Nearly a month passes in shipping time alone when you're working with oversea suppliers. That makes inaccurate or wrong orders difficult to process. When you are relying on oversea suppliers to fill manufacturing orders, you should work with a distribution company that has experience in processing shipments—even if the distributor needs to contact the manufacturer to deal with inaccurate orders. Here's what to look for.
Part of evaluating a 3PL for oversea product suppliers is looking at their track record. Have they had previous experience with international trade? Every distributor, when dealing with their first international client, will garner tools and tricks along the way. Ensure your 3PL has international trade experience prior to agreeing to a contract with them.
Whether you're dealing with small product or large, evaluating your receiving team will determine how capable you are of processing oversea product. Evaluate this based on space, time, and crew. In some cases, ordering product overseas is the wrong choice for your company--especially if you don't have adequate receiving capabilities.
How capable is your 3PL of processing containers upon shipment? This requires more space than is usual for warehouses as the product will be mixed and might need to be organized. This also requires a strong team of receivers who will be able to unload and process all materials in a container.
Foreign Trade Knowledge
When working with an oversea supplier, you or your 3PL will need to have a good understanding of foreign trade regulations--from paying duties to receiving freight. Look for a 3PL who has access to a registered Foreign Trade Zone, as these 3PL's will have a working knowledge of international trade zones and will be able to reduce or clear any duties or taxes required for foreign trade.