With so many manufacturing hubs today sourcing products overseas has become so easy and many upcoming and well-established business are leaping from this. There are numerous benefits a business can derive from sourcing overseas. Though many think it’s an easy process, the product sourcing process needs a good strategy from the supplier sourcing, to the goods arrival processes.

Global sourcing comes with business opportunities that businesses can take advantage of and grow remarkably as long as a good strategy is put in place. Carefully planning and consideration are needed to get everything moving efficiently and evade major setbacks and heavy losses associated with offshore manufacturing.

Today, due to high-end technology with just a click of a button you can get a wide range of suppliers and manufacturers. Even though this seems so easy and fast, sourcing from unknown people can be a daunting and perilous task. This is the exact reason why many businesses and organizations prefer using sourcing agents and product sourcing companies.

If buyers are able to spot scams and red flags at the early stages then fraud and relying on unreliable suppliers/ manufacturers would be a thing of the past. Is it possible as a buyer to escape and protect yourself from fraudulent trading partners? Below we will take you through common mistakes you have been making and how to avoid them in the future.

1. Relying on the Internet Solely

Sourcing products and searching for suppliers in the comfort of your home is a risky business affair. Like any other important life or business decision sourcing products overseas need good planning and the right decisions.

A product sourcing strategy is a must if you want to get high-quality products that you desire. This helps you to cut down any potential threats and risks that you may counter, therefore getting from point A and B becomes a smooth experience.

In most cases, a poor strategy would be as a result of relying on the internet alone and not making any other efforts whatsoever. Sometimes what you order versus what you get can totally be different items. The internet approach will make you particularly vulnerable to this with many individuals posing as ‘factories’ and focusing on marketing and communication.

It’s unsafe trusting someone you haven’t met with your money and product management. To avoid getting counterfeit and low-quality products it’s good to make a physical visit to the manufacturer’s site. If that’s not possible liaising with a product sourcing expert can come in handy. He/she can do all the hard work for you as you focus on other burning issues concerning the business.

2. Unclear Standards

Clear expectations with your suppliers should be a top priority if you want to get top-notch products. Communicating with them and letting them understand what you need will clear any misunderstandings. Never assume that the supplier knows what you want.

One of the gravest mistake companies make is the having perception of being understood. Communication is not about what is advised, it is about what is understood, and this is often highlighted in communication with factories

Having a clear set of standards saves you from similar situations since you’re well aware of what you want and need from a provider. And, since they’ve formally agreed to satisfy those requirements, output disputes are minimal.

For this to be possible, come up with a clear and effective mode of communication that will encourage both parties to lay out their needs, issues and wants on the table. You are therefore able to work efficiently will suppliers and create healthy and long-term working relationships.

3. Lack Of Background Information

Once you have your expectations and specifications on the right track it’s time to look for someone who can deliver and meet your needs. You need to look for the right supplier. There are various sites that you can find a supplier but remember you are looking for someone who is committed, reliable and ready to deliver what you need in time.

You can do it either online (internet, social media) or offline (trade shows, fairs) etc. Once you have made contact, come up with a list and exercise due diligence. This means that you have to conduct in-depth research or investigation to find out more about the supplier.

It’s advisable to have a physical visit to the site of the manufacturer and also webpage. If it’s on the website have a look at the reviews by past clients. They’ll definitely tell you more about the kind of person that you are dealing with.

Ensure that you deal with a supplier who is licensed, certified and registered. Taking time to do all the above will help you avoid costly mistakes at the hands of the wrong manufacturer. With the help of a product sourcing agency supplier sourcing, evaluation and development process can be taken care of.

4.Lack/ Absence of contract

When you are involved in product sourcing and buying of products and services it is wise to have a written contract with your trading partners. Any oral agreements or invoices may not adequately protect you, especially when different cultures and languages are involved. A written contract protects both of you and ensures that the partnership stays within specified bounds and in case of any loss you’ll have legal leverage.

5. Not Collecting Samples

Do not be swayed by images found on the internet. The actual way to know the capability of your manufacturer is by ordering pre-samples before the actual product is manufactured and delivered.
Samples allow you to examine the work in progress and helps you avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings regarding the product specifications and manufacturing process.
When you’re in the early stages of your sourcing project, the most feasible option is to collect samples and scrutinize them for quality. As things progress, you’ll want to obtain an “Approved Sample” of your product – one that will represent the gold standard that each item in your shipment should match.