I’ve been working with sourcing agents in China for over 10 years. It’s not always easy, but when you find the right agent to work with, it can be one of the most rewarding parts of your business. However, sometimes you need a new agent because your current one isn’t living up to their end of the bargain or they’re no longer able to fulfill your needs. In this post we’ll explore some tell-tale signs that it may be time to move on from your current sourcing agent and find a new one who can do right by your brand!
Communication is a two-way street.
This is a two-way street. A good sourcing agent should be able to communicate with you, and you should also be able to communicate clearly with your sourcing agent. It’s important that you are able to express your needs and preferences in a way that the sourcing agent can understand, then get a response from them as quickly as possible once they have understood what you need or want.
Your needs aren’t being fully met.
- If your sourcing agent is not meeting some or all of your needs, you should consider getting a new one.
- In China, it’s easy to find a sourcing agent who can get you the quality you need at a price within your budget and in a reasonable amount of time—but it’s not always easy to find one who does all four in an efficient manner.
You’re not a priority.
If you’re not a priority, then why are you still working with them? It’s important to be a priority. You need to be able to trust your supplier, and have a good relationship with them. It should also be clear that they can communicate with you as well, so that there aren’t any misunderstandings about orders or other things related to your business.
They can’t fulfill your requirements.
A sourcing agent should be able to fulfill your requirements, or at least find someone who can. If they can’t do it, then what’s the point of having them help you?
If a sourcing agent says something like “We are not able to find such a good quality,” that means they don’t have the knowledge or skill set required to fulfill your order. This is a major red flag!
They don’t seem to understand your brand.
If your sourcing agent is not familiar with your brand, they will not be able to source products that fit the image that you are trying to convey. This can lead to problems that include:
- Products of poor quality
- Costly mistakes in the manufacturing process (e.g., mix-ups between orders)
- Poor customer service post-sale
Make sure that any sourcing agent you work with is intimately familiar with your brand and its goals before you hire them. This knowledge will allow them to better source products for you and avoid costly mishaps down the line!
They don’t respect your communication preferences.
- They don’t respect your communication preferences.
- They don’t communicate in a way that makes sense to you. For example, they might ask for the same information over and over again or fail to provide the information you need in a timely manner.
- The communication is not consistent with what you requested of them and/or expected from their role as a sourcing agent.
They’re flaky and unreliable.
- They’re flaky and unreliable.
If you’ve been working with your sourcing agent for any length of time, you’ve probably realized that they seem to be a bit…off. Maybe they don’t answer their phone, or maybe they never return your calls or emails. Maybe they haven’t shown up for meetings, or maybe the work isn’t done on time or poorly done (or sometimes even at all). This is one of the most obvious signs that it’s time to find a new sourcing agent in China.
There are hidden fees in the contract.
Many sourcing agents will try to tack on hidden fees in the contract, which is a red flag for a few reasons. First, it’s not ethical and it’s against Chinese law. Second, hidden fees are ways for sourcing agents to make more money from you without giving you anything in return. Third, the list of potential problems with hidden fees is endless: it could be something as simple as charging too much for shipping or insurance that should come out of your budget; or maybe they’ll try to hide their own mistakes by charging you extra costs when things go wrong (like delays at customs). In any case, if your sourcing agent has hidden fees built into their contracts and they won’t discuss them openly with you—or if they change their minds after agreeing on certain terms—it may be time to find someone new who can give you full transparency and honesty about pricing details
The goods you ordered never arrive.
- The goods you ordered never arrive.
- The goods you ordered arrive damaged.
- The goods you ordered arrive late.
- The goods you ordered arrive in the wrong color.
- The goods you ordered arrive with missing parts.
- The goods you ordered arrive with missing documentation
If you feel like you’re getting subpar goods and service, it may be time to look elsewhere for a new sourcing agent in China
If you’ve been doing business with a sourcing agent in China for any length of time, you know how important it is to find the right one. It’s important because your company will likely be working with them for a long period of time and if they are subpar, then it could hurt the bottom line.
There are many things to consider when choosing whom to work with. Some of these include:
- Their reputation within their industry
- Their past clients (you can ask around)
As you can see, there are plenty of signs that it’s time to consider a new sourcing agent. We hope these ten have helped you determine if your current partner is right for your brand and business needs. Remember, the right partner is out there—you just need to find them!