The new factory identification or supplier sourcing process is so much more than just searching online, say on Alibaba, sending a few emails, and then making a decision. It also requires careful screening of potential suppliers and negotiation.
Many inventors, startups, and SMEs want a long-term, efficient, and mutually beneficial relationship with their supplier, but have little experience in finding one that is a good fit.
Do you have the time and money to waste on working with a supplier who is unsuitable, doesn’t ‘get’ you, or is working for their own benefit?
Sofeast makes it easy for you by handling the sourcing process of new factories (for manufacturing) or suppliers (for products or components) for you.
What is this solution for finding you new factories/suppliers?
During our new supplier or factory identification process, we find you export-ready suppliers or component sources that appear to be suitable for your needs from the most relevant directories and our own network of qualified manufacturers in China, India, and SE Asia that we’ve built up over many years.
Here are examples of some different strategies that we may follow
If your expected volumes are very small by China’s standards, you might have to buy from a wholesaler (either in China or in your home country).
If your expected volumes are very large, you will get better terms and save money in the long run by working with a contract manufacturer.
If the firmware of your electronic product is highly proprietary, pick a factory that does the reflow & SMT processes, as well as assembly, in-house.
If you already know the factory will need to be approved by Disney, the easiest is to find one that is already approved.
If you need to develop a new product that will go into people’s mouths (strict hygiene is a must), pick a supplier that makes products with similar needs.
If you need to import items for which fewer than 10 Chinese factories are licensed (e.g. firearms), find out which of those are allowed to export.
The process doesn’t stop here!
We often assess potential suppliers further by doing an on-site Initial Factory Evaluation (IFE), legal records check, and other forms of due diligence work on them for your peace of mind.
- Product you want to buy (description and photos/drawings)
- Is it an existing product? An existing product with some adjustments? Will it be a completely new product?
- Desired quality standard (to be sold in high-end boutiques? On Amazon? In your factory?)
- Expected volume (number of pieces)
- Have you already contacted some suppliers of this type of product? Should we exclude them from our search? Did you learn anything from them that would save us time?
- In what country(ies) will you sell this product?
If you have already spent time gathering information from suppliers, let us know! We should only work on those tasks where we add value, and we shouldn’t duplicate your efforts during our new factory identification process.
If some of the information you send us is to be sent only to pre-qualified suppliers, let us know and we will suggest an appropriate approach: sharing a similar but different product, doing a first round of screening, signing NDAs, etc.
Before we give you a quotation, we check the difficulty of reaching your objectives. In some cases, we have to turn down a project because the client’s expectations are totally unrealistic.
The first deliverable you will get is a list of potential suppliers we have identified, with all the information we gathered from them:
- Company name and contact information, size, export orientation…
- Current products, capacity
- Quality standards, company certifications
- Business terms such as MOQs
You get this information within 1-2 weeks.
We are NOT paid based on a commission (for example, 10%). We have no incentive to skew the results or to push you toward more expensive or cheaper suppliers.
We primarily focus on China and India for many customers, but often source suppliers and factories in South East Asian countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Bangladesh, too.
You can check our key operating areas on this page. If you’re unsure whether we can find a supplier or factory in your desired country, ask us!
Yes, certain assembly centers (usually contract manufacturers) provide a ‘Black Box’ service where they insulate your supply chain from your product IP.
Your sub-suppliers deliver the components or materials to your assembly center who do not release any product information to them. In this way, the sub-suppliers don’t have visibility of your product, perhaps even your brand if they only deal with the assembly center, but you retain full visibility over your supply chain.
If the assembly center has an export license they can also ship the products, further reducing IP leakage risks as your company name may not need to appear in shipping documentation.
Here’s how it works:
As part of the Sofeast employment contract, staff have provisions that are enforceable in a court of law outlining their legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of all the customer IP and information they work on or come across. This will protect your business, therefore, Sofeast can sign your NDA on a company-to-company basis, rather than our individual staff members.
We always advise our clients to go and see the situation with their own eyes when that is realistic. The better you understand the production processes, the challenges your manufacturers have to deal with, the objectives and ways of thinking of your suppliers, the better you can manage your supply chain.
The suitable next steps we suggest, after potential suppliers have been identified, are usually discussed and quoted based on the needs of your project (additional costs apply) following the conclusion of the new factory identification task.
They can include:
- Request for quotation and further analyses
- Background check, to vet a supplier
- Factory audit (also helps vet suppliers)
- Sample evaluation and comparison, QC checklist definition
- Order follow up
- Product inspections
- Logistics management
How much does new supplier identification cost?
This solution costs 38 USD per hour and we will quote for the first block of work (identifying potential suppliers) with an estimated time. It’s not uncommon for this first block to be around 10 hours. Our invoice is payable in advance.
As a guideline, project costs can vary widely. If your product is simple, we could do the research, arrange a sample purchase, and perform a sample review, for around 500 USD in total. (It does not include the price of the sample or other expenses.) However, some projects will take longer while some only require as few as a couple of hours work.