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Finding a Suitable Manufacturing Partner in China: How to Make an Inquiry?

To make an inquiry about what your custom manufacturing partner can do for you, you will need to know how to approach them and how much it’s going to cost you. As an international importer, you don’t want to pay any more than necessary, and that means asking the right questions and working with someone who can give you quality products at an affordable price.

To help, we’ve compiled some tips on starting that conversation with your manufacturing partner in China so that you can find what you’re looking for while avoiding costly mistakes.

What is a Professional Inquiry Like?

A professional inquiry is a request for information. When you need to learn about the supplier’s catalog, pricing, and payment terms or ask for product samples, you will need one. It enables your team to review your ideas and needs.

How to Make a Professional Inquiry?

Rather than a one-time contact, making an inquiry should be an ongoing process. By following these steps, you will be able to think more thoroughly and systematically about how best to inquire.

Step 1:  Get in Touch with Potential Supplies

The first step to filtering some reliable suppliers is knowing their backgrounds to evaluate if they fit your needs. For example:

  • Background and experience
  • Scale
  • Production Capacity
  • Product Catalog
  • Main Market

It is necessary to determine what the supplier focuses on. A good way of assessing this is by checking whether they have related production lines. For example, if you need to make PCB products, you should find those who have PCB production lines in their facilities. Otherwise, be wary of suppliers who are pretending to be factories but are trading companies or there are risks involved.

Also, it may be beneficial for you to make a decision by contacting around 10 potential suppliers from the start for more information comparisons.

To successfully receive responses from suppliers, it’s also important to mention both who you are and what product/service you need for your business or project. If not, most of them will not respond.

Step 2: Request Quotations Clearing

People in business are under pressure, and so the quicker you can get to the point and more specific you can be, the more likely you are to receive a reply. In this case, before requesting quotes from potential suppliers, you need to prepare a production proposal. It doesn’t have to be the same as what will end up being produced or shipped, but it does provide an important reference point for evaluating rates.

Another reason for quoting based on your production plan is that almost every manufacturing company needs to know your general production plan, including units, materials, and deadlines so they can provide detailed pricing, and nothing will be confusing or misunderstood.

Keep in mind that using a cookie-cutter template taken from a website may not accurately convey the message you want. So, spend some time creating tailored business inquiries so you can get what you need in a short time.  For example, if you need to know the total costs for completing your products, it’s important to specify which type of pricing. Instead of simply asking about the general prices, request quotations in FOB (free on board) price that is not a pure product price but includes shipping fees coming off the factory floor to the harbor and other related costs.

Step 3: Be in Touch with Them Briefly

Before moving on, you can remove some manufacturers from your list that don’t meet your standards and reply accordingly.

After receiving quotations, reach out to them directly over the phone (either online or by phone) to discuss how they can handle your project as well as share other pertinent details.

Sending an email is more traditional but calling will leave a lasting impression to show that you didn’t indiscriminately send out Requests for Quotations (RFQs) to all the suppliers on your list. This means they are likely to respond faster and think highly of your project. It’s also beneficial because it shows your sincerity and interest in partnering with them, which makes the process easier for both parties and can be a good way to establish friendly relations with your potential suppliers.

Moreover, don’t forget to ask them to send over some on-site pictures or videos since you are not available to pay a visit to their factories currently. If you have any questions, try to approach a factory audit service company once you have narrowed your search down to 1 or 2 candidates.

Step 4: Negotiate Based on Value, Not Cost

Cost is often one of the priorities that comes up when finalizing a project. It’s common for factories to ask overseas buyers for their budgets at the beginning of their negotiation process. However, many foreign buyers would prefer not to disclose their budget because they want the factory to understand that they are looking for value and quality, not just a cheap price.

If you are asked about your budget, it’s a good idea to be honest and emphasize that you are looking for long-term partnerships where quality and service are more of the priorities, which helps build trust and ensure that both parties are on the same page from the start.

When finalizing the supplier for your company, there are many different factors to take into account, such as whether or not they have the capacity to deliver quality products, outstanding communication skills, and exceptional customer service. In addition, it’s important to find suppliers that can protect your IP rights, so you don’t compromise any of your work-in-progress ideas and designs.

Don’t forget, the price and the quality are inexorably linked in China. Negotiating a low price with any supplier usually means they will just shrug it off and say ‘sure’ and then go out of their way to find ways to give you the cheapest possible products. A universal rule of life is that everything gets what it pays for. Keep in mind that you make this decision based on what will help your company succeed in the long run.

Step 5: Choose the Most Professional Supplier

In the last step, it’s time to give more information about your product and your quality requirements to the most interesting candidates. Don’t hesitate to give them your target price if it is very different from what they offer you. Ask them to justify their price level precisely.

As a buyer, it is imperative that you select the most professional supplier. This will allow for your orders to be processed with the utmost urgency and care. Luckily, there are many ways for you to determine who is the best choice for you. If you’re looking for a company that has all your needs covered, reach out today for more information and see how we will be able to make them worth every penny!