It’s the mantra you hear from any real estate professional: location, location, location. The right house in the wrong area is less desirable than the almost-right home in the ideal location. The same can be true for sourcing products in a new origin.
As with all decisions, many factors influence the selection of an overseas supplier. The lowest cost comes to mind, but a smart buyer knows to look for hidden or unexpected expenses – if not hidden, at least not assigned to the per-unit value. While selecting a new supplier for your product, these are some of the most pertinent things to consider:
Infrastructure is critical. How easy is it to get the product to market? Is there extensive congestion near the port resulting in extra transport costs? Do containers miss sailings due to the backlog of containers at the port?
Monsoon season in India typically drives claims related to wet or otherwise damaged product. Additionally, it’s common to see delays with cargo availability during winter months in other regions due to snow or other storms.
Currently, we are in the midst of Golden Week. Chinese New Year is another well-known holiday with a big push to get goods moving prior to the shutdown that occurs during the Lunar New Year. It’s important to factor in regional downtime when sourcing a new product to minimize any impact on your supply chain.
Have you considered the extra paperwork to ensure the temperature is monitored throughout? It’s critical to ensure that your cargo insurance covers loss and/or damage due to temperature issues.
With the fluid state of tariffs and other restrictions, it is worth thoroughly researching the current trade environment. Your Licensed Customs Broker (LCB) can be a great resource to navigate the world of duties and tariffs. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce is an excellent resource.
It’s essential to have a foundation of trust with your supply chain partners. By working with a team that communicates any shortcomings or changes to your supply chain, you are setting your business up for success.
Choosing the right supplier encompasses much more than merely choosing the supplier with the lowest cost. When working with a new source, it is prudent to move gradually to iron out any unforeseen issues rather than risking an entire product line. You may have found the world’s most incredible product at a great price but in a challenging location. However, if you can’t get the product to the market, the new supplier location is not the right one for your supply chain.