A good Buying Office, Sourcing Agent or Purchasing Agent plays a very important role in doing safe and smooth business in China, especially when you’re placing a large order: Sourcing and Verifying qualified suppliers, Quality Control, Loading Process Supervision, Warehousing, Shipping Support, Business Risk Control, Legal Contract Support and After-sale service etc. However, It is NOT easy to find a right one. If you don’t make an informed decision when selecting a buying office or purchasing agent you might end up losing a lot more than the commission or service fee.
What is a purchasing agent and why do I need one?
A purchasing agent could be an individual, a group of team or a company, helping companies overseas to import from China. So sometimes buying office service can also refer to ‘purchasing agent’, Buying Office service will be supported by a team of experts in each field: sourcing, verification, procurement, quality control, business risk control etc. A good agent can be an extremely valuable asset in your overall product procurement strategy. Here are the main services offered by your qualified ‘buying office’ or ‘purchasing agent’ in China:
- Keeping finding new products and suppliers.
- Verify, inspect or audit existing suppliers.
III. Price negotiations and Supply Chain Management
- Draft formal Purchase Contract (Business Risk Control)
- Quality Control Management
- Shipping Supp ort and Loading Process Supervision
VII.Customs Clearance Support
VIII. Attend any professional trade fair on behalf of the customers and obtain the latest market information or trend in their industry in China.
Any other service, say, after-sale service support, can be available upon request.
Dealing with Chinese suppliers is very time consuming. Working with a qualified Buying Office or Purchasing Agent can save you much time, cost and energy etc in China. For example, 90% of the suppliers you met online or at local trade fairs might be a typical trade company while the local sourcing specialists can go to the real manufacturing bases to find out some qualified factories for you in person. Apparently the factory price is much more competitive than that of the trader’s anywhere on the globe, by this way you can save more cost in the business.
How to choose a right buying office or purchasing agent from China?
- Ask them for at least 3 client references from your country or area.
Check them out before any cooperation. Trust is very important, especially for long term cooperation.
II.Choose a right buying office or purchasing agent who is near to the manufacturing base ( industry cluster) of your industry.
In China, almost every city has their pillar industry and each product has one or several manufacturing bases. Say, if you’re buying Fireworks, you can simply go to Liuyang city, which is called ‘Home of Fireworks’ or ‘Capital of Fireworks’, where there are more than 400,000 people directly or indirectly engaging in this business in China. ‘Liuyang-made’ fireworks account for 70% of China market and 50% of global market at present. Another two famous manufacturing bases for this product is Liling, Hunan and Wanzai, Jiangxi, these three manufacturing bases are near to each other. This is the same situation to most of the products in China. Your agent’s proximity to a certain industrial cluster can certainly help out when things go wrong during production. It may also cut traveling and transportation costs.
III.Ask them for their Business License and Export License in China, check them out with local officials or third-party verification service company first before formal cooperation.
- Ask them for the measures on how to avoid ‘kickbacks’ from the suppliers. When you are working with a small buying office, especially for individual purchasing agent, they may choose the supplier based on the kickback amount and will not protect the client’s interests in China. This is a problem of management issue. It is very hard to eradicate ‘kickback’ but if some well-known ‘buying office’ may have lot of experience in avoiding it.
- Ask them enough professional questions regarding the coming orders in China.Many sourcing agents are also lacking expertise about product safety regulations in overseas markets. Working with a buying office or procurement agent lacking such knowledge is a serious liability. Keep in mind that in the end, you are going to be held financially responsible if your products turn out to be non-compliant with the relevant standards. Importing from China can be a completely different story depending on the product. Certain products are very complicated (i.e. machinery ) while others a fairly easy to get right (i.e. indoor furniture). Hiring the a purchasing and procurement agent with the right product knowledge is critical and can make the difference between a successful business transaction and complete disaster.
If they are able to satisfy you from above five aspects and if they are familiar with the manufacturing bases in China, then you can feel assured to work with them in China.