Ever since it opened up and embraced global trade in the 1980s, China has played a crucial role in the global supply chain. As China manufactures most of the products in the world, it gets the reputation of being the world’s factory.
If you are a trader or ecommerce who deals with Chinese suppliers, shipping from China is what you should be most concerned about. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, shipping delays and freight costs have greatly increased. And if you don’t pick your logistics provider very carefully, your supply chain can be thrown off more easily than ever.
In a word, choosing the right logistics supplier is the key. It might be a difficult task to indentify them, especially for rookies and sometimes even professionals.
To avoid any potential problems that may arise during the shipping process, consider these:
1. Carefully select a supplier
To avoid blindly trusting any supplier, we should make a list of qualified suppliers first. There are thousands of logistics companies in China. They may all claim that they have all the required certifications and a lot of experience in logistics. Therefore, a thorough inspection is required.
The inspection should include:
Whether the suppliers have their own equipment. Some of them are just cargo coordinators who rely on a network of agency connections.
Whether the suppliers have a company-owned office in your destination country. If there is a problem with customs clearance, the supplier with a local office can take care of it right away.
If they are capable of the preparation of export documentation. If the supplier subcontracts its own work, you will be more likely to have a long delivery time.
If they have a standard IT system that can track all the required documents for trade regulations and provide accurate logistics information about your shipments.
2. Get multiple quotations from various suppliers.
Once you have made a list of trustworthy suppliers, get their quotations and compare rates and services. Make sure the price and service they offer are competitive and up-to-date.
They usually evaluate your freight rates depending on:
Ports levy terminal handling charges
Insurance and certification
There are other factors that may also affect the total cost. You can forecast the rough cost with these main factors listed above.
3. Make sure every order is checked against the RPL.
The restricted parties list (RPL) is compiled by the United States to boycott “denied parties” from another country. Other countries might have the same sort of list. Every time you create an order, ensure that it isn’t against the RPL. As the list may contain over one million names, you definitely don’t want to waste your time checking the list. Rather than relying on suppliers to check it manually, you should ask them to build a system that can match the names automatically.
4. Ship during off-peak and avoid last-minute shipments
You should avoid peak seasons like Chinese New Year. It is one of the busiest times of the year. Not to mention that the pandemic is still doing a lot of damage to global freight shipping.
During this period, the shortage of port workers becomes more severe, and supply declines. Your shipments will be delayed, and the cost will be doubled or even tripled.
If you are trapped in the peak season for some unavoidable reason, I have a few techniques to help you get through it.
Make sure the highly demanded goods are prioritized and send a shipping notice to your suppliers in advance. So they can manage to secure a space for your goods.
Check if the required quantity can be transported. Otherwise, you need to split your shipments.
Keep your tracking information up-to-date. So you can take action to resolve these issues you failed to predict ASAP.
5. Build a long-term relationship with suppliers
I recommend you forge a long-term relationship with your logistics suppliers. Once you’ve found a trustworthy partner, it’s critical that you contact with them in a professional and healthy way.
Here are 4 rules you should follow.
Set clear expectations and measurement requirements.
Remember to respect their time. Keep your words short and simple and get right to the point.
Be quick, but don’t hurry.
Instead of changing suppliers frequently, you should conduct a request-for-proposal (RFP) process every year. It will give you a chance to thoroughly review the procedure and find out where improvements can be made. Monitor these improvements or engage a consultant to objectively analyze this from a different angle. The more professional you are, the more likely the suppliers are to follow up and assist you in building a long-term relationship. The partnership created would make them put you on the top tier list, which guarantees you a priorty.
Please feel free to contact us for any question you might have, we will be happy to assist you shortly.