When importing from China, keep it simple.

It seems that I get a lot of projects where I am asked to source multiple parts for one product.  I currently have a customer who makes safety hats for children. In addition to the hat itself there is a small first aid accessory that attaches to the hat. My customer also includes a coloring book with his product. And then there is a color display box.  Of course the primary vendor is a knit hat maker and they have to outsource the component parts, using local vendors or trading companies.  Often China vendors will just get on alibaba and find a vendor, just as you or I might ( although I myself  try to avoid alibaba).  The final cost of the product, therefore, is higher than it would be if  I went  directly to a medical supply company for the accessory and to a printer for the coloring book and display box and had them send these parts to the hat maker.  I could  probably save my customer an additional $ 0.25  on the final cost of the product. At 40,000 units this is a cost savings of $ 10,000, no paltry sum. However, do I advise my customer to do this when they come to me with the suggestion ?   The answer is no.   The reason being that when you have too many suppliers involved in a project the risk is greater that something will go wrong.  All is takes is one late delivery,  the end product cannot be assembled in time,  you miss the ship date and your customer cancels their order because you did not ship on time.  You end up losing far more than you saved by going to different suppliers for your product and you may lose your customer if you have missed an important delivery or shipped them something which they cannot pass on to their customers, in this case maybe a hat without a coloring book.    For this reason, I always advise clients  that the best SOP in China importing is to get as much of your product from as few suppliers as you can, even if it means paying more for your product.  China is such a difficult place to do business that the goal should always be to simplify.  When you don’t simplify things go wrong.