|In-house sourcing team|
|Flat rate fee|
|Supplier contact info|
|Dedicated, English-speaking rep. also fluent in Mandarin|
|Prohibits employees From selling online|
|US owned with US Employees in China|
Click the items below for details on the features of the above chart.
In House Sourcing Team
All orders are handled by our industry-leading in-house sourcing team. We don’t outsource orders to outside agencies. That’s why we’re able to guarantee that our agents never receive any factory kickbacks. Guided Imports prides itself on operating as an extension of your own organization. Key to achieving this kind of integration is our Western management team on the ground in China, directing and working alongside our local sourcing agents and manufacturing experts. By maintaining this strong Western presence our US managers here in our Shenzhen office act to ensure our clients receive the added benefit of American work ethic, quality standards, and dedication, while still getting the added advantage of Chinese pricing.
Benefits of working with our US-managed team here in China:
- When you work with Guided Imports you’ll communicate with Western staff who understand your quality requirements as well as the quality expectations of major brands, retailers and consumers in the US and European market.
- You’ll work with our native or fluent English-speaking staff who understand the subtleties and nuance of both the English and Chinese languages, allowing for clear and direct communication with not only our Western clients, but all of our Chinese suppliers.
- When the information we gather for you is best explained over the phone, that’s exactly how you’ll hear from us. Our Western client managers regularly call and video-chat with clients to review inspection results and gather feedback.
If your sourcing agent earns their pay by tacking on a percentage to the final cost of your order — this is usually anywhere between one and five percent — then you may have reason to question where your agent’s allegiance. Think about it: you’re hiring a sourcing agent in order to find the right supplier to manufacture your production at a fair price. Your sourcing agent, however, now has a stake in steering you towards a more expensive supplier in order to secure a bigger commission payment. This is clearly a conflict of interest that should be avoided.
At Guided Imports, our flat-rate fee structure ensures total unity of interests between sourcing agent and buyer. After years of developing great relationships with our network of suppliers, they are all very aware of our anti-kickback policy and quality standards. Many, if not most, sourcing agents here in China have some sort of backroom deal worked out with suppliers whereby the supplier pays them a percentage of the business that the agent gives the supplier. This kickback practice is actually very common in China and is almost standard operating procedure.
When I first arrived here in 2008 I was astounded at how many times suppliers brought this subject up and just assumed it was ok. Once I made it clear that Guided Imports was not interested on conducting business that way, and would rather give our customer's business to the supplier that has earned the business, most of them understood. The ones that didn't were ruled out from becoming an approved supplier for us.
Product Validation is the cornerstone of a successful production. Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste countless hours sourcing suppliers and negotiating, only to find that your product cannot be produced at a rate that will allow you to make a profit.Our Product Validation service offers you a detailed analysis of all the potential costs associated with bringing your product to market. By generating a cost analysis for every aspect of production — manufacturing, compliance, logistics and everything in between — we’ll not only save you time, we’ll vastly reduce the risk and uncertainty of importing products for sale!
Our inspectors perform on-site quality inspections, making sure your supplier has properly produced and packaged your goods to ensure safe and on-time delivery. And, should any issues arise, your team on the ground will manage compensation from the supplier.
Sample Consolidation & Evaluation
We order samples from all suppliers we find. We consolidate them in our offices in China and ship directly to you. This means multiple samples in one shipment, saving you time and money.
We can also evaluate the sample for you by providing photos and a written assessment for each one. This information, like every other detail of your project, is then uploaded to the cloud and input in our comprehensive report that you can access anytime you desire.
Negotiation Expertise with Cultural Proficiency
After working with your dedicated account representative to finalize your product, our managers will work directly with the factory to negotiate your order quantity, payment split, production time, and re-compensation for any defective units. Negotiating in China is very different from the traditional Western world business approach. It requires an understanding of various cultural concepts like guanxi, mianzi, lian, ganquin, etc.
These cultural concepts are extremely important in doing business in China, as they are interwoven very tightly into the fabric of society. Almost all non-Chinese are oblivious to these critical cultural nuances. And if you're thinking about working with a US or European company to help you with your sourcing in China, it's almost assured that while they may be aware of some of these concepts, they most certainly are not experts.
When I moved to China from Philadelphia in 2008, it took me at least 4 years before I knew how to properly and effectively interact and conduct business with Chinese suppliers. The bottom line is that if you're not extremely well-versed in these cultural concepts and how they relate to business, then you can expect an uphill battle while doing business with China. Whereas once me and my managers reached a certain level of guanxi with our suppliers, the tangible results are many: lower pricing, better payment terms, better quality raw materials, better services, etc. And all of these benefits are offered willingly by most suppliers when the required relationship level, or guanxi, is attained. It truly is as amazing as it is unique.
The bottom line: YOU benefit from our almost decade of relationship building with our vast network of suppliers. You reap all of the benefits by just partnering with Guided Imports since we put in the work!
Customs, Shipping & Logistics
You will benefit from the leverage our high-volume rates provide when looking for competitive prices from the best freighters in the industry. Whether sea or air, your agent will handle the entire shipping process and coordinate payment and processing of your goods all the way to their destination. No more worrying about customs, freight forwarders, taxes or duties! We do it all for you!
Subscription Service for Powersellers
With Guided Import's Your Purchasing Office (YPO) service, you'll have your own purchasing office in China. This service is popular with sellers that do at least $25k/month and have multiple SKUs. In addition to handling every aspect of your China-side business, we act as your own purchasing office by white labeling our services with your business name. In short, we operate as an extension of your business.
Our YPO service is designed to help you scale your business. Instead of hiring a full-time purchasing manager, or working with a non-US 3rd part service, Guided Imports gives you a local presence in China along with the peace of mind that your business affairs here are being managed by US staff that have your best interest at heart.
As mentioned previously, we thoroughly vet, audit, and evaluate all of our suppliers on a regular basis to ensure they meet or exceed our standards for quality, efficiency, and service. After years of building strong relationships with our factories, and adding new ones to our network as needed, we very rarely have run into any issues. We take great pride in our supplier network and their loyalty to Guided Import's customers.
Find Back-Up Suppliers
As has been standard practice for Guided Imports over the years, we find capable backup suppliers for our clients. This ensures they can get their product made to their exact specifications by another factory if their main supplier has problems (workforce turnover, delays, equipment failures, quality issues, etc). We want to make sure our clients are setup for success in every possible way, and that includes preparing for a worst-case scenario.
Supplier Relationship Management
Our team of 12 sourcing agents and account representatives in our Shenzhen office have access to a custom database of all suppliers we do business with that has every detail you can imagine. Things like photos of the factory floor, manufacturing equipment annual sales, registered capital, every contact at the factory with email addresses, phone numbers, skype Ids, WeChat and QQ accounts, birth dates for all employees, details about each manager or owner’s family, hobbies, likes, dislikes, favorite restaurant, wine, etc.
These details not only allow us to know precisely which products they make better than other factories, but they help us in what is the most important factor in running a successful business in China: Relationships with our suppliers, or the critical concept of Guanxi.
For us, relationship building with our suppliers goes far beyond the typical Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) that most companies implement. Early on in Guided Import’s development, and after having lived here in China for a couple of years already, I knew that to be the industry leader in the sourcing and supply chain management (SCM) space we would need to go above and beyond the basics of SRM. Why? Because in China, relationships are key in conducting business successfully
Relationships are the foundation of the Chinese cultural concept of guanxi, which is the most essential element of both the social and the business culture here. It is a term that has no literal translation in English, but it’s a highly nuanced and very “deep” idea of relationships that has elements of trust, respect, “face”, obligation, hierarchy, understanding, dependability, accountability and a host of other, similar values all connected in this esoteric notion that goes back thousands of years.
Guided Imports #1 advantage is our incredibly strong and deep relationships with our network of suppliers. Having reached the level of guanxi required by our suppliers, we are able to offer our clients all of the privileges and advantages resulting from the almost decade of steadfast effort and focus we put into making sure the relationships with our suppliers far surpasses those of every other sourcing and SCM company. You reap the rewards of our years of dedicated relationship building! This often means better pricing, better quality materials, better terms, and overall better service from suppliers without even asking. Such are the benefits of guanxi and a sincere desire and effort to not only cultivate and maintain, but also grow our supplier relationships.
QC Inspection Services
We've seen it more than you can imagine: Buyers who want to save a few dollars and skip or skimp on QC Inspection, which is absolutely the most critical step in production, end up getting burned and losing not only their product, but their money as well.
Don't leave quality to chance. Let Guided Imports handle your QC Inspection. We've teamed up with the best Quality Control Inspection services in China to offer you unparalleled assurance of quality for your products. You will have the added bonus of having a set of Western eyes on the inspection as well, as we have the final approval of all inspections. At $199/man day, Guided Imports offers the best quality with the best price.
Product Prep, Bundling, and Kitting
We are well-versed on how to properly kit, bundle, and prep products and shipments to Amazon FBA. More details in the following section.
We are expert at FBA prep, packaging, and shipping to Amazon warehouses in the USA. Hundreds of Amazon sellers trust Guided Imports to ensure their products get from the factory to the door of the Amazon warehouse, and we make sure that they do! We're also well-versed in bundling/kitting and labeling both the products and cartons with the proper stickers, barcodes, and shipping labels. We also keep up on Amazon's TOS to ensure any changes to the required product labeling guidelines on how and where to put the label are relayed to our team.
Prohibit Employees from Selling Online/E-Commerce
Guided Imports is one of the only sourcing & supply chain management businesses that prohibits our employees from not only selling on Amazon, but all other online platforms as well.
We take our client's privacy and confidentiality very seriously and would not dream of allowing employees to sell online in any way. We understand how protective ecommerce sellers are of their private label products and we do everything we can to guard their secrets, intellectual property, product designs, and specifications as if our business depends on it--because it does.
Many, if not most, other sourcing agents or services allow the employees or the owner to sell products online. In our view, this is a significant conflict of interest. Why would sellers take a chance on having their product ideas "borrowed" by the very company they'rve hired to source the products?
We go a step further. Not only do we prohibit employees from selling, but we also take steps to ensure our suppliers do not know your products complete logistical trail and selling platform. in 2016 Chinese suppliers were allowed to sell direct on Amazon, and more and more have been doing exactly that. We vet all of our suppliers to ensure they DO NOT sell online. In our experience, it seems the great quality, reputable suppliers have no interest in taking their products online. It's the smaller, low-mid quality suppliers that are trying to squeeze out every ounce of revenue that are doing this. Nevertheless, we routinely audit, visit, and check in with each of our suppliers to make certain they do not sell online, as that would mean breach of contract with Guided Imports.
US Managers Located in Our China Office
While we are US owned and operated, our main office is in Shenzhen, China and is staffed by 12 sourcing and manufacturing experts. Three of whom are from the US. This means we are able to offer the dedication, work ethic, and quality of the United States combined with the advantage of Chinese prices. Most US owned sourcing companies do not have an office in China, but rather outsource your project to chinese agents here in China. So they outsource your outsourced work. No worry of that with Guided Imports! We're here 5 days a week (and some weekends too!)
We have a professional photography studio in our Shenzhen office that allows us to produce top quality photos of your products that you can then upload directly to your listings. This saves a costly and time-consuming step for our client's, as they do not need to send their products to another location or pay to have them photographed.
We produce a custom report for each client that is updated constantly to ensure they know exactly where their project is in the production process. A sample of the report can be viewed on our home page.
Product Improvement Guidance
We will contribute our opinions and suggestions on improving your product, should we notice any opportunities for such improvement. Being an industry leader in production and manufacturing means we have a solid understanding of what makes a quality product. we will absolutely offer any suggestions for improvement if we think they exist.