|Good Trade Companies: Better than Working Factory Direct|
Vendors in the overseas promo industry, whether in USA, UK, Australia, S. Africa, when buying from China, they normally buy from a trade company. Many people label these types of companies as traders, brokers or agents. Technically there is a difference in the 3 terms and this article is primarily focused on trade companies.
My weathered opinion is if you are an overseas supplier or distributor in the promo industry and you want a solid China contact, then you need to rely on the trade companies.
The Good: Because you offer and sell so many items, there is not one factory that produces everything you offer. The factories cannot offer the comprehensive service that most overseas promo product vendors require.
JLmade sees overseas promo companies put in large amounts of time, energy and capital to develop a solid item for their brand, then they only order it 1 time. It doesn’t behoove the buyer to keep going from factory to factory with every new project. Not only is it not wise, but also it is almost impossible. The inefficient obstacles you face will quickly cause you to change directions on how you approach your China sourcing.
If you want to manufacture and offer your clients customized branded items from China, that require production input from more than one facility (components, print, assembly, molding, etc..), then how can you make this happen by contacting one factory?
You can find trade companies who specialize in certain areas and give you the benefit of a rich production source from multiple factories. They are knowledgeable in certain product areas, know how to control their factories and offer better service to the overseas customer (in comparison to the factory). A solid trade company will visit their factory often and provide you email reports and visuals from the production lines. Factories are notoriously horrible for providing photos (seems to be some innate hatred towards the camera), categorizing their samples, keeping storage of samples or even records of past production.
Whenever you have a pitch for your brands, whether it is an entertainment company, alcohol brand, whatever.. and you need to quote multiple items, the trade company can assist putting together the quotes in an efficient and timely fashion. This reliable partner will “get a feel” for your market and keep you updated on the latest items in your industry. Better than a factory, a trade company has clearer insight into concepts such as "branding, launch dates, campaigns"...anything promo specific. The promo industry is very young in China and most factories don't give promo production the attention they require (branding-focuse, delivery time sensitive).
|JLmade going extra to assure exactness: |
a good trade company does the same
A good trade company can offer better prices than a factory because they have purchasing power with their manufacturers. This company, when faced with price issues with their buyer, will not pass them down to the buyer, but they will deal with the factory on this and absorb as much cost as possible.
A trade company is willing to assist in logistical matters, whereas a factory will leave you it entirely up to you.
Lastly, using a trade company’s bank account helps in making the overseas bank wire or opening the LC. It is harder to do this with a factory that doesn’t export direct or cannot handle overseas banking processes and funds.
In a following post, I will discuss “the Bad” in dealing with trade companies, then we’ll get to “the Ugly” and perhaps some follow-up. Stay tuned and please feel free to comment.