Sourcing & Manufacturing FAQs

We – at Sourcing Allies – are sourcing agents with over 15 years of experience. Here is a list of some Frequently Asked Questions about sourcing, manufacturing and importing from China.

1. Does outsourcing manufacturing of components to China really save me money?

Yes. Although costs of manufacturing in China have increased over the years, it has also increased in the western world. Globally, raw material costs are usually similar, but labor costs are still competitive in China.

2. Why should I hire a sourcing agent in China?

There are a lot of unknowns in China. You need to have presence in the place where manufacturing is carried out. Even if you feel that you can trust a supplier, there will still be issues that need to be dealt with. Language barriers, cultural differences, and different time zones will make the process sluggish and time-consuming. It is inefficient to handle these issues over Skype or by email.

Usually, you need to be on the factory floor to handle issues that crop up during the production process. A good sourcing agent will work in your best interests, manage issues during all stages of production, conduct quality control inspections, handle paperwork for shipping and so on.

3. What kind of products do Sourcing Allies help source from China? What are the products that you do not handle?

We specialize in mid-complex components and products made from metals and plastics. We also do wire harnesses and other electrical components. We do not specialize in automotive or aviation components, food and beverage, textiles, and products for children.

4. Do you have a fixed fee? What services does your fee include?

We handle everything – from finding suitable suppliers, managing tooling, organizing samples, setting up production, quality control and shipping. All of this is included in our quoted price. Over and above that, you pay for products you order and the tooling you own. That’s it.

5. Are Chinese manufacturers able to match western quality standards?

Yes. Most high-end products – ranging from smartphones to vehicles – are now made in China. Keep in mind, however, that you get what you pay for.

6. How long will it take you to identify a suitable manufacturer for my sourcing requirements?

It is usually pretty quick if it is within our areas of expertise. We may already have a suitable manufacturer within our network already. If not, it can take 30 days to find and evaluate one.

7. If I want a quote from a factory in China, what documentation do I need to give you?

Ideally, 3D files along with material specifications and estimated quantities will be very helpful. The more we know about your product (critical dimensions, special requirements, knowledge issues and so on) the more accurate the quote will be.

8. What is an estimated lead time for making a sample?

It depends on tooling that needs to be made. It is common to have 60 days for tooling and 30 days for sample production, but it really depends on the complexity of the product and manufacturing method.

9.  What are the modes of payment to the supplier? Which is the most reliable?

Work with a good sourcing agent and route your payments through them. The usual terms of payment when starting something new is 20% deposit before production starts, and 80% balance payment before the product ships from the supplier.

11. I am worried about protection of my IP rights. Do suppliers sign non-disclosure agreements or similar contracts such as non-use, non-disclosure and non-circumvention agreements with buyers?

Suppliers are usually willing to sign such agreements. It is unusual for a supplier to copy your products, especially if they only make one component of a larger product. It is more common for new products on the market to get reverse engineered by someone who simply buys a few and makes their own version.

Unfortunately, this is between borderline and impossible to avoid. You need to ask yourself what happens if your product gets copied? Will it compete in your own market? Will your customers abandon you and go with the knock-off?

Do you have any questions for us? Write to us here

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14205 SE 36th Street, Suite 100
Bellevue, WA 98006  USA

001 206 422 8760

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182 64 Djursholm, Sweden

0046 8 181 180


No. 2 Building, 4th floor,
Ningbo Book City, Yinzhou
Ningbo, Zhejiang,  315040

0086 574 2795 6902