New Products

My product is brand new and I don’t know how popular it will be – will I have to buy 20,000 pcs in the first order?

We specialise in dealing with smaller orders. We will work with you to determine what size of order is viable to get you started. In most cases, we will be able to find a compromise solution, which lets you test the market before committing to a large order.

Can I get a sample first before I make an order?

We will always arrange samples for you to check and approve before a production run or purchase. It’s important that you are happy with what you finally receive, so we take the time to check and measure samples. Plus we use good, clear specification documents to minimise all those niggling misunderstandings. You are the one who knows your product intimately, so we will take input from you about what the critical aspects of construction are.

I’m still working on my design. When should I contact you?

It’s up to you, but we’d like to hear from you early in your venture. There are things that are worth considering early in the development cycle, to prevent costly re-designs later. For example, you may not have current plans to sell your product overseas, but with some small tweaks, you could build in the ability to easily modify it later to comply with other countries standards.

Dealing with Overseas Suppliers & Importing Issues

I’ve found a manufacturer on Alibaba.com. They have Gold Member status, so they should be OK, right?

Alibaba and other listing sites are an OK place to do some basic research, but they should never be the only place you look to make your decision. At the end of the day, they are often a paid listing site, which will contain good and bad, cheap and expensive and everything in between.

Working with an overseas supplier is so much more than just finding out whether a factory has passed some basic background checks or has a particular member status on a listing site. It doesn’t take into account any of the things that you need to take care of, to make sure the transaction runs smoothly.

It’s vitally important to find a manufacturer who is a good match for your product and your particular needs, such as grade of finish, order size and experience. Even choosing and working with a good supplier in Australia can have its difficulties. For overseas suppliers, time-zones, language and cultural differences add extra layers of complexity.

We take information from a range of sources and take the time to make sure the manufacturer is a good fit for your project.

What about dealing with Importing, Customs and Quarantine?

You have the option of learning about the process from us, and handling it yourself, or we can take care of the whole transaction for you. It’s important to get this part right, as incorrect or missing documents can cause delays and costly storage fees. Assuming the wrong rate of duty can have a significant effect on the final cost of your product.

I’ve been emailing an overseas supplier and their English seems good, but they don’t understand what I want. What can I do?

The best of us can have communication issues even when doing business locally. Add in one person with English as a second language, and things can get really confusing. On occasion, you may even find someone who has wrote-learnt some English phrases to use in email, so they sound convincing at first, but the important message doesn’t get through.

When it comes to discussing technical or construction aspects of a product, other countries have different terms, standards and ways of doing things.

We specialise in dealing with these situations and can help you clear up or avoid the miscommunications.

How long will it take to get my product made overseas?

Overseas factories will typically quote a production time of 30 – 40 days. The actual time to make your product might only be a week or two. The rest of the time involves ordering of raw materials, getting the staff and the production line ready, plus fitting it in around their other commitments.

If your product arrives by sea, then you can expect it to take another 3 to 4 weeks to get from the factory to your door. This includes time on the water, unloading and sorting, Customs clearance, Quarantine and local delivery.

If your shipment is small enough to come by air, then this part will typically take one week to get to you.

If this is the first time your product has been made, or it requires some tooling or moulds to be made, it will take extra time at the start of the process to make sure everything is being done the way you want.

Other countries have different holiday periods (eg Chinese New Year) and busy times that don’t coincide with ours. This means that sometimes the lead-time for ordering will be longer than normal.

Occasionally shipping lines will introduce a longer lead-time that what we expect. For people who are new to business, this just means having a little extra stock on hand to cover possible contingencies.

These are the kinds of issues that we will discuss with you at the beginning of the process to put strategies in place and minimise the effects.

How do I know my goods will be made the right way?

There is no one silver bullet that will guarantee a successful shipment, instead it’s a combination of steps that need to be followed. Each project presents its own risks that need to be addressed. It starts with having complete and clear specifications, a complete sample or prototype and includes things such as the choice of manufacturer and performing quality control checks at various stages.

We will discuss the options with you and help you to choose the steps which will be most relevant for your project.

How do I stop my product from being copied?

It’s just not possible to stop someone from copying your product, but you can take steps to discourage it, minimise it and stop them from continuing to copy it.

It’s also not just about patents and trademarks. There are other steps you can take to protect your product such as:
• Selecting your price point
• Ongoing development and improvements
• Building in security features
• Sending different parts of your product to different factories
• Making only part of your product overseas and retaining some key aspects of production locally

Working with Strategic Sourcing Australia

How do you charge for what you do?

Our charges are broken down into an affordable, step-by-step, pay as you go process, to get you through only the stages that you need. As we move from stage to stage you will be able to see the progress and choose whether or not to commit to the next stage. For production runs, we use a project management fee to cover the steps that we perform.

You’re in New South Wales and I’m in Victoria/Queensland/Western Australia. Can you still help me?

We have worked successfully with clients from around Australia, and in many cases we have never met face to face. We do a lot of our overseas work remotely, so it’s something we’re good at. There are some great new tools around to help (such as Skype), but at the end of the day a phone, a fax machine and email can achieve all that we need. Having said that, we’d still love to meet you some day.