A new buyer from Indonesia came to me from alibaba forum about his business trip to China.
He required my business trip escort service to visit some factories as his translator and business consultant.
We fixed the agenda after i answered his business questions and he was quite satisifed with my replies.
He is in the glass bottle business. He wanted to visit some factories for his order in the production base of glass bottle in China-XXX (to protect his business secret at this moment) in June.
Before he came, he already got some quotations and samples from the suppliers he plan to visit. He expected 4 suppliers (in same area) to visit within 1 day.
He is not sure if they are trading company or factories.
My opinion to him is it doesn't matter to work with factory or trading company. So long as the trading company can offer a reasonable prices and better services (for more assurances)
But it is necessary to see the production in the factory in real life. So the buyers can have a better understanding about the products and quality assurance.
So I suggested to get the approval from the suppliers first that we will see their factories instead of their office in downtown.
It was his first time to China and also it was also his first time to import from China. He was very cautious. He didn't wanted to tell me too much about his products and his business. I showed my respects to his performance.
He asked me about the questions he would ask the suppliers and prepared a list for routine inquiries.
After we reach that city, NO. 1st supplier came to pick us up in the morning of next day and we drove to the production town. It is a production town for various kinds of glass bottles in China.
We were leaded to the factory and had a meeting in their sales department.
It is a big factory, i think it is the biggest and oldest factory in that area. Their business is quite good. There are many orders--domestic and foreign shipments waiting to ship and in production.
We saw their production, workers, shipments, samples, warehouse.
The supplier introduced they are a group company of many products. This glass factory is one of their factories sharing holding system.
After we finished the meeting with them, we were waiting for NO. 2rd supplier to meet us.
No. 2 supplier-a young lady came to the restaurant where we had lunch and we had a short business talking there.
My buyer asked her about the brieft introduction and history of her factory.
When she say something, i began to laugh. My buyer and she didn't realized what was wrong with me.
I asked the lady: "do you mind telling me the name of your factory in Chinese? "
This lady replied frankly.
It proved my guess.
I asked my buyer in lower voice: "Would you like me to tell her we visited it this morning and it is unnecessary to go again.
My buyer said, yes, pls tell her.
So the lady took us to another factory. It is a new and medium size factory.
Same routine like the above. My buyer said the quality is almost same as NO.1 factory. (same quality standard in that area). He doesn't care to work with factory A or this factory (factory B)
I felt the lady is the owner of her business from some dialogues. P.S: I always think my EQ is higher than my IQ. (* 0 *)
Then i asked her if she is the owner (of her company)
She said, yes. She also said this boss of this factory is her relative.
( I don't think it is a truth that they are relatives. It can be some strong business relationship only. As they are local people.)
Later, we saw NO.3 supplier.
Same, they came to pick us up.
When their car was driving into the street, although i didn't remember the locations of that area, but my sixth-sense came to my mind again: i hope it is not the same (A factory) again.
Guess what! Again, it is that factory.
My buyer didn't remember it was the same factory we visited in the morning when we were in the front gate of that factory. I reminded him that we came back again and asked him if we wanted to go inside.
The buyer said no need indeed.
I told NO.3 supplier that we visited it already and don't want to go again. It made us embarrassing.
The NO.3 supplier told us: "it doesn't matter. This factory has many sales department. Different sales department run their own business.
So we went to another sales department office with another group business contacts. : )
No. 4 supplier: the supplier made the appointment and fixed the time with us. But they didn't show up and diappeared. My buyer gave them up. He said, i don't care who doesn't care about me. (good comments!)
When we finish the visitings, I asked the prices difference among 3 suppliers.
My guess is : suppier No. 2, is the cheapest one, then supplier NO.3 and the supplier NO.1 is the expensive one.
My buyer said, yes. clever.
He asked how could i guess it.
my evidence of my 6th sense is: supplier No.2 is a soho. So she should work hard and quote the cheapest price with lowest profits. So she can beat other big companies and get the order.
supplier NO. 1: they said they are a group company. They may require high profits to cover their high operation expense and meet their big appetite.
My buyer asked my comments about how to choose the proper supplier to work with, since their quality will be the same(using the same factory) , only the price is different.
He is sure he won't choose No.1 supplier.
Supplier No.3 is a little bit higher than NO.2 supplier. But it is acceptable.
I asked him: "who always replies you fast, who is more active and more care about you when you wrote to them? who was helpful with offering all the info you required?
He said, NO. 2 supplier.
I guess so. As she is a soho, her business platform is small, she is not easy to get business. She is keen to get every order. So she has to work harder than others.
I alway believe attitude can be a key to every business.
But the problem is she has the power (to control the factory and supervise the quality) and the experiences in this business.
If she is competent and experienced, she can be the best choice for better price and better services.
No. 3 supplier can be alternative for more security as a real company.
My buyer thought my analysis made some senses. He said he would report all the info to his company and will give a decision soon.
I flied back my city and my buyer went to other place the next day.
2 days ago, he came to meet me in my company for further business discussion.
He decided to use my other services, like sign contract on their behalf, order follow up, inspection, consolidation, shipping assistant for their company and he left samples and assignments.
He said to me: I am opening to you. I know i can trust you now as now i know you and i can let you know my business and products.
Before we met, he kept this business agenda and his business in secrets. It just made me felt strange and i show my respect to his performance.
Yes, we become friends during our my business trip. He also know who i am and how i work.
I have visited hundreds factories with my buyers in the past 5 years and this business trip sounded to me was special...
Update on Nov.
I posted the above text on June.
Maybe your are still interested to know the end of the story.
Guess which supplier my buyer chose to place the order and which factory to produce his goods???
He placed the order with supplier No. 3. which i wrote earier " it seemed to me it is a medium trading office. Although we didn't visit their office in downtown. So their operation cost and profits will be medium and their prices is also in the between (suplier 1 and supplier 2).
My buyer told me the reason to choose supplier 3 instead of 2.. As the supplier 2 didn't agree to their payment term--20% deposit before production and 80% balance after shipment and also changed other things. Plus my buyer might be not confident about supplier 2's role and capacity(he didn't tell me this but i guess that)
I supposed the factory to work with is that biggest factory(pls refer to the above part) in that area. Every supplier would like to take us to go that.
But later, supplier No.3 told us the production machine from that big factory was broken and took times to fix (it was truth and supplier2 also told me that)and they switched to another factory which we didn't vist at all...
When the production is finished, i arranged my QC inspector to check the goods in the factory. It is" medium" quality(but i understand my buyer require medium quality for their markets only) and the factory admited that. After discussion, the supplier NO.3 was willing to give 10000pcs extra as a compensation. This story was over.
I am not sure if my buyer will still use this supplier and this factory or not for future orders. ( i think this supplier could be good to work with and the factory may be candidate if they have better choice)
Life is just a cholocate box, you will never know what favor you will take and eat.. Same to business field.
Thanks for your splendid comment , really enjoyed and benefit a lot .
I am serving in a battery company and comparatively have more info about Chinese batteries .
like some decent factories ' info . what prices are reasonable , how much cost the factories actually take ,related
production processes and customs clearance and inspections .
I think we could cooperated when your customers demand for batteries and it will be my pleasure to be a consultant then.
cellphone " 13620909056 Michael
Wish we could have further talks in the future .