Insider Tips for Successful Sourcing: Learn from the GlobalTQM Expert on Global Sources Podcast
Tired of encountering challenges in logistics and sourcing products from reliable suppliers. We have an exclusive opportunity for you to gain valuable insights from an industry expert and elevate your sourcing game to new heights!
Here is the podcast episode on Global Sources, where David Hoffmann, the renowned sourcing and quality control expert from GlobalTQM, reveals the secrets to successful sourcing and building direct relationships with suppliers. Gain a competitive edge in the e-commerce marketplace.
Listening to this podcast episode will provide you with practical strategies and expert advice to overcome the challenges of sourcing and ensure a smooth supply chain process for your business.
Here are some key takeaways from the episode:
Direct Communication: Learn why small entrepreneurs should prioritize direct communication with suppliers, going beyond online resources and price points.
Red Flags to Look Out For: Discover the red flags that indicate unreliable suppliers, such as unrealistic pricing and poor communication.
Checklist for Evaluating Manufacturers: Gain insights into the checklist that GlobalTQM follows when evaluating manufacturers for sourcing products. Learn how to assess factors such as production capacity, communication skills, quality control measures, certifications, and experience in your country.
Importance of Trust and Transparency: Understand the significance of finding trustworthy and transparent suppliers who are honest about their capabilities and limitations. This can help you avoid last-minute problems and production delays.
Simple. Free. Advice. No Obligations.
Ready to revolutionize your sourcing strategy and take your business to the next level? Don't miss the opportunity to schedule a call with the experts at GlobalTQM.
Remember, success lies in building strong supplier relationships and having access to the right expertise. Don't miss this golden opportunity to transform your sourcing strategy. Tune in to the podcast and schedule your call with GlobalTQM today!
Note: GlobalTQM is excited to offer personalized consultations to businesses of all sizes. Availability is limited, so schedule your call soon to secure your spot!
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Welcome to the global TQM .com podcast where we teach e -commerce business owners how to source the best products from China, negotiate with Chinese manufacturers, navigate Chinese business culture and grow your business to seven figures and beyond. David Hoffman is the founder and CEO of global TQM .com, your team on the ground in China. Hello and welcome to Global Sources Live. My name is Tom and I'll be your host for this episode of Buyer Fireside Chat.
Before we get stuck into that, though, I should mention that this is a sort of promotional tie in with the upcoming Sourcing Festival, an online event on global sources .com, which will offer a whole lot of great sourcing deals. And you can click the link in the description to register for access to that. Our guesttoday is from Global TQM and here to talk about, well, youknow,
issues with logistics and getting things from one place to another. And that is David Hoffman. And let's see if we can bring him on now. Hi,David, how are you doing? Good, Tom, how are you? I'm very well, thank you. Thank you for joining us today. We appreciate your time. Where are you calling us from, actually? So I'm in Sydney, Australia, and it's nearly 8pm tonight. Oh, right. Are you working late for us? Iappreciate that.
No problem at all. You're welcome. All right. Fantastic. All right. So, Imean, well, before we get into the nitty gritty of our discussion topic, could you tell us a bit about yourself maybe and about Global TQM? Give us a bit of a backgrounder on what you do. Yeah, sure. SoI live in Australia now. I lived in Hong Kong and China for 19 years before coming out here a year ago. We have a sourcing and quality control office in Shenzhen.
And we've been developing products, sourcing suppliers for many years. That's what we do. And we help a lot of Ecom sellers and a lot of small entrepreneurs of all sizes, including big retailers, youknow, find reliable suppliers, develop products, source products and handle the whole supply chain for them. And I guess really, you know,what's different about us is it's from all different sizes. If you're a small startup to, you know, a seasoned experienced seller,
you know, we've got a whole team on the ground in China that can help. And we really make sure that you have a direct relationship with the manufacturers and we just help you build that and nurture that rather than try act as a middle man in between that. That soundspretty good. Imean, I suppose it makes sense to start with that, the upstream part of the Ecom as process, finding manufacturers, finding the people who are going to provide the products that you then go on and sell. Imean,
yes. If you are, I mean, especially if you're like a sole trader, someone who's maybestarting out and doesn't have huge amounts of capacity to like, say, you know, youcan't fly out to go look at factories and so on. What are some kind of things you should bear in mind when you're starting out researching about potential suppliers? Youknow, what, for example, are some red flags you should watch out for in the sort of early days, so to speak? Yeah. So, Tom, I think, you know,
the typical way to go about it if you're not traveling would probably be online through, you know, all these websites like China, you know, global sources, Alibaba, et cetera, et cetera. I mean,there's a lot of there's a lot of access to suppliers. I think, you know, some red flags to look out for is suppliers aren't always what they appear to be. You know, you've got to try and figure out who the real manufacturers are or who the trading companies are.
Not that either are good or bad. Imean, both have their place, but you just really need to know who you're dealing with. And I just think some some red flags probably to me are when they too willing to do anything or they're quoting prices that are too cheap. It's often unrealistic. You know, so I would just say don't don't let price be the first judge of whether or not you want to pursue a supplier. Number one,
you know, and number two, really, you know, take the time to go deep to get to know the people and communicate with them. I think, you know, communication is key. And if you can't communicate well, you know, that that's really the first red flag. And, you know, I mean, I mean, there's there's a whole ladder of things, you know, checklist, you know, kind of mentally go through and dealing with the supply to establish, you know, their credibility. I mean, what are some of the things on your checklist?
Yeah. So so firstly, capacity. I always like to understand, you know, what is their actual production capacity? You know, can they make our orders? And not just actually, you know, in that our orders might be so big or or something or it might be so big. Can they handle it? It's sometimes are they the right size manufacturer for you? If you're starting and your quantities are smaller, you don't necessarily want to be working with the big manufacturers because they probably won't give you the attention you need.
So it's really it's finding the fit for where you're at. I think that's really important. Andyou want to be one of the bigger customers they have, right? Likenot just exactly. Or at least be of at least be of a size that they're willing to take your order and don't find it, you know, more of an annoyance than anything else, because you'll just get pushed down the line and you won't get the attention. Sure, Imean, I'm sorry, go ahead.
Well, Imean, there's a lot, you know, I do think whether it's large or small, you want to understand the size and capability of that manufacturer. And communication is always a top of my list. And the things I'm looking for there are the skills, not just their ability to be English or converse, but it's really what are their skills? You know,are they educating me about a product,
about the production process, you know, and are they knowledgeable? Because if they're not, there's a good chance they're either not the manufacturer or possibly just a low quality manufacturer. You know, you almost want that communication to be so fluid that they can talk you through their quality, which is the next major thing to understand. You know, that is how do they check their quality? What what process do they have in place? What is their philosophy as a company on quality?
You know, what are their expected return rates? How do they deal with market feedback? Now, all those questions will help you build confidence in the company. Youknow, obviously, you get things like certifications. Are they experienced in your country? Do they have the certifications you need on your product? You know, that's that's important. It's not uncommon for a manufacturer to say,
yeah,we can make it for Australia, for example. But if they haven't actually shipped to Australia, it's more of a willingness to do it than actually understanding things that they thatyou know, you might not even know. You don't know what you don't know. Yeah, exactly. And it's not to say that, you know, just because someone is making something for Australia for the first time, that's a bad thing in itself. But you need to know that in advance that you can't assume that they have everything under control when it comes to shipping.
Maybe you need to kind of help them out with some things. And, yeah,I guess you might be could well be willing to to do that bit of helping out. But yeah, you're right. And I guess there's the issue of. So I suppose being a little bit vulnerable, is that part of it? Like when they could admit things that I know about. Is that kind of a sign of that? That's a good way to put it.Yeah, that's a really good way to put it. It's it's it's vulnerable and honest if they don't know something to say that.
It's far more important because ultimately, and I see this so often where a buyer will will expect the factory to be responsible for everything, which, of course, isn't in anideal world. We'd all love that. But it does ultimately come down to you as the buyer, because you're goingto suffer the losses, you're going to suffer the reputation loss. So it's really important that that you take that ownership and having a supplier that's trustworthy and honest and transparent with those things really makes a big difference.
And you giving them that comfort to do that, by the way, because I think if you create a tone where they're too scared to tell you, we don't have this or we don't have that or we need to get it still, there's going to be a delay. You start getting funny stories and you'd rather you'd rather have honesty from the beginning. Yeah, that's a really good point. Yeah, you don't want them to be kind of doing that thing. I mean, yeah, you do hear those stories where because a supplier is is trying to kind of solve the problem before they have to tell them about it,
the buyer about it, then they end up kind of leaving it to really the last minute it's too late to even mitigate the issue of like a missed order. Exactly. And that's when you really get into that, you know, the real risk territory of them doing something to taking shortcuts or, you know, doing something you might not be aware of. So it's much better to to set the tone, you know,
such that they understand you'd rather work through problems with them and solve it together. But it's critical that, you know, you validate everything along the way. Yeah, because those problems that you don't know about, they're going to have downstream effects for you, you know, once you are, you know, you're shipping things out of the warehouse and wait, now I need to think of some Australian cities in Newcastle to to, you know, some shops around the New South Wales area. There you go. That's an Aussie geography. You did well.
Yeah. And then, like, you know, you're blissfully assuming that those boxes are full of products that are fine. But then the customers get them and they're going to be pretty upset, which I suppose actually, especially for e -commerce buyers, that's another thing to think about, youknow, this the the kind of the fulfillment from yet from the point of purchase out to the customers, whether they're retailers or individuals. Imean, what do you find as some? Yeah.
Sort of like kind of pitfalls for for e -commerce, you know, sellers in particular, like there are kind of traps that the are easy would be easy to avoid if you knew about them. They happen a lot. Yeah. So so so I think in terms of the e -commerce fulfillment side, I think people sometimes underestimate the experience the customer has when they receive a product, you know,
and that's, for example, simple thingslike the packaging and the whole unboxing experience. Youknow, that's your first impression. And and I know personally, when I buy stuff online, when it comes really poorly packaged, the first thing I think is, this is cheap Chinese product. Where did they buy this from? Is it even good when it comes really nicely packaged, you know, with little customized message cards or just a bit of thought behind it? I I naturally feel like,
oh,these guys care about what they do because they even care about the packaging. And when I receive it and it's nice and I enjoy unboxing it, I'm already biased towards liking the product and wanting, you know, wanting to enjoy the product. One of the things I find as well that's really important is is often overlooked is is unboxing the product is actuallyyour first opportunity to communicate directly with the customer.
And and that's really a powerful point, a powerful moment, because if there's anything you want them to know, for example, hey, if you've got any problem at all with this product, call us or live chat with us or whatever. We will solve it within 12 hours, for example. That's great to know, because already you're starting off on the right foot. Whereas I've seen products you're in, there's a long winded instruction manual.
And that message is there somewhere embedded in the instruction manual. And you go, well, you know, probably two percent of people read that, whereas one simple clear message will completely transform your relationship and it will bring down your returns and, youknow, and give you that and give that customer service that people want. So, you know, that customization, that messaging is is really critical. One of one of the other things that I just mentioned is and I've personally been through this experience when I shop online,
is, you know, partnering with the right logistics partners is crucial. I actually bought something from the US. I was so excited to get this product. As it turns out, the product is phenomenal, but it took me nearly two months to get it because it was routed all over the place. And, you know, the company was good. They were helpful, but they admitted there's nothing they can do. It's gone out. They've got a tracking number.
The problem was the logistics company they were using. We're looking for the cheapest rate and routing it all over. Whereas if they just paid a bit more or had a better partner, you know, that nearly turned me off. I actually demanded a refund, to be honest, after a month, even though I hadn't got the product. And they didn't do it, but I could understand why. But it was frustrating. It put me off. I mean, yeah, because like you say, there's this even something as simple as the little card inside a box. Imean,
it's it's fairly it's a cost effective way to win over the customer, isn't it? You feel it does work. It's so simple, but it absolutely works. Andthen a two month delay. That's that's the opposite. You already resent it by the time it arrives. It's a lot of work to get over. I mean, what are some ways you can avoid? Imean, well, I mean, what's a red flag for a logistics agency? Is it too good to be true price? Isthat kind of a red flag? Yeah, I think it's experience being able to quote definite delivery times and lead times,
youknow, when the ranges are too wide. It's it's generally not a good thing. I think if they've got too many partnerships, you know, sometimes that happens, especially if it's global shipping. You'll find some like, oh, well, we use this service for this country, the service for another country. They if there's too many links in the chain, it's probably a red flag. Well, if they can't give you rates straight away, it's definitely a red flag because you'll find they're probably not shipping regularly to those countries.
I would, you know, just look for the guys that aredoing the volumes in those places because they've got the infrastructure. And even if they're a little bit more expensive, I would go with that safety any day. Yeah, and it sounds like it's pretty negative for the. Isthere any kind of pro to using the smaller kind of delivery agency or you think not really? You should kind of go with the bigger ones whenever you can. Yeah. I. I think it's it's it's normally price you go for the smaller guys,
and that's where they try to compete. I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Ijust think reputation and experience is is more important. You know, you know,you may you may be trying you delivery service with some orders, but not all orders. Andas they prove themselves or if they've got clients, they use it. You can talk to and touch and try and verify things that might be helpful.
But and of course, tracking information as well, you know, if you want to be able to track it, I know that costs more usually, but it really does make a difference. Yeah. I mean, well, that's a customer service thing as well. I mean,I know when I order stuff that's online again, yeah, I start to get I don't know if it's really a negative perception, but it's certainly I I'm kind of in limbo until it arrives. When it sometimes the package goes into a tracking black hole, you know, it gets to California, but it gets on a plane and it says,
well, now we don't know. And you think. Exactly.And about it, you own your whole customer experience from when they shopping to the descriptions they seeing to the product images, to your accuracy of inventory that you can buy it and get it and get it delivered on time. Andeven when they receive the product off sale, so you own everything. But in that whole customer journey, there's this third party weak link that nobody says,
oh, well, that wasn't your problem. That was your logistics company's problem. They just go, you guys are terrible on delivery. Right. So it's like this little weak link in that whole customer experience. That that can just, you know, really hurt hurt and damage your reputation. Yeah, you watch for that. Let's bring this back to it to a happier kind of topic. I want to come back and talk about customized packaging a bit and making people feel good and not bad. Is that something that is you typically find that suppliers can will kind of arrange as part of a customized order?
Or is it more practical to go to like a specialist kind of packaging provider and getthem to kind of hook up with you with your supplier? No, Ithink supply. Well, look, itdepends. Youknow, if you're doing a bulk order out of China, you know, you can definitely include, you know, message cards in there that are a little bit more generic, maybe not addressed to the person, for example. But you can definitely make sure that all the boxing and packaging materials are done at the manufacturing level for sure.
So you've got less handling later. But if you want to really customize something, it's probably got to be done at your pick and pack center where you might be handwriting a card or or you might be even printing a person last card with each order. Andthey, youknow, inserting it with the bundle. It's just you just got to look at it. Or if it's a very customized product you printing on,
that's normally, you know, a secondary process, right, which is done in in your local country at the logistics center. OK, I kind of get it. Oh, sorry. Yeah. Now, go ahead. I know. I was like the principle of like do it as early on in the process as you can, but not too early. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Because remember, you've got volume and bulk versus personalized something one on one.
They're quite different. Unless you're lucky enough to have a supplier in China that's drop shipping for you and can do that personalization. Youknow, but normally in a little bit more scale for that. Yeah, I can imagine that's going to that. That's the point at which you definitely need to be among the top clients for that supplier, isn't it? To get absolutely. You probably got to put one of your own people there to to manage that.
Oh, yeah. That's a that's interesting. Interesting thought, although I think perhaps outside the scope of this discussion anyway. So, David, yeah, top tips as ever. Thank you. Thank you for that. If people want to get in touch with you or Global TQM, how do they how do they do that? Yeah, really easy. Just go to global TQM dot com. And on our website, there's a scheduler discovery call and that's free. And they can talk to me or my team and, you know, we can discuss this. And all right, we love to talk to people.
All right. Fantastic. Well, thank you very much for your time. Been lovely chatting to you and hope we can do it again sometime. Likewise, Tom. Thank you so much. All right. Cheers. Goodbye. Bye bye.