Import Archives

Canton fair haze?

Well you should have all returned form the Canton Fair by now. If I recall the feeling on return its pretty much – thank goodness that’s over – in a good way of course. The Canton Fair can be fantastic but also overwhelming. So while you are sitting there looking at the massive number of supplier brochures you brought back with you, let me give you some timely advise about what to do next. Step 1. Review your brochures and be brutal. I know you made a huge effort to bring them back with you and are probably feeling guilty…

CE certified? Look closer.

The CE symbol stands for “Conformité Européenne”. Many factories producing electronics in China will boast that their products meet the CE regulations which include all safety requirements of the European Union. This is relevant to Australian importers because, in many cases, CE regulations are the same as Australian standards and we can use this as a way of gauging the capabilities and eligibility of a factory when beginning a sourcing project. As with all Chinese factory claims, we need to remember to never accept this information at face value. We have to look closer, perform due diligence and do whatever…

Chinese whispers – why factories get it wrong sometimes

Many importers currently dealing with Chinese factories will already know that manufacturing there can be wrought with complexity. They don’t always deliver on time, on spec and on budget as the project managers like to put it. Few importers though, will bother themselves to understand the complexities that exist within the factory that significantly impact their ability to deliver. By having visibility into the manufacturing process, you can better manage the risks!

Commercialise your hobby import project

There are many ‘hobby’ importers out there who have seen some success through importing from China. Dare I say they found a supplier on the internet that agreed to small quantities and then actually received what they paid for! I cringe as I admit that this could be possible – although I would NEVER recommend it. In any case, the next challenge for those ‘lucky’ hobby importers is to take the big step… turn their successful hobby into a full scale business. Can it be done…yes, of course it can be done, but it rarely happens.

Design communications are the key to successful importing!

This is a supplementary blog to the previous discussion on writing your quality assurance system… Designs and specifications must be made in accordance with strict instructions. This requires clear design communications between the importer and the manufacturer. Design specifications are typically set out in a specification document or series of documents and are reviewed regularly. Changes or modifications to the designs must be approved and all parties involved need to be updated. For new and small importers this is as important as it is to large scale importers. You can achieve this through creating a document specification that details all…

Donald Trump – employ the best people but never trust them!

I recently heard Donald Trump speak at an event in Sydney, where he mentioned that one of his many keys to success was “employ the best people but never trust them’. It resonated with me because I think it can apply across a number of business scenarios. One in particular is ‘employ the best factories but never trust them!’ (Hopefully Donald doesn’t mind me taking creative license)

How not to get caught out!

A contract is an important part of risk management and your quality assurance system. Without one you may get caught out with no where to turn if things go wrong. Trading in China can be dangerous, especially when you don’t know who you are really dealing with. By taking the time to prepare a contract/s you will need to address a number of questions and provide a solution that both parties are agreeable to before you commence trade. Think of it as your guide to ensuring you tick all the boxes, as well as your action plan in the case…

Importer blues – when you think you are dealing with a factory

We were recently approached by an importer who came across our site after he had been experiencing some problems with a supplier in China. His product was an electrical item that was to be made of stainless steel for the food industry. The Importer had sent a 50% deposit but hadn’t yet fully finished communicating all the changes he wanted, when out of the blue he got a call saying “the goods are finished come and get them” – you can imagine his surprise! In the Importers mind the money was sent simply as a goodwill gesture. He didn’t realize…

Importers – writing your quality system

Whilst your factory is ultimately responsible for the final finish of your products, many new importers will be surprised to hear that they should also develop their own set of quality assurance systems to ensure their outcomes. A quality assurance system means different things for different people. For non-professionals who now find themselves in the import game it simply means a set of procedures overseeing their communication and due diligence processes.

Is a contract worth anything in China?

Let me set you straight on contracts… Import or Trade contracts are of the utmost importance to importers. It is not suffice to let your manufacturer prepare one, nor is it good enough to have a few terms jotted down on a the bottom of a purchase invoice.Whilst this seems common sense to me, I am continually inundated with client referrals where contracts are not in place and where business owners do not believe they are necessary. The common excuse is that “contracts mean nothing in China” and “even if I had a contract its unlikely that I would litigate…