Is honesty still the best policy? If it builds trust, which is more important than ever in an increasingly global economy, then the answer is yes.
If you are looking to import products or find suppliers that will make your products in China or anywhere in Asia, how do you pick from the legions that come up in an online search? How do you know which ones are legitimate operations and potential partners?
And if you are a manufacturer receiving inquiries and orders, how do you tell between real buyers and fakes?
In an MHL article, Sara Ireton wrote: “The relationship between a supplier and buyer can be a complex one. Each party wants to maximize its time, resources, and cash investment; these may be competing priorities that can strain the relationship.”
Due diligence is required if you want to establish connections and strong trade relationships, but it’s a daunting task despite access to information and real-time communication enabled by the internet.
Finding suppliers & buyers you can trust
“The buyer-supplier relationship is a two-way street,” said John Niggl of InTouch Manufacturing Services in an interview with Global Sources. “So it stands to reason a buyer should be subject to verification at the same time that buyer is verifying a supplier.”
So, where to start? If you’re a buyer, try doing an online search, use the right keywords if you will, and a hodgepodge of leads will turn up. There are links to B2B and B2C sites, help or advice blogs and so on. Many offer databases or insights on suppliers. Similar info on buyers, however, is quite limited.
“Some platforms in other industries seem to have gotten this two-way evaluation process right,” said Niggl of InTouch. “It would be nice if key players in the manufacturing industry could follow suit by empowering suppliers to rate their experience working with particular buyers, not just the other way around.”
How will buyers and suppliers benefit from such a rating system?
The best practice, of course, is to shortlist potential partners, contact them and arrange a meeting. If that’s not logistically possible, you can turn to companies such as Global Sources that use a verification system so you can do business more confidently whether you are on the demand or the supply side.
Acting as a facilitator between its supplier and buyer communities, Global Sources vets suppliers according to business registration details verified by independent parties, manufacturing licenses issued by relevant government departments or participation in one or more of the company’s recent trade shows.
To ensure equal transparency, Global Sources vouches for members of its other community and encourages them to send their profiles with each inquiry. As of last check, it has 15,425 buyers verified through attendance at recent Global Sources trade exhibitions, while more than 1.5 million, including 94 of the world’s top 100 retailers, use the platform to get product and company information. These buyers come from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Meeting them face-to-face
It’s a small world after all, thanks to the internet. But does this mean you can do a successful international business digitally?
In a Forbes article Why Distance Still Matters in Business, Despite the Internet, Sean Silverthorne pointed to an essay in The New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography, which challenges the concept of the internet as the “death of distance” in Frances Cairncross’ book of the same title.
Quoting the essay authors, Silverthorne wrote, “… while information technology may be an effective means of coordinating ongoing projects and collaborations, it may be less effective as a means of establishing new partnerships or collaborative relationships. In this way, rich offline communication might make online communications more valuable, suggesting complementarity between face-to-face and digital communications.”
What better way to do this as a follow-through than in trade shows, where you can meet and verify contacts yourselves, and find more potential partners. At biannual exhibitions organized by Global Sources, you can do all this and also catch up with the latest trends in your industries, be it in consumer electronics, mobile electronics, gifts and home products, or fashion.
In addition, there are Private Sourcing Events or one-on-one meetings between buyers and short-listed suppliers. These are prearranged as a special service and held in major cities in China all year-round, at the Global Sources trade shows and through video conferences for those who cannot travel to these locations.
So, if you are an importer looking for verified suppliers or a supplier out to reach qualified buyers, join a community committed to fostering reliable and trustworthy trade. Sign up to register on GlobalSources.com.