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Tips for sourcing toys in China – Q&A with an expert

by Renaud Anjoran 

I had the chance to ask a few questions to Michael Blanc, the Regional Manager at Supply Chain Analysis Centre, Tradegood. Michael offers free sourcing services for buyers and bridge them to most matching suppliers. He focuses in toys and furniture industry.

Q: When you source suppliers of toys, what types of issues do you typically face?

I have several toys buyers from US, UK and France that request the factories to have strong design capacity (ODM), low MOQ, as well as high compliance level. It is sometimes challenging for me to match them to our suppliers.

Similarly, some factories prefer working with particular markets/type of buyers (e.g. retailers only). They specialize themselves as high quality products manufacturers with strong production capacity. However, I also meet some factories that offer very low prices with smaller production capacity and they usually like taking orders from large-scale retailers whose order quantity is large and whose price level can match. Some would prefer small companies instead. Factories with strong audits/record are most likely to work with European/US customers when low compliances factories look for other markets.

Q: When you source suppliers of furniture, what types of issues do you typically face?

Similar to toy industry, there are many challenges in matching furniture buyers to suppliers. I have met some buyers having requirements different to those offered by suppliers. In one case the buyer’s payment terms was not accepted by the supplier and in another case, the buyer’s order quantity was too low.

Q: When you try to identify potential suppliers of a given product, and before you contact these suppliers, what type of information do you typically look for?

We have very close communications with buyers to understand both products and suppliers requirement so we can do initial supplier screening and recommendations for them precisely. Factories are researched and filtered according to the buyers’ needs. To give you some examples, I have met a French Retailer brand that emphasize the compliance level’s record of the factories, while some of my UK buyers pay particular attention to their exporting markets’ experiences or care about the production capacity.

In fact, each buyer has different requirements. Our job is to listen and understand their needs, and find what might fit the best for them among the Tradegood database.

Q: When you contact potential suppliers and ask for information, what indicators do you pay particular attention to?

When the buyer is a foreigner, it is, of course, essential that the Sales manager can speak English. In the same way, it is crucial that suppliers know perfectly their products and factory. Before each matching session with buyers, a training is provided to the suppliers to ascertain that he understands well what buyers requirements are.

I have one buyer that is in charge of Quality Assurance, and he emphasizes the verification regarding compliance’s record. When we are dealing with buyers like him, who is very much aware of all current regulations, certifications, norms and standards; this person will therefore pay a particular attention to the compliance record Tradegood can provide. What can be considered value-adding for him is to provide him with a list of suppliers than have valid certifications record. Also, he will pay more attention to the quality of the product itself than the factory. As they often tell, a good factory can produce low quality products, and a factory that doesn’t look great at first can produce good quality/price products.

In fact, the aim of our solutions is to give as much added value as possible to the buyers, to let them know which suppliers match (looking at their factory capacity) and according to our own expertise/opinion regarding a particular factory.

Renaud Anjoran has been managing his quality assurance agency (Sofeast Ltd) since 2006. In addition, a passion for improving the way people work has pushed him to launch a consultancy to improve factories and a web application to manage the purchasing process. He writes advice for importers on

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