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How to work with foreign suppliers: 8 successful aspects, FineDesignGroup experience

One of the key factors for the success of a store is the product range that the customer likes. If the product is of high quality, the price is affordable, and the delivery is fast and convenient, then the client will return to the seller again and again. Therefore, it is important to competently build work with suppliers, especially when it comes to business partners from other countries.

To make the cooperation as productive as possible, pay special attention to the following points:

1. Conclusion of the contract and documents required for the transaction

To conduct a transaction for the import of goods, you must have the following documents from the supplier:
The contract. The contract is drawn up in two languages: in Russian and the language of the supplier. For contracts over three million rubles, you must open the transaction passport at the bank. Reporting is created for currency control and is closed when both parties have fulfilled their obligations;
Invoice The document contains an indication of the basic characteristics of the goods (weight, material, color, and so on), a description of the delivery conditions (price, lot size, information about the recipient and sender), as well as a note about the shipment of the order;
Packing list. Another supporting document, the presence of which is mandatory for receiving an order. It includes the number of items and a detailed list of products for each commodity item (packaging, box, box and so on);
Electronic Customs Declaration. Served online to arrange the transportation of goods across the border. Typically, an electronic declaration is prepared by the supplier;
Certificate of origin. The document confirms the country of production of the goods and affects the amount of customs duties and the possibility of obtaining tax benefits. The certificate of origin is also most often prepared by the supplier;
Product specifications. A technical description is needed in order to correctly classify products in accordance with the commodity nomenclature of foreign trade activities, select the correct customs code and generate permits for the goods. These documents are prepared by the customer;
Price list for products signed by the supplier.

2. Search for a foreign partner

The best way to find a partner is to attend international exhibitions. We are engaged in the sale of designer interior items, furniture and home accessories, therefore Ambiente in Germany and Maison & Objet in France are considered the main exhibitions for our field of activity. These are the largest professional events where European brands show their products and share experiences.

We are constantly visiting various thematic exhibitions, but not with the goal of finding new suppliers, but to maintain relationships with current partners, explore new collections and obtain samples of goods.

In addition, they often come to us on the recommendation. The world of home furnishings seems huge, but most major manufacturers know each other. We are often advised to colleagues as a good distributor in Russia.

3. Checking the supplier for the “purity” of the goods

If you are dealing with a large international brand, then everything is simple – before you is an already established company with a history and a proven reputation that you can trust.

Things are more complicated with an unknown manufacturer, a private factory, a newly created brand. The best option is to visit the office, factory or warehouse of the company, get acquainted with a future partner and agree on cooperation in person. It is advisable to request financial information – balance sheet and profit and loss information for the last two reporting periods. The “plus” is that the reporting forms of foreign partners are similar to Russian ones.

If you pay for the goods in advance, it is advisable to request such documents regularly. We began to do this after one unpleasant situation, when we made an advance payment for the goods to the supplier with whom we had been working for more than two years, but did not receive the order – the partner declared bankruptcy. The affairs of the company were not in the best way, there was a large payable, the goods were in collateral. Data from the last financial report would allow us to agree on other terms of the contract and stop on the option of payment for the goods after receiving the order.

4. Negotiation process: face-to-face meeting or remote communication?

I am always for a personal meeting, since it is important for me to “feel” the person and the company that stands behind him. I remembered the advice of the founder of one of the brands with which we have been cooperating for more than seven years. Now he is 67 years old, and behind his back is a rich life experience and many years of experience in doing business. I asked a question, what does he consider to be one of the most important criteria when choosing partners, employees, activities and projects? He replied: “Energy and what remains after communication: the desire to turn mountains or desolation.” Following this advice, I have never been mistaken.

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