Just about any product you want to buy can be purchased from overseas sources, even your custom retail display, however, there are problems with manufacturing offshore. While buying products made offshore can cost you less money, you may end up paying in other ways.
Problems With Manufacturing Offshore - 10 Ways Your Project Could Suffer
Lower Standards of Quality
Offshore manufacturers may rely on unskilled, poorly paid workers and subpar materials. Quality control could be an issue. When standards are lower, the quality and appearance of your crucial marketing material may be at risk. Technical standards may not pass Canadian requirements.
Different Laws and Customs
Overseas manufacturers may not follow the same laws, customs and regulations that are standard here in Canada. Even if you sign a contract, your agreement might not be sufficiently protected. There may be import and/or export restrictions at either end of the transaction. Remember as well that Canadian consumers may balk if you use suppliers with shady business practices. In addition, you may find a correlation between prices and regulation levels.
If your carefully designed retail display arrives in poor condition or doesn’t look the way you expected it to look, you may have little recourse. Even if the manufacturer sends a replacement, your project could face significant delays. Likewise, your international shipment could be held up in transit or at customs. Your transaction may require freight forwarders or import agents, which may take the timeline out of your hands.
Shipping and Insurance Costs
You may incur significant shipping and insurance costs for goods travelling a long distance and across borders. Also, you will need to be sure to find out who is responsible for insurance costs at each stage of transit and who is liable if the product causes harm or loss.
If you are dealing with a supplier for whom English is a second language, you may have difficulty communicating via phone, email and printed materials. Communication breakdowns can result in misunderstandings and potentially costly errors.
If your supplier is in a different timezone, efficient communication can be an issue. While you and your employees are at work, your supplier is at rest and vice versa. This can result in project delays.
No Face-to-Face Introductions
Never underestimate the comfort of an in-person meeting. An on-site meeting allows you to look at the supplier’s previous work and judge the quality. You can also get a look at the production equipment and processes. This is often not a possibility when you’re dealing with overseas manufacturers. Having a local contact who you can count on makes doing future business easier.
No Access to Work in Progress
If your custom retail display is being built in China, you likely won’t be able to check on its progress in person. You won’t be able to detect any potential problems and the finished work may not be what you expected.
As with any important transaction, you will need to draw up a clear, detailed written agreement. This may be more complicated when working with overseas suppliers, because of language barriers and the need to include information about currency, exchange rates, payment methods, trading terms, conflict resolution, delivery and legal jurisdiction.
Payment methods can be more complex for international transactions. You may have options such as payment in advance, with a letter of credit, with a bill of exchange or by invoicing. You will have to balance the risks against your supplier’s expectations. Avoid advanced payments or long-term contracts until you trust the supplier. In addition, currency prices can fluctuate between the time of the deal and time of delivery.
Middleton Group’s skilled sales staff and craftspeople are available for face-to-face meetings and facility tours. Dealing with us ensures that you are fully involved in the entire process of creating your quality retail display. Contact us today to set up a meeting.