I am working on a project now which has me sourcing component parts from two different suppliers. This is a new product and it has been a challenge finding a supplier who can do the entire product which consists of one fabric part and another molded part. In China textile vendors do textiles and plastic vendors do plastic and never the twain shall meet, as they say. One option would be to use a trading company but I never advise using a trading co for a product that is design oriented, as my client’s is in this case. So we have decided to source parts from different suppliers and then make a decision who will do the final assembly and packaging. One option would be for my client to do it herself. This of course will add to her costs but it will give her more control over quality. Since this is her first order and the QTYs are not large it is an option I like. My thinking is that once she has sales up and going and her product is established in the market she can then source the finished product in China. With the finished product in hand she could attend an industry specific trade show in China and find a vendor rather easily I would think. For one of the challenges finding a vendor for this product is that it is new and still coming together, and unable to see the end product and its packaging, some vendors have a hard time grasping the product and its utility.
In fact, I have had other clients who did business this way. Just starting out, they sourced the parts in China and did the assembly in the US. It was better for them because it gave them more control over quality and also they could market their product as “Assembled in the US.” They were able to do this because the QTYs were not large and they had the space to warehouse and distribute the product, another important consideration if you decide to go this route.
So this is something you may want to consider for your first order unless of course you have someone you can rely on in China to help you out including arranging a final inspection of your order for you before it leaves China. Another tip: no matter how small your order make sure you have a good logistics person on your team since there is plenty of documentation when importing products, or parts, from China, size of order notwithstanding.