Are you planning to start sourcing products for your business from China? You have made the right decision.
China is the world’s giant factory, and there is something for everyone. Many business people have to contend with hitches. These cause delays in the supply of their inventory.
It harms business because time is money. If you cannot deliver inventory in good time, your customers will go elsewhere.
The process of sourcing goods from China is simple today. It’s not free from challenges such as low quality and unforeseen delays. That is not a delay from your sourcing agent or trading company.
It is a factory delay. It shares across the board. Many importers face factory delays in their deliveries from time to time.
But it does not have to be this way all the time.
What usually causes delivery delays from China?
Delayed delivery of inventory can affect a small business. To lower the risk of delay, you must first know the leading causes of delay with many suppliers in China. You can then find out how to navigate your way around them.
Here are a few of the leading causes of delays in China:
Complicated supply chain
If you buy your inventory from a trading company, they are brokers. They have to purchase the goods to resell to you.
Trading companies are marketing companies, so they build a lot of hype. The market is very well, but they do not know how to cut through the red tape of purchasing the inventory. The trading company has to buy your inventory from the manufacturer and then sell it to you.
Factories in China need many following up to ensure the merchandise comes outright and in good time. Sometimes, the trading company is handling too many orders. They might not be able to push the factory to produce your inventory on time.
Quality problems with your inventory
Before your sourcing agent can send the goods to you, they must inspect them for quality. If there are factory defects, they may have to redo the goods. That takes time. Some common quality issues include color discrepancies, branding mistakes, and others.
When your order is too small
If you make a small order, there will be delays. The factory waits for another small order like yours so that they can produce them together. That is how factories save on production costs. It can cause delays if they do not get another order such as yours first.
Peak season delays
Before the main shopping festivals such as Christmas, factories get overwhelming orders. Business people want to stock up. It is common to have orders delayed a bit.
How to ensure the supplier delivers goods on time
Your inventory can arrive on time if you know the proper steps to follow. Here are several things that you can do to cut delays in the delivery of your inventory:
1. Get a sample first – This ensures the goods meet the desired quality
If this is the first time ordering supplies from China, ask for a sample. Inspect this sample to iron out any defects.
Once the manufacturer rectifies the defects in the sample, you can be at peace. There will be no quality control issues in the future. Goods’ failure to meet quality is one of the leading causes of delivery delays.
If you order the same inventory all the time, it becomes easier in the future. The manufacturer can use the same sample to make more orders for you.
Are you ordering a different type of inventory from the same supplier? Don’t assume that the manufacturer will give you the same quality as they gave with your prior goods. Ask for a sample first before production can start.
2. Establish the authenticity of your supplier
If you can visit the factory in China, please make the trip. It will cost you money, but it will be worth it. While there, you can see the entire production process. Communicate your production needs. These include branding, logo placement, colors, and sizes.
The main problem when communicating with a factory in China is the language barrier. Even with English-speaking staff on the other end, they can lose some of your order’s details.
If you cannot go to China, use the services of a sourcing agent. Such agents ensure that the goods you order meet your quality needs.
You pay them the money to pay for your items when they are ready. That is a safety measure. The sourcing agent cannot release the payment if the goods do not meet your quality needs.
Not all sourcing agents in China are genuine. To get a genuine one, you need to do some footwork. Check for reviews on the internet. If there are too many negative reviews, move on and find another agent.
3. Inform yourself of the logistics
The factory can have your inventory ready in time. Yet, the logistic dynamics can delay the delivery before choosing a factory to place your order. Establish the shipping methods they use.
What is the distance between the factory and the port or airport of departure? If it is too far away, there might be delays. Finding a factory that is close to the port for faster shipping.
Inform yourself of the shipping time before your goods can get to your destination port. You will know the best time to place your order with all these facts at hand. You want your stock to arrive in time for the shopping season.
To be on the safe side, add 10 to 20 days on the date of arrival. That means placing your order 20 days earlier.
Stay aware of the political and other conditions of the time. War can disrupt shipping lines, lousy weather, pandemics, and other conditions. If anything unusual is happening, consider ordering earlier to avoid hefty delays.
4. Follow up on the production process.
Once you have made your order with the supplier, don’t sit pretty in your office. You need to call their office from time to time to stay up to date with the production process.
Following up will also keep you up to date on the current progress of your order. It does not matter what products you order.
The production process is usually the same. It starts in pre-production in the general preparation stage. Call the factory and ask about material preparation. If the material preparation is in progress, your order is going well.
After pre-production, you need to check the production process. You need to verify the semi-finished products and the storage process. This way, you know the condition of your product at every stage.
Some suppliers call their customers. They do this to inform them of the progress of the production process. They inform customers who make bulky orders. They make them aware of the progress weekly, two-day, and so on.
The best thing for staying up is to date with the progress of your order is finding solutions if there is a problem. If some customers are waiting for this inventory, you can know what delivery dates to give them.
5. Big factories vs. small factories
Big factories have an immense advantage, especially when making a bulky order. On the flip side, they might have too many demands. That can cause delays in your delivery if many orders are before you.
If you have a small order, a small factory might handle it better. They are trying to build a name for themselves.
You can ask to see pictures of the production floor. Ask about the number of employees and the production machinery of the factory.
Most of them have no problem disclosing this information. It boosts your confidence.
6. Insist on talking with the senior-most person in the supply line
There’s only so much that a customer service representative can tell you. You should insist on speaking with the factory floor manager or someone higher.
In the Chinese work culture, the boss gets things done. Junior staff members have limited rights. They might not be able to give you the appropriate help.
The boss can change the factory schedule. They can even push your production process forward. If the delivery is late, speak to the boss, and they will move things forward fast.
Choosing a reliable supplier for your inventory is very important. It does not mean that there won’t be mistakes. Something can always go wrong. Delay in delivery is one of the most significant issues that small and medium business owners face.
Late delivery of your stock from China or any other source can affect your business. With a good strategy, though, you can avoid this delay and get your merchandise on time.
Everything starts with the sourcing agent you choose to work with. They will be your eyes in the factory and keep you up to date on the progress of your goods. The sourcing agent keeps in touch with the factory. They ensure that your interests meet your quality needs.
If you choose a good sourcing agent, you will never have to worry about your supplies getting to you on time. They follow up with the factory and update you on the progress of the process.
Stay active on your order. Keep following up all the time to get a weekly update.
If possible, get the boss’s number so that you can communicate with them if there is a delay. Customer care representatives and factory workers can only do so much to help.