With globalization, companies from all over the world were able to reduce their costs significantly by outsourcing a lot of their manufacturing to Asia. Multinational corporations have the ability to simply send in-house employees to Chinese manufacturers and do their quality assurance that way, but for a lot of small businesses, that is simply not feasible.
So how do you compete with the multinational companies? How do you find reliable manufacturers and suppliers to completely takeover your manufacturing process? And saving hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars every year?
Alibaba, founded in 1999, is the largest B2B marketplace in the world, even bigger than Amazon. They have a variety of subsidiaries, but their core business is Alibaba.com where you can find manufacturers and suppliers in tens of countries around the world, even though most of them are based in Asia.
If you own a small local shop, or if you want to find additional ways to monetize your content online, whatever it is, you can find a supplier on Alibaba.
How to Find a Reliable Supplier?
Let’s pick a simple product just to get an idea of you’d go about finding a great supplier through Alibaba.com. For this example, we’re going to search for an iPhone case supplier and manufacturer in China.
Step 1: Search for the product
Use Alibaba’s search engine to look for the product you’re interested in sourcing from China (or any other country for that matter).
Step 2: Using Filters
You’re going to most likely get tens of thousands of results, regardless of what type of product you’re looking for. So you want to make sure that you’re ticking the three boxes shown below:
- Trade Assurance: this will show you suppliers that guarantee manufacturing and delivery dates
- Gold Supplier: this will show you suppliers that have been pre-qualified and verified
- Assessed Supplier: this will show you suppliers that have been assessed by third-party agents
Step 3: Learn about the company
Once you’ve found a product that you may potentially be interested in, do some research on the company, check if they were submitted to an on-site quality check (information provided by Alibaba), try to do business with companies who have been operational for several years, with high transaction levels.
Step 4: Getting in touch with a supplier
Use Alibaba’s communication system to contact some of the suppliers that you’re interested in and wait for their response. Be sure to be very clear about what it is you’re looking for, in terms of materials, products, prices, delivery dates and so on.
Step 5: Choosing your supplier
Once you’ve chosen 2-3 people that you like, it’s probably a good idea to request a sample order, just to make sure that they’re able to fulfill and deliver exactly what you need.
And there you go! A simple 5 step process for finding and vetting a good supplier without spending a lot of money and resources. If you’re going to be doing a large amount of business volume with an overseas supplier, it’s probably a good idea to send inspectors to their facilities to do quality control for you, before everything gets shipped to the U.S.