Today, as the ‘work from home’ movement picks up speed and innovations in communications software makes doing business with people from all over the world, from anywhere in the world, significantly easier, it begs the question: “should you choose a sourcing agent based in Asia?”
Does your Asian sourcing company have to have a physical presence in Asia to be successful? Could you partner with an agency who does the bulk of their business online? In this article, we’ll take a closer look so that you can decide for yourself. Here’s everything you need to know…
Should your Asian sourcing company be based in Asia?
While it would be unfair to suggest that any Asian sourcing company that doesn’t have a physical presence in Asia would be unfit to provide you with a superior service, we are struggling to find any practical advantages to partnering with one.
After all, what is one of the main reasons why businesses choose to work with Asian sourcing companies? Because their physical presence and expertise in the leading Asian markets brings a wide variety of strategical advantages, such as:
- Product quality control
- Site inspection
These are just a few of the critical advantages that you gain from working with an Asian sourcing agency that has a physical presence in your country of choice. Without boots on the ground, you just as well take care of your Asian product sourcing by yourself.
So, in conclusion, yes, we do believe that you should choose a sourcing agent based in Asia – but we’ll back it up with more reasons as to why.
Why you should choose a sourcing agent based in Asia?
1 – Faster communication
When you partner with a product sourcing agency that has a physical presence in your target market, they will also be operating in the same time zone as any of your prospective manufacturers and suppliers. If you are a UK-based company and your Asian product sourcing agent is also based in the UK, then you will have no strategic advantage in terms of communication.
Why would you bother going through your product sourcing agent when you can save time and contact your supplier directly?
One of the key advantages of having a sourcing agent in Asia is the fact that communicate on your behalf faster, and with greater efficiency.
2 – Have a representative negotiate and close deals in person
Another excellent advantage of working with an Asian sourcing company that has a physical presence in Asia is having a representative on the ground. Rather than doing business over the phone, your sourcing agent can negotiate and close deals with your prospective suppliers and manufacturers in person.
Not only that, but when they are multi-lingual and have a thorough understanding of the various cultural and business etiquettes, it will be easier to foster and maintain strong, mutually beneficial partnerships for longer.
3 – Their finger is on the pulse
While it’s easy enough to remain up-to-date with current goings on in various countries and industries across the globe, there’s a big difference between reading articles and attending expos. A product sourcing agency that is based in China, for example, will invariably be the authority over any other product sourcing agency based overseas – particularly when it comes to current events.
4 – Product quality control and site auditing
A sourcing agency that doesn’t have boots on the ground can’t offer any strategic advantage over one that does. When it comes to product quality control, testing, and site auditing, it always pays to have offices in the same country.
When you are negotiating deals with prospective manufacturers and suppliers, you need to test the products and thoroughly audit their premises before you make any commitments. Working with an agency that can’t offer these benefits quickly and without delay is only going to slow the process down for you.
5 – Faster and more efficient crisis management
What good is a product sourcing agency based in the same country as you in the event of a shipment crisis? This ties in closely with the point about faster communication and time-zone placement above; when you have a representative in China, for example, if in the event that there are any complications with your orders, in most cases, these issues can be identified and resolved before you even get out of bed and into the office in the morning.
When your Asian sourcing company is waking up at the same time as you, these complications are being brought to both of your attentions simultaneously – to the detriment of your operation.
Conclusion: Asian sourcing services based in Asia are superior
As you can see, using Asian sourcing services from an agency based in Asia is far superior to any other alternative.
If you were travelling to Cambodia and wanted to hire a tour guide, would you hire one based in the US and have them conduct the tour over the phone? No; you would hire a native Cambodian tour guide who can take you around in person.
The fact is, we could apply the above example to practically any industry, whether it be tourism, retail, or product sourcing.
Nothing beats the real deal; Asian sourcing services delivered by specialist agents with an established presence and reputation in your desired country. Anything else creates far too much complication.
So, if you have been giving some thought to hiring an Asian sourcing company, but you weren’t quite sure if they’d need offices in the country/s you are interested in in order to provide you with a competitive advantage, now you know.
That said, you shouldn’t hire just anyone. Just because a prospective sourcing agency does have a physical presence, it doesn’t automatically mean that they can and will provide a superior service. You will still need to do your due diligence and thoroughly research a number of highly-rated agencies before making any commitments. In any case, it’s an advantage worth having.