Trouble with Your Overseas Manufacturer When Importing?

Lets face it – even the highly seasoned importers have trouble with their overseas manufacturers. We might be communicating in the same language  but sometimes it feels like we are a world apart. Well, we work with manufacturers in China, Australia and other countries. Many have a love/hate relationship with supplier directory platforms, and don’t like endless quoting and free samplers.

In their words, here are some issues faced by manufacturers in emerging markets, that you should be mindful of:

Supply issues

Every manufacturer will order components from dozens of suppliers. Recognise that a product quality failure my not be the complete fault of your manufacturer, but their supplier.

Different measures

Technology, systems and methods of producing the product can be different. For example, Vietnam is a major manufacturer of clothing for the US market, but exports to Australia are relatively small. For this reason, you may find different weights, measurements and sizing to adapt to in this market.

Less regulations and compliance

Western factories are forced to comply to a series of local, state and federal laws for industrial relations, workplace health and safety, tax and reporting, environment and quality systems, among others. The lack of these regulations is  just one of the reasons why manufacturing in developing markets is cheaper, but issues arise from this lack of regulation which can affect the final product.

Lack of systems/technologies

If labour is cheap and abundant, factory owners are less likely to invest in expensive systems and technologies that cut the man power required. A problem can often be managed by hiring or reallocating more staff to fix it.

Transport infrastructure

Poor infrastructure will increase product component supply and product delivery times. Know how far your manufacturer is from the nearest port, check the road and rail infrastructure.

Staff turnover

The impact on your business is consistency of product quality, as those trained to manufacture to your requirements may have left since your last production run

Corruption and Bureaucracy

A major component of running a business in a developing market is successfully operating within this environment and overcoming impediments, be they man made or other. I would always make sure your manufacturer already has an export certification and be very careful if you order goods Ex-Works, because you will have to deal with getting product out of the country.

Have a think for a moment about the difficulties faced by your suppliers, and this will go a long way towards understanding the supply and importing impediments your business may face.


Like some help? Learn with us, or work with us as you work through the importing process.

By Ben Crawford

Trouble with Your Overseas Manufacturer – Have you Considered This?


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