products from China can lead to various problems if you simply do not have proven experience in this area.

Experiencing difficulties during the importation process often leads companies to say that importing from China is not a good option. This is a false statement. In general, problems occur when the process is not left in the safe hands of a professional in strategic sourcing which allows the entire international purchasing process to be completed successfully.

Main problems before starting manufacturing.

In many cases, problems with imports begin at the initial phase: during the study and selection.

-Supplier selection: Lack of knowledge of the broad Chinese market leads many companies to make erroneous market studies that provide insufficient information on the competitiveness of the chosen supplier. When choosing the wrong manufacturer, problems can start very rapidly.

-Cost reduction study: is a problem that arises at this initial phase of the process but is often not detected until later. When you start calculating the cost per imported product, certain factors may not be taken into account such as the payment of customs duties or even the cost of travel to China that may be necessary if the purchase process requires it.

More frequent complications during the manufacturing process.

It seems that the majority of people who look to making international purchases, are very clear that the manufacturing stage is the stage in which the greatest problems can arise. This is not necessarily true since many of the setbacks in the production of the product derive from bad pre-planning. Therefore, let’s look at some of the main setbacks that companies often encounter at this stage.

– Communication problems: In many cases, this is definitely the origin of the rest of the problems. It is not simply language, but also certain Asian cultural factors as well as the usual forms of negotiation in China. The fact of “not understanding” goes far beyond words.

-Possible failures or errors in the product: Derived from poor communication or sometimes from erroneous explanation of the requirements, the products to be imported may sometimes present design errors that can ruin importation. Not being able to be there in time to solve potential problems in the first products, ends up causing some companies to receive entire containers that do not meet their expectations.

-Quality standards: This is not a fault per se, but it can be a huge problem. The quality standards in China do not usually match with those of the destination country. This is something that can cause a setback if it is not detected in time, even making the final sale of the items impossible.

The latest difficulties after manufacturing.

There are many cases of companies that successfully pass the first two stages but who subsequently experience a nightmare before receiving the products in their country. This is mainly due to two factors.

-Long waiting times: Although we live in a more connected world than ever, receiving a purchase from China is not synonymous with speed. From the moment the products leave the factory until they arrive at a company, can take from two weeks to two months in the worst-case scenario. This wait that, in addition to being long, can sometimes be worsened because it is impossible to monitor the exact state of the import operation.

-Customs: Customs controls can become a real headache if they are not well managed. Further to the additional tariffs and fees to pay (which many companies have not taken into account during their initial study), sometimes the product does not meet the requirements for importation.

Imports without problems or surprises: trust a purchasing consultant.

As we have seen, the setbacks derived from importing can be numerous and very diverse (especially when we try to buy certain types of products considered difficult to import). It is not always possible to guarantee an import without incidents. However, thanks to the role of the purchasing consultant you can ensure that these problems are minimal and have a solution.

The person responsible for international purchases, who not only manages the supply but also searches for suitable suppliers, is usually a professional trained in international trade and with extensive experience in importation. It is a job in which prior knowledge and, above all, experience, make the success rate higher.

That is exactly what we do at S3 Group. We understand the importance of international purchases and we have been working for more than 15 years to make imports a simple and reliable process for any company. We cannot guarantee that no problems will arise during the importation process, but we do assure that we will have THE solutions for it.