It's very tempting when you are thinking of purchasing thousands of promotional products to just do a quick Google search and find a manufacturer to do business with directly. It's going to be more cost-effective, sure. However, you are going to run into so many issues, including both quality and communication. Both of these subjects have already been covered in other posts - we advise you give them a read. One more issue you are going to face is a difference of culture and credit.
We have our own national and religious holidays, they have theirs. Do you know how these might affect your delivery schedules? Here in the UK, if you sent an enquiry at 3:00 pm on Christmas Eve and did not get an answer for a week you would not be in the least bit surprised. So if you are going to deal direct you need to understand the nature of holidays like the Chinese New Year which can shut everything do for up to three weeks – and to this you will need to add Eid, Dwali, Holi and Ramadan amongst others.
It is not just religious holidays, many countries have national holidays or even state holidays which can stop production or the movement in and out of ports.
Imagine you are trying to find some promotional footballs. You email a few factories, but only one gets back to you. This company charges much more than you were hoping but you want to make sure the order happens on time so you go with that company. Then, the other two or three factories come back to you after their break with lower costs and can still make sure you get the balls on time. This mistake has just cost you money.
In the UK, we have systems for checking the credit worthiness of clients and for most we will get grant 30 days credit. This is not just about cash flow – you are paying for the product after you have seen it. After your internet search for your Chinese or Indian supplier do not be surprised if they require full payment before they start manufacture.
This lack of credit is an issue of trust, trust in you the customer. In China, culturally, they will not give credit. They are not trying to offend, they simply will not do this. Potentially after a long history of trading they may discuss but do not hold your breath.
Trust works two ways of course and you will hear horror stories of companies in the UK opening the newly arrived box of product to be shocked at what they have been sent and what they have paid for.
We are a specialist importer and have the scars of the mistakes and the problems – but over time you find the manufacturers you can work with and build the confidence to get it right. A quick internet search will find you a company – you may cut out the middle man – but there are risks.
Much like we describe in the past two blogs, we have been through the problems, we know what issues lay ahead and we've learnt how to counteract them. We know which suppliers are taking days off and for how long. We automatically adjust our prices if we need to so that when you give us a call, you can focus on what you might want your rugby ball to look like, not whether it's the best cost and if it'll be there on time. You can relaxed when it comes to payment and watch as all the leg work is done for you.
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