How Do Sofeast Help Source New Chinese Suppliers? [Process Breakdown + Costs]

If you’re in a position where you need to find a new Chinese supplier or are moving from an existing one and choose us to source and provide you with them in the new factory identification solution, here’s roughly what will happen.


The initial supplier research stage & shortlist of options

Firstly, we use your requirements, product information, and range to research and come up with a shortlist of potential suppliers for you.

Our goal is to find you the best matching options of qualified suppliers from the most relevant local B2B directories and our own network of proven and capable manufacturers that has been built up over many years. 

For your extra peace of mind, we have internal processes in place that allow us to distinguish bona fide manufacturers from traders. (When in doubt, we check company business licenses to confirm that they’re well-established manufacturers with the relevant scope to ensure they can meet your requirements and are familiar with your products.)

We may or may not be able to provide the shortlist with their quotations depending on if you’re willing for us to securely share your product information with the selected suppliers.

So there are two options for the research based on this:

A) “I want you to help me find a new supplier, but I don’t want to/can’t share product information yet”

Without product specifications and drawings we’re still able to help you. A shortlist of at least 5 manufacturers will be provided to you following our research based on your requirements. We will focus on their suitability to your needs, and that may NOT call for large suppliers with experience in working with well- known brands.

Internally, we’ll still need to understand more about your product, ideally with product examples and details about your product range, in order to ensure we find a supplier who is the best possible fit for you and is capable of producing your full range. 

Then we review the shortlist together with you and plan factory audits with your chosen suppliers if they agree.

Following this, if the audit results are favorable, then you sign an NDA/NNN agreement with the chosen supplier/s and share your product information (drawings/specifications) with them in order to get a quotation.

At this point, if you still need some help to finalize product design and drawings,  our in-house R&D team can assist and provide you with product engineering and industrial design support at USD 45 /hour.

B) “I want you to help me find a new supplier and I am willing to share my product information right now”

If you’re fine with sharing your product details right, now the process for getting a quotation will be a little shorter. We’ll research and find potentially suitable suppliers as normal, but as we find them we will share your product details with them after they have signed a simple NDA (asking more than this at this early stage isn’t feasible as they don’t know that you’re a serious buyer yet). 

Then you’ll be provided with a shortlist of supplier options and their quotations in a shortlist, expediting the process somewhat.

If your product design is sensitive, we will work on a very short list of suitable suppliers and then share the design (or only a part of it) with them. We should discuss the best strategy with you, as it differs on a case-by-case basis.

For either method, it is a plus if you provide a list of suppliers you’ve previously been in touch with to exclude from our research. This way, we avoid replicating some of the work you have already conducted.

“How long does this take?”

The research and identification of new suppliers providing you with a shortlist as outlined above will usually start from around 10 hours at 38 USD/hour. Project lengths may vary, so after understanding your requirements this will become clearer. It is usually done within 1-2 weeks.


IP Protection

When searching for and working with a new supplier providing them with your product IP can be a worry. There have been cases where suppliers start producing your products and competing in your market. So IP protection is critical at this point.

We find that putting in place an enforceable manufacturing agreement works well for our customers. We can help with that.

If you need help to draft such an agreement, we actually provide a proven template for USD 150 and we can also help to trim it as per your needs. Please note that we are not lawyers and the agreement is based on our experience.  That will be relevant once you approve samples and ready to place an order.

➡️ Order the manufacturing agreement template here. ⬅️


Factory Audits

After you have selected your chosen supplier/s the next stage is to conduct factory audits on them (this can be done either before or after the sample stage depending on the sample lead time).

An Initial Factory Audit (IFE) is USD 279 per man-day and is aimed to confirm factory profile, staff count, products currently produced, general observation of production line and quality systems, equipment, and environment.

A more in-depth Quality System Audit (QSA) is more specific and helps to evaluate an entire quality system, capacity evaluation, production line process steps, types and number of machines, etc. It is USD 495 per man day. 


Moving Forward… Getting Samples Made

Now that you’ve found potential suppliers, got quotations for your product/s, and have audited their factories to confirm that they’re able to fulfil your requirements, it’s time to request samples.

We can organize this for you once you have decided which supplier/s to get samples from and the number of samples you need to be made.

Are you thinking of switching to a new supplier?

It can be a time-consuming, difficult, and risky task. Especially where your IP is concerned. But working with our team on the ground here in Asia makes this process far easier for you.

Hit the button below to fill our contact form and we’ll get straight back to you to have a no-strings discussion about your what your ideal supplier looks like! 👍

About Renaud Anjoran

Our founder and CEO, Renaud Anjoran, is a recognised expert in quality, reliability, and supply chain issues. He is also an ASQ-Certified ‘Quality Engineer’, ‘Reliability Engineer’, and ‘Quality Manager’, and a certified ISO 9001, 13485, and 14001 Lead Auditor.

His key experiences are in electronics, textiles, plastic injection, die casting, eyewear, furniture, oil & gas, and paint.

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