SIGC002 - Sourcing and Supply Chain Management

In today's e-commerce landscape, sourcing & supply chain management is more important than ever. Sellers need to be very strategic and carefully consider their options in terms of cost, quality, and lead time, and they need to have a clear plan for managing inventory and fulfillment. In this episode, we discover tactics and insights sellers can leverage so that they can have the best value for their money and their customers are always able to get the products they need. Let's tune in!


Topics Covered in This Episode

  • Sourcing & Supply Chain Overview
  • Helpful websites to look at
  • How to check for supplier credibility
  • Contacting suppliers
  • Supply chain management
  • Question and Answer

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Podcast Transcription

[00:00:00] Do you want your product seen by more buyers on Amazon, Etsy and other marketplaces? Do you want to get more traffic, make more sales and scale your brand? Welcome to the Signalytics podcast. Signal code unlocked, where we discuss what signals are needed to send to your customers, to the algorithms, to the ad platforms in order to get your product seen converting and profiting fast with your host former top 50 seller on all of Amazon, the [00:00:30] professor Howard Thai.

[00:00:32] This is the Signalytics podcast signal code unlocked. And hello everyone. Thank you for joining me today. This is Zeeshan Jalil, and I'm going discuss today about sourcing and supply chain management. So whatever I am going to discuss is again, the basics and the most common things which most of the sellers [00:01:00] ignore the very first thing, the sourcing part, let's discuss the sourcing. For the sourcing.

[00:01:05] We look at Alibaba, 1688 and or the US sourcing. We look for the thomasnet.com and we search Google with keywords. If you wanna source some supplement or for example, garlic press, then you will go to Google and you will type manufacturer. Carly press USA. [00:01:30] So these sort of keywords we will use to source the products within the US.

[00:01:37] Next thing is the supplier credibility. You must have to make sure that the supplier is credible. He has, uh, experience. So there are a few checkpoints. You, you need to clear the, the first one is [00:02:00] plan has to be a goal supply for at least three years. Three years. Why three years? Because we want to make sure that he has enough skill level or the speciality level to produce products and to ship products.

[00:02:15] Second thing, the trade insurance is compulsory so we can make sure that our payment is secure. So we always pay the trade insurance. Third is check the company, [00:02:30] which verifies the supplier. So if supplier is verified. If, if it is a gold supply, then the company is verified. You need to check which, which company verifies the supplier.

[00:02:44] So it has to be a credible company. Most of them are credible, but they are few known. So you have to verify this as well. And the fourth one check what certifications lab has. They are few [00:03:00] certifications, like is ISO 9001 and they are couple of others. So you need to make sure that, that the company has those certifications with.

[00:03:09] Them to make sure that they are producing quality and they are following the standards. Next is check the supply location on Google. Some of the suppliers in China, every niche are, has, is own, uh, ground space [00:03:30] where all the factories are. For example, if, uh, if a factory is producing some bedsheets, then the, all of the factories nearby that factory will be producing bedsheets.

[00:03:43] So you need to make sure that that particular supplier is located in that area. And you can easily check that by, uh, by going to their contact, us, contact us section and check their address then copy that address [00:04:00] and past it paste into Google and then search on the Google. Next is check if the supplier is manufacturer or a trader, this is a very easy task to perform.

[00:04:14] You need to check what they are actually producing in terms of products. So if they are producing the same niche products. Like if they're producing only office products, then they are manufacturing. But if they are producing office and kitchen [00:04:30] and garden products, then they are, they are most likely traders, not the manufacturers.

[00:04:36] And then the last one is check the supplier does if it is close to the port shipping port. So this is another important. To look at because if the factory is located far from the port, then, then the transportation charges to the port are, are, will be high. So we need to save that cost as well. So check these [00:05:00] points on the supply check and while contacting supplies, make sure you have all the knowledge of the product.

[00:05:09] So all the knowledge of the product means like what material. Is used to produce the product, how it is produced and the lens, the measurements of the product, and every, every bit of a knowledge, which shows that to supply that the, the person is contacting me, has the knowledge of the product. So he [00:05:30] is not just blind and.

[00:05:32] Uh, just saying that, okay, I need this product. I need, I need like 500,000 units. We need to make sure to supply that you have done only. So that supplier takes you serious. The second point is search supplier with the speciality instead of product keyword. So for example, if you have a product in leather, okay.

[00:05:54] So in like leather jacket, you can say. And you, you have to search [00:06:00] the supply with the keyboard, like leather product manufacturers. So these type of keyboards you need to use, which shows you that whatever, whoever supplier is coming up, popping up, he is, he has speciality in leather work and he can make any kind of product in leather for you.

[00:06:24] So this way you can just differentiate. On the supplier part and get better [00:06:30] prices. I have, I have got a little better prices by using this method and do not send Amazon competitor link or Amazon image to supplier. Try to find a product image from website or on social media. So whenever we send Amazon link or Amazon image to supplier, they get to know, okay, you are going to sell on Amazon.

[00:06:56] And the, they increase the prices, or if [00:07:00] they are personally, already selling on Amazon, they will give you really, really high prices. So on the start at least send them a random image. Copy the image, take the image from the competitor website or on Pinterest and send them that image to, to initiate the process.

[00:07:23] Next is contact at least 30 suppliers. Okay. The more, the better. So you can [00:07:30] have a range of quotations and you can, uh, you can check that the minimum point is for example, $1 and the maximum is $3. So whoever supplier is giving you above than $3, then he is that that supplier is not the manufacturer. Or he just don't wanna do business with you so we can consider these, these things.

[00:07:57] So contact as many suppliers as [00:08:00] you can to get the best possible lowest prices. The next is talk to them on WeChat or Skype for good response, quicker response. I, I personally recommend call them or have a video call to see their factory, to see what they are doing or, and, and how they are doing. So the video call is a lot better.

[00:08:23] This sends signals to supply that the other person who is contacting them is really [00:08:30] serious. Okay. So next is the supply chain management. These are the very basics for the supply chain management, but the bed nearly important, which I have seen, no one is following. Whoever is in contact with me. So the supply chain is all about numbers.

[00:08:52] Okay. So you have to play the numbers scheme. You have to calculate how much inventory you [00:09:00] need for the whole year. Okay. So you have to calculate the inventory for whole year, not for the next next replenishment. This doesn't mean that you will order that full year, but you have to plan how much you are going to sell.

[00:09:17] Okay. You have to calculate that. You have to check the holiday seasons are coming, but holiday seasons are like Friday or, or any, any, any season is coming near to you. [00:09:30] You have to plan accordingly. Okay. Plan your promotions. If you are going to do promotions in upcoming month and plan in advance. If you are going to do promotion, then you will need some extra inventory to support.

[00:09:50] Okay. So you need to plan all the promotions. If you are going to do lightning deals, or if you're going do marketing or any kind of stuff, then you need [00:10:00] to plan accordingly. Next deal. Ask the supplier what holidays they have for the whole year. So, so you have all the dates available. In front of you when the China is off or when your supplier is off, ask the same question to your freight forwarder as well.

[00:10:20] So you can plan everything in advance that this state I have to order the inventory. So the, my supplier can [00:10:30] complete the inventory at this state and I can ship the inventory at, from this state to receive at this day. So you have to plan accordingly and ask the suppliers. If there are any new policies coming, which can hurt production and plan for the whole year upfront and marketer, when you need to order then when, so if you are not using any paid tool, then you can use Google Calendar and Market Calendar [00:11:00] to plan your plan, your whole year inventory.

[00:11:03] Okay. So the Google will tell you that at this. You have to order your inventory. You can use any tool as well. Uh, and this is like tip as well to, to have some better negotiation. Once you plan the whole, your inventory, send that file to, to your supplier, to, to get the better prices [00:11:30] and your supplier will see that and he will take serious.

[00:11:33] Uh, he will take you serious. So that's it for the sourcing and supply chain. And let's get back to, to the question of above, okay. So the customer, is there a specific method for sales forecasting for the sales forecasting? If you are already selling on Amazon, then check your past [00:12:00] sales. Okay. Like the, the percentage of increase on your monthly sales and then forecast accordingly.

[00:12:09] If the sales are consistent, then add up to 10% and you have to increase your sales by 10% onwards. So this is how you can do that. And the other way is to check your competitors and check their past sales. But they are doing their sales are [00:12:30] increased or decreased and check your, uh, check your keywords search volume.

[00:12:35] If the keyboard search volume is increasing on a specific period or not. So this is how you can, you can forecast your sales, share some hints to convince supplier for credits. For credit, you have to have a strong relationship with your supplier. That's why I am asking you to, uh, to use [00:13:00] video your calls, to gain your supplier’s trust.

[00:13:04] Once you gain your supplier’s trust, they can give you credit. And once you send the whole, your inventory plan to them, this will also gain their trust. And, uh, mostly suppliers are mostly will give you credit. Once you have at least two to three transactions, but I have seen some people, they are having a credit on their first order, even.

[00:13:29] So it's [00:13:30] all about trust and it's all about your communication skills. For the new market, how to analyze the sales. Same thing. Use a tool to, to check the past sales. And if you are already selling, then you have your own passes, so calculate accordingly, but you, but, uh, you will be expecting in the coming months.

[00:13:54] Okay. So next question. Uh, not very [00:14:00] helpful if I already did that, but it was not very helpful. I am going to launch a new product, but is the method to make a full year inventory plan? And how will we know about that time period? We shall call it one, three further. You here is how you can, like you can do it, uh, for the newly launch product.

[00:14:24] We estimate the monthly sales. Okay. For, [00:14:30] and order 3 months. Okay. This is how I do it, actually.

[00:14:41] I ordered three months inventory. Then once you calculate, you have the per month inventory for the second run, use the same amount for the second use the same amount for the third inventory increase 10% on top of that. [00:15:00] So this way you can have forecasting, rough forecasting, and once you start selling, then you can redo your forecasting.

[00:15:10] On that point. Okay. This is easy to do. If you are going after the very accurate numbers, then you will end up having frustration on it. So at least try and at least go for it. Go for what you have calculated in the start. [00:15:30] Only grow, but not there are no accurate values on the tools. So you have to rely what they are giving you.

[00:15:40] Okay for pandemic effects, then we discuss anything related to, we have our advice from them. They don't come.

[00:15:50] So you have to gain the confidence of your supplier. So you, this is like, [00:16:00] they are like for the poor English, you have to gain their confidence. So they can at least come on the video call and speak however, or whatever case they can. Once they come on the video call, then it is, it'll be easy to gain trust.

[00:16:19] Getting the credit is all about trust. Okay. Once you gain the trust, then they will, uh, give you the give you, offer you the credit. [00:16:30] So for the first thing, you have to gain their trust. Can we share? Yes, I will share. I will prepare a sheet or a document and I will put together all the resources I am using for my business.

[00:16:47] So you can have access to all of them. Any other questions guys? and, uh, just to update that we have a series of these [00:17:00] live session. And this is, this was my second one. And the next is tomorrow at 2:00 AM and Baldwin will be coming. Baldwin is a real man on the marketing side. So he'll be sharing the really, uh, good stuff on the SU and copywriting part.

[00:17:18] So make sure you attend that as well. And then we will have, uh, some couple of other sessions from Baldwin and from Howard as well. So I will keep [00:17:30] posting and inside the group and we are doing these sessions only inside this group and the Signalytics group to make sure that, uh, we are, uh, the value to the group members.

[00:17:43] These are not the open sessions. We are only doing these inside, inside these groups, how to get extraordinary response suppliers as we know that Chinese sellers are also getting an Amazon extraordinary date, you can have by visiting China, [00:18:00] or if you have someone in China, then ask them to go to Chinese factories because there are some Chinese factories.

[00:18:08] Who are, which are not on, on Alibaba or 1688 because of the language barrier. So for the extraordinary rates, you have to visit China or use any sourcing agent so they can get you the cost lower cost, but you can find on Alibaba, but don't go for too, [00:18:30] too low because they will reduce the quality.. I didn't get your question.

[00:18:35] Could you please explain a, a little. In detail. Okay. Which platform countries are better for sourcing other than gen? How can we really know? We really know which countries will be cheaper for sourcing. What I have seen is mostly people. The sellers, the big sellers are sourcing from Mexico. I am also going to explore that I am pretty sure that Howard is doing that.

[00:18:59] I will [00:19:00] ask him to give some, some tips how, how they are doing it, but the Mexico is the, the second one after, after China. So explore the Mexico sourcing. Okay. So we documented, we required for sourcing, which are must, can you to stop the sure. I, I. I will make a list of documents, but you just need to have a invoice and a contract.[00:19:30] 

[00:19:30] Okay. And make sure you put to, to both of these documents to inside the trade insurance, let's do this for five for, for like 5 more minutes. And then let's. This, can we get letter of authorization from. What kinda letter of authorization you're talking about? Could you please explain a bit and one more thing I [00:20:00] forgot to mention that, make sure you have great mark in China as well.

[00:20:04] Once you do sourcing. So no one can. Uh, copy you or no one can like give you a threat on your product. How about made a short video on it as well? That how the Chinese sellers are doing it? So it is inside the, the group video section. Please watch, watch that video [00:20:30] as well. Uh, so from the last 30 days facing out of stock, now, most of the keyword are data.

[00:20:39] It also gives a delivery day, three days of tough. So this is still not clear, like Amazon, because your keep changing the zip code and see what the delivery days you can see from the, [00:21:00] the different zip codes. So if, because Amazon like distribute that went three to different warehouses. So that's why on your zip code.

[00:21:12] There is no inventory nearby to that zip code. That's why you are, you are having three day, three days are delivery date. So check from the different zip codes to make sure. They are showing delivery date after three days or not? Yes. They [00:21:30] can give you a letter of authorization, but what kind of

[00:21:42] contentment it is designed patent in improvement or what, how about it in contract? Most of them don't even agree on doing the contract fees. uh, Able to do everything against them. So to bond the freight forwarder, make sure [00:22:00] you do a transaction with trade assurance. Once trade assurance is involved, then you have some security on your payments.

[00:22:10] And this is an alarming situation. Once, once your freight forwarder is not agreed to do any contract. So this is the alarming situation for, for any, any side, like for the freight forward and for the supplier as well, [00:22:30] do not do business with the people who are not agreed to do a contract and use a, a safe payment method.

[00:22:40] Okay. In last session you said starting with the price and wording the. By loading sales velocity, we should suppress the listing you how you can just remove the main image and it will suppress your listing. This is the simple method you can [00:23:00] use. There is another method as well, but this is the simple one.

[00:23:03] Just remove the main image and Amazon will suppress your listing. And if Amazon takes your second image to as main image, then move the second image as well to suppress the listing. I can change my zip codes, but most of the time face this problem, the order issue is very low. So in this, uh, way, we can really, we really cannot do anything [00:23:30] because Amazon is taking care.

[00:23:32] This, this thing, your invent, all of your inventory is in stock or still, you can see some inbound. Because in this scenario, we really cannot do anything. Design patent

[00:23:51] you really need to contact some patent expert who can solve this issue for you. All of them went in [00:24:00] stock. Uh, I, I seriously don't believe like we can do anything, anything on it. So you just have to wait because pulling out your inventory and then sending, uh, acting will cost you. So I do not recommend doing this.

[00:24:22] Just keep looking. Uh, and if you can open a case with Amazon, that why they are like, [00:24:30] Showing three days delivery date, make it quick. So they might help you in that. Okay guys, let's uh, let's uh, finish today's session. Thank you so much for joining and I really appreciate your questions and I'm just loving, answering those questions.

[00:24:51] So keep coming, because we have a series of these sessions and. Again, I repeat these sessions will only be in this [00:25:00] group and the Signalytics group. So we are not opening these sessions to, to everyone outside this group. So we can make sure that we are giving value to you, to you people. So, and I would request if you think you have some connections, which can take benefit from these sections, the, uh, these session.

[00:25:21] And please, please invite those, those people to this group so we can create some good audience. So thank [00:25:30] you so much and see you tomorrow. Take care. Do you want your products seen by more buyers on Amazon, Etzy and other marketplaces? Do you want to get more traffic? Make more sales and scale your brand.

[00:25:45] Welcome to the Signalytics podcast. Signal code unlocked, where we discuss what signals are needed to send to your customers, to the algorithms, to the ad platforms in order to get your product seen converting and profiting fast  [00:26:00] with your host former top 50 seller on all of [00:43:30] Amazon, the professor Howard Thai.[00:26:06] This is the Signalytics podcast signal code unlocked.

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