Red Flags In China Sourcing

So often there are red flags waving in an importers face…but the importer doesn’t recognize the danger ahead of them. Zeal to proceed with a project, timing restraints and lack of considering the dangers of a bad order cause the buyer to courageously press on in the face of these red flags.

These flags say certain things:

  • Don’t proceed with this supplier.
  • This is not a stable price.
  • This is a quality issue, look out, look out!
  • The confirmed timing is not realistic.

Knowing your project and good ol’-fashion common sense are ways to recognize these red flags and change your plan. When working overseas, cross culture and cross time zones, it’s not the time to check your brain at the door.  Tighten up even more.

  • Thoroughly read and think through supplier emails.
  • Recognize discrepancies in supplier communication (you confirmed 1 thing and they are saying another).
  • Know when something just doesn’t seem possible. The supplier confirmed they are able to produce your request, but you see no evidence they are able to produce!


Why Suppliers in China Quote Incorrectly



Lack of Understanding, Magnifies Product Problems



Red Flags Buyers Wave in China Sourcing

  • Rushing in to a project. Take time to evaluate a supplier.
  • Know the lowest price may have strings attached.
  • China, with 5,000 years of history, has a different view of ethics and “doing the right thing” in comparison to the Western world. Naïveté has hurt many an importer.
  • If a supplier has trouble getting a sample right, this is indication to move to another vendor option.
  • Learn doing all of your supplier sourcing experiences. Don’t just count it as a loss that something didn’t work out, but recored and detail all information and findings. This can help you to efficiently transition to a new vendor without considering the past experience to be a loss.