The Roles of the Client and of LMCR Sourcing

Once a client has taken the decision to look into the potential for sourcing from China and subsequently decides to place an order with a Chinese supplier, the responsibility rests with LMCR to ensure fulfillment of that order in accordance with the terms agreed.

Of course things can go wrong. LMCR can only work to the sample or specifications given. If any detail is overlooked by the client whether relating to the product or packaging then the error, big or small, is likely to follow through to the finished product unless picked up in time. This highlights the importance of the client ensuring that the initial instructions (sample, specifications and drawings) are in sufficient detail and cover exactly what is required, and nothing is omitted or assumed.

We don’t pretend that other things can’t go wrong; they do but generally rarely, and it is our job to put them right as far as possible.

Most problems that occur with the product are generally small ones that almost always arise from an omission at the specification stage or are faults overlooked at the sampling stage.

Non-product related problems, delays being an example can occur for varying reasons. Customs inspection hold-ups or ship cancellations are just two causes.

By choosing experienced manufacturers with a good reputation and forging a strong relationship with them and by inspecting the finished product before shipment most risks associated with importing can be avoided. Having a strong sourcing partner such as LMCR, experienced and aware of all the potential pitfalls is the way to minimize the risk of anything going wrong.

Matters to be Considered by a Client before proceeding.

Financial Arrangements

Suppliers understandably require to be assured of payment before releasing the goods. There are generally two ways of making payment:

  1. Payment of a deposit at the time of placing the order with balance at time of completion of the order (following satisfactory inspection of the goods)

  2. Letter of Credit - is a guarantee from a bank that a buyer’s payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount.

Before a client places an order we will of course discuss the payment options and the timing required for payments and agree the best arrangement to suit the client.

Stating requirements

We have already highlighted how important it is to ensure that when you decide to get started by asking us to obtain a quote nothing of relevance is omitted or assumed.

If a sample is provided; any changes to the sample whether cosmetic or in design must be clearly stated in writing. Written specifications must fully cover the items being ordered including packaging and packing arrangements. Photos or pictures of the product should be included if they are of help.

Deciding on quantity required is important. Most manufacturers have minimums below which they deem it uneconomic to produce. We can guide you on this. From your perspective, you will need to make a judgement on how many months stockholding is economic to hold and how much finance you wish to commit to the order.

Providing us with a target price is also important because without one we could not do the job you require us to do; but additionally it is important that it is realistic. Providing an unrealistic target price is likely to be a time waster for all parties. It is most unlikely that we will be able to save you 90% of your existing cost price, so you need to set a price which is at or close to the price which if we achieved it would prompt you to go ahead and order. Of course, it is our job to try to get below the target price if we can but working with a totally unrealistic price only leads nowhere or to manufacturers offering sub-standard quality.

Shipping Arrangements

Client’s need to be aware of lead-times. A typical lead-time from order to delivery in the UK is 8-12 weeks from China. Shipping can take 4-6 weeks. We will always advise clients of an expected delivery date at the time of order but as mentioned before, delays can occur so we can only estimate this date. We will always keep the client advised of any changes to the advised delivery date.

Depending on the client’s preference, we can provide a door-to-door service handling all the shipping arrangements ourselves (ideal for the inexperienced importer) or arrange shipment of the goods from China, leaving the client to arrange custom’s clearance of the goods in the UK and subsequent delivery to their premises. We can quote for both options.