How To Work With Sofeast To Obtain & Import Coronavirus Medical Supplies & PPE [FAQs]

During the coronavirus pandemic, we’re working with a lot of importers to help them obtain relatively safe and market-priced (as fair as is possible) medical supplies and PPE from China.

Clients often have similar questions about this, so here are some common examples and our responses.


What Sofeast is doing to assist importers during the pandemic

When you work with us, our team will assist you to:

  • Confirm that suppliers and products are safe & legitimate
  • Help assure that you get a reasonable price
  • Give you peace of mind that the process will run smoothly (as this is a very turbulent market right now)

If you’re importing medical supplies or PPE to help in the fight against coronavirus, remember to visit our Coronavirus medical supplies resource hub for lots of useful regulatory and import/export information to help get you started!

Medical Supply & PPE Client FAQs

Here are some of the common questions we’re asked. Hopefully, they help answer some of your questions, too!

1. What kinds of items can Sofeast help me source?

Answer: We are able to source suppliers of:

  • 3-ply surgical masks (medical-use)
  • N95 respirator protective masks (CE/FDA/NIOSH)
  • KN95 respirator protective masks (CE/FDA – Chinese standard)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face shields
  • Protective goggles
  • Isolation gowns
  • Full isolation suits
  • Temperature guns
  • Ear thermometers
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Shoe covers
  • Medical caps


2.  Will the prices quoted from the supplier be a fixed price (e.g. Sofeast will not add an additional markup to them)?

Answer: Sofeast does NOT add a markup to quoted prices. That’s why we charge an upfront fee for our solutions that is separate to the supplier quotations and accounts for the time we invest into developing those suppliers and, since the situation changes often, going back and forth with suppliers, verifying product availability, current costs as of today, lead time, production schedule, etc.
Please note that we are not a vendor, agent, or a trader and suppliers revise their prices very often in this market especially, so the prices can’t be “fixed.”


3.  Will the prices be FOB? (This is important to ensure that the export process runs smoothly).

Answer: For PPE products that are very much in demand, no, it will be EXW because manufacturers don’t want to (or need to) do FOB in this ‘seller’s market.’


4.  Will Sofeast qualify/do due diligence on the certifications provided by the suppliers to ensure that they are valid and true?

Answer: Yes, we strongly advise doing this before placing orders for your security. We provide this solution here: Certificates & Reports Verification. This is just US$99 (per product & manufacturer for up to 3 documents and 10 minutes of Q&A) and you get the results back in 2 working days.


5.  As you currently have a database of suppliers for these types of products, why would there only be 2 suppliers for 2 hours of work?

Answer: Sorry, we actually do NOT compile a database of suppliers because what we learned from working for client A cannot be re-used for client B (confidentiality). Therefore each project is unique research and work to source the right suppliers for you.


6.  Can you find suppliers in countries like Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, as well as China? 

Answer: Yes, we are able to search in those countries, but then our quotation needs to be revised. It’s also important to state, from what we have seen, that those suppliers in other Asian countries are not as fast as Chinese suppliers in responding.


7.  What are the services Sofeast can provide to ensure that medical supplies and PPE orders go smoothly?

Answer: We have a full range of solutions for you and suggest that you get started here: Risk Reduction For Buyers Of COVID-19 Medical Supplies With Existing Suppliers

Here are the solutions we suggest you use, in order, to assure the best results:

  1. Run a legal records check on the supplier to assure that their company is legitimate and a true manufacturer
  2. Verify the supplier’s certificates and reports – this helps assure you about product compliance and safety
  3. Perform a factory audit on the supplier to examine if what their documentation suggests is happening for real (IFE on smaller suppliers or TQA on larger ones)
  4. Get materials and/or products laboratory tested (there are delays for this, so it may not be suitable for importers in a hurry) – we can assist with this nonetheless, please ask us about lab testing for further details
  5. Perform product inspections on your order before it leaves the factory so any issues can be flagged and straightened out with the supplier
  6. Supervise loading and transport to ensure the authenticity and security of your order

Why go to all this trouble?

If you do not perform due diligence on the products you later import, you bear responsibility for any problems arising (such as defective PPE leading to injury or death, or knowingly putting your staff in danger).

For example, in China right now they require importers of face masks to sign a joint declaration with their supplier taking full responsibility for the usage of the masks and making it your responsibility to assure that they’re used in the correct settings. This is serious! Read more about face mask regulations like this here.

Got questions about arranging your order of medical supplies or PPE?
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