Late Delivery? 3 Tips on Overcoming China Sourcing Delays

There are many delays that can occur when sourcing from China, but most can be avoided or minimized with the right preparation. Below are a few tips that can reduce the risk of delay and mitigate its damage when it occurs:

Place orders early: You’ll want to start the sourcing process early. Prepare months in advance to place orders. CPG recommends placing orders 6 months prior to when the goods will be needed at their final destination.

This means you’ll want to begin the sourcing process—including identifying suppliers, receiving samples, finalizing product specifications, etc.— two to three months before a formal order is placed. CPG recommends looking at when goods are needed and planning accordingly in reverse.

For example: If you buy direct from China for the Christmas shopping season, you’ll want to place orders in March, for August/September delivery dates. That way, if any delays occur, you still have time and are not cutting it too close. You’d never want to place orders in June for November deliveries.

Quality Assurance: Many delays are related to quality issues that arise. These could be prevented with an effective quality assurance program.

You’ll want to ensure that you employ the right inspections at the right time based on the needs of your business and product, such as pre-production, during production, post-production, and pre-shipment inspections. You can learn more about how to implement a comprehensive quality assurance program and the related inspections here.

Customs: Delays can also be customs related. Sometimes, it’s a matter of one single document that can hold your shipment up in customs for days or weeks. To avoid this, do your research. Be sure you have all the right documents in place, pay all taxes and duties ahead of time, and know the rules for importing your type of product. See more on customs clearance here.

When you buy direct from China, the reality is that delays do occur. A good China sourcing company is prepared for these delays and can minimize their effects.

What measures do you take to avoid delays? Share your tips with us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in May 2019.

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