15 Tips for Global Sourcing
When dealing with suppliers overseas, Crawford discovered that different grades of service may be available that may not be offered up front.
For example, he says, “When we complained and threatened to leave [one supplier], [they] mollified us by moving us to a higher and much more efficient level of service.”
7. Anticipate and plan for delays.
Any number of things can cause delays, from a press breakdown to a delay in transportation or a hold-up in customs. Avoid problems by building in a hefty cushion.
“Domestic suppliers do have the ability to be more flexible on scheduling because they do not have security to clear or boats to catch,” Leach says.
8. Avoid third parties.
Whenever possible, communicate directly with the printer. Avoid working through a brokerage agency, which adds a third party to an already potentially complex negotiation.
9. Know where your materials are available.
Is the cover stock you’re specifying available in Europe or Asia? To avoid gaps in material supply, talk to the printer at the outset and ask to see samples before doing the design or asking for prices.
“It might be possible to get special items if you have the time to do so,” says Clark.
10. Let the overseas printer source add-on services.
Publishers just getting into overseas sourcing or those who do not have the staff do to the work internally, should let the printers do all the sourcing of secondary services for them such as outsourcing the manual insertion of CDs or children’s book add-ons.
“Importing and exporting goods from one factory to another in China is extremely complicated,” says Leach. “Most reputable printers do not add much cost onto these outside purchases. Mostly they try to recoup the transportation costs and the cost to prepay for each item, knowing they won’t get paid by the publisher for another month or two.”