By Brian Pitchford
Let’s cut to the chase. How would you like to see a significant decrease in your shipping cost from China? Who wouldn’t right? Give me five minutes and I’ll show you how to save 25% on your total shipping bill, eliminate the confusion around logistics out of China and reduce your stress as you import your physical product from China.
My colleague Sunshine (she’s Chinese - this is her “American” name) and I walked out of a weekly meeting with one of our clients where the main focus was consistent delivery and cost savings. These meetings were spirited to say the least. We were both Program Managers for a large Chinese Electronics Contract Manufacturer. We worked out of the Research Triangle Park, NC liaison office keeping the peace between IBM and our manufacturing sites in China and Taiwan. What I learned from one of the world’s largest corporations and contract manufacturers regarding shipping cost savings, eliminating confusion around the logistics process and reducing risk was priceless. As you import your product from China to sell on Amazon, allow me to share with you some critical lessons learned!
The “BIG GUYS” like IBM, Cisco, Lenovo and Sony Ericsson use 3rd party logistics companies (3PLs) to ship and distribute their products. 3PLs are like shipping ninjas. They are masters of shipping and warehousing and they handle huge volumes. 3PLs aggregate all of their clients’ shipping volume and since they’re huge, they get amazingly low pricing from the carriers.
They also know the ins and outs of importing and exporting, so using them helps eliminate confusion and stress for the “BIG GUY”. And if the carriers get sloppy, they send in their ninjas with nunchucks to straighten out any issues.
You can use this strategy, too! Obviously, since you’re a “little guy” these huge 3PLs won’t give you the time of day, so the next best thing is to use a Freight Forwarder. A good Freight Forwarder will work with you as your personal shipping ninja! They aggregate their clients’ shipping volume and know the ins and outs of shipping. They know what documents to file, can give you cost of taxes and duties and work with customs to clear your shipment. Just like the 3PL ninjas, they carry nunchucks and are capable of solving issues that will arise helping to reduce your confusion and stress.
Using a Freight Forwarder is my “ONE THING” that can save 25% off shipping, eliminate confusion and help you sleep at night. They can save you even more money especially if you are currently using a large well known US carrier account. We have a trusted Freight Forwarder we use for our clients. Feel free to contact us at Accelerated Sourcing and we will gladly introduce you to them!
Want to save even more? Ship direct from your supplier to Amazon FBA with no stops in between. I know what you’re thinking - I need to have the product shipped to my house first so I can:
• …apply a label for FBA
• …add an insert
• …check that my supplier hasn’t shipped junk
• …ship to multiple FBA Distribution Centers
• …bundle products from multiple suppliers
• …prevent my brain from exploding!
The “BIG GUYS” employ full time Six Sigma Black Belts who are process ninjas eliminating unnecessary processes which reduces wasteful spending. Do you think their product makes extra stops while in route to their destination? No way.
You can be a process ninja, too. The goal is to have your product “touched” as few times as possible.
Granted, your supplier may not have all the capabilities as the top tier 1 manufacturers in the world, so try to eliminate as many touch points as you can. You may not be able to get your product straight to FBA without adding touches. But if it must be touched, touch it in China. This is why:
• If there are any issues found, you’re already in China. You will lose a lot less time and in-country China shipping is a lot less expensive than domestic US shipping.
• Labor is less expensive in China. Any surprises here? If you add a label, insert, bag, bundle or inspect - do it in China.
Taking the points above into consideration, this is how you get things done in China if your supplier can’t do it:
• 3rd Party FBA Prep Warehouse: Use a FBA Prep Warehouse to prepare your products for FBA. Our company has a FBA Prep Warehouse in Shenzhen, China that we send our clients’ product to if they need FBA prep (labels needed, added inserts, bundled products, etc.).
• 3rd Party Inspection: First, send an independent inspector to the supplier. We use AsiaInspection. I have developed amazing relationships with a few account managers there. Email me and I’ll introduce you to them.
Second, if you use a 3rd Party FBA Prep Warehouse, have them inspect as well. While they touch the product labelling, they should inspect too.
• 3rd Party Consolidator & Multi FBA Distribution Center Shipments: Do you have shipments planned from multiple suppliers? Our Shenzhen FBA prep warehouse combines/consolidates shipments into one before leaving China. Combining the multiple shipments into one saves on total shipping cost.
Also, if Amazon requires your products at multiple FBA Distribution Centers, we can ship the consolidated shipment to our Los Angeles warehouse, deconsolidate and then ship to multiple FBA Distribution Centers upon request.