A lot of businesses need a helping hand when importing from a country like China because it is becoming the major manufacturer of industrial products due to its low price and improved quality. But the diversity of products, language, culture and business practice pose a problem for most foreign buyers and thus, having a good rapport with the suppliers is very important. This is where a China purchasing agent comes in.
What is a Purchasing Agent?
This refers to an individual, working as a freelancer or employed by a company in order to help companies overseas import from China. Although a purchasing agent isn’t a requirement to import from China, a very good agent is really valuable in your overall product procurement strategy.
Why You Need a Purchasing Agent?
Handling these Chinese suppliers can be time consuming and finding the right one requires a sound and tactical approach that completely weeds out the bad suppliers (about 80 – 90 percent), which constitutes the majority. If you don’t have the time to spend ten hours a week for each product and each supplier, follow development and production then you need to good purchasing agent.
Also, choosing the right supplier requires a certain amount of product knowledge which is an asset that is not possessed by a lot of inexperienced importer. You definitely need a China purchasing agent if you do not have the basic technical understanding that is needed to speak intelligently about your product and the requirements of your market or you cannot go to China to inspect factories and get to understand the people you work with.
With that said, it is really up to you to choose whether to work with a purchasing agent or not. If you have the wealth of experience and a high level of “in house” expertise that can manage the often time consuming and risky tasks, then do not hesitate to do it on your own and save a few dollars.
Importance of finding a Good Purchasing Agent.
The responsibility of a purchasing agent is to look for quality products and reputable suppliers and handle everything you need in China on your behalf while looking after your every interest in it. Below are some of the duties of a reliable purchasing agent.
It is his role to keep an organization’s inventory of either finished goods, raw materials, or important services at a satisfactory level in order to keep business tasks at minimum possible price or cost.
He should verify purchase requisitions and compare items requested to master list, clarify unclear items and recommend alternatives. It is the duty of the Purchasing Agent to forward available inventory items by verifying stock and scheduling delivery and also verify price and specifications in order to prepare purchase orders and obtain recommendations from suppliers for substitute items.
His duty also includes obtaining purchased items by forwarding orders to suppliers, monitoring as well as expediting orders. He should be able to verify complete receipt of items by comparing items ordered to items received and resolving shipments in error with suppliers. It is their duty to accomplish purchasing and organization mission by completing related results as needed.
What to look out for in a Purchasing Agent?
A qualified purchasing or sourcing agent in China must have good command of English or any other foreign languages both in written and verbal forms as language is extremely important in communication among businessmen world. A good China purchasing agent should know much about the policies in China and should have good links with local government authorities.
A purchasing agent should also have proper methods on purchasing and sourcing the target items as soon as possible. He should also have a good knowledge of international laws and regulations. He should be familiar with international practice, certificates issue, quota issue, tax issue and anti-dumping issue, etc.
As more and more businesses seek to expand and make their operations more efficient, getting a purchasing agent to handle all the time consuming tasks is a wise approach to take. The guide discussed above should be able to lead you in the right path so that you can get a China Purchasing Agent that is trustworthy, reliable and efficient.