Here comes the last part of our article with this part 3. In the previous parts we had listed the best tradeshows and online platforms where you can find suppliers, we then gave practical tips to build your list of potential suppliers and assess them.
With this final article it’s now time to choose the ultimate supplier you will be working with!
This article takes around 6 minutes to read (≈ 1000 words). Looking forward to see you using the tips we are sharing below.
1. Know your requirements!
To assess your final choice you need to be prepared and do your homework. This preliminary step is crucial. Make sure to know:
- Your product, its different materials, its composition, its design, etc
- Functions, possible options, colors required, etc
- Cost calculation and production process
Payment terms accepted
- Quantities required
2. Time to assess
Your first email can already tell a lot.
- Are they responsive?
- Are they detailed with their answer? Are they precise enough? Does they show any technical knowledge?
- Is the email signature consistent with the email address? Is the email signature consistent with the supplier name and location you have?
Many online tools and tips exist:
- Check the year of creation of the website. You can copy paste URL address on https://who.is, the year of creation of the website will then appear on top. Is the factory claiming to have 10 years’ experience but its website was only created last year?
- With Google image reverse, verify any picture they have on their website or Alibaba profile. You just need to copy paste the selected picture and check results:
- What if the picture of their factory gate also appear on many other websites for all kind of factories? Are they really legit? Was this picture really shot in their factory?
- What if the picture of their laboratory appears under other company names? Do they really have this laboratory? Does it really belong to them?
- What if the picture of their product appear on multiple other websites under other factory names? Are they really producing this item? Are they only a trading company?
In a word, if none of their picture are legit, can you really trust them?
- Check their location on google map and google satellite
- Is it really possible that their location appear in the downtown of a major city? Is it only a trading company, only with offices downtown?
- When checking on google satellite (earth view), is there really the space for a factory? Is the location in the middle of an industrial park? Does it look like there is factory?
Documents and certificates
- You can always ask for a copy of the Chinese manufacturer’s business license. This is a totally normal and legitimate request in China. Most shops proudly exhibit their business registration at the entrance, even restaurants are displaying their Business license on of the counter. Be worried if they show any reluctance to show it.
Business license includes some basic information such as the registration number, registered name, registered capital, location and most importantly the business scope.
Public AIC records
- Alternatively, instead of asking for the business license, you can also visit the local AICwebsite (the AIC is the Administration for Industry and Commerce in China).
Each province in China has its own AIC. You’ll need to search the AIC of the province of your manufacturer. You can then consult the business license and you can see if it matches (however you may need someone fluent to read in Chinese to search on these websites).
Be aware that information is not always up to date on some AIC websites. For a complete list of AIC websites province by province, you can always ask us.
Certificate and test reports
- Double check the validity of the certificates and test reports they are providing. Most certificates are not fake, they are genuine but don’t apply for your product or this manufacturer. These certificates are often only valid for a similar item produced by the factory with other materials and different functions.
The best, quickest and easiest way to verify validity of such documents is simply to contact the organization that issued it. Most certification, lab-test or accreditation documents have a number and a contact with email on the front page.
Also verify that that the company that issued this document is legit and known.
We, at V-Trust, receive such inquiry every day from importers trying to verify that the document provided by their supplier was actually provided by V-Trust.
3. Audit your supplier
Congratulations you have now chosen your supplier! You have assessed him with all the tips and tools we shared in these 3 articles. But let’s face it, all these are just some tips and tools, mostly with online verification.
The ultimate way to assess your supplier is surely an audit on-site, by literally sending someone before you even send any deposit.
Since 2003, V-Trust offers Factory Audit solutions. Hiring us can be a way for you to save time and flight tickets. But most importantly, you are hiring professional auditors. Our auditors have a very strong expertise, they have audited hundreds of factories, they are fluent in Chinese and can quickly detect possible problems.
All our V-Trust auditors are our full time auditors, hired by us, trained by us and working for us only.
Please feel free to contact us to receive a sample report of a Factory Audit.