The Process of Sourcing Wholesale Furniture From India Suitable For Export
In India, the export industry for furniture is largely dominated by smaller manufacturers, of say under 80 workers, and less than $5 million in annual sales. Consequently, the importing of items from India can be a somewhat complex and confusing ordeal involving challenges.
Some of the challenges involve the obtaining of items from suppliers on time, and the receipt of goods that are of the quality desired and the quality needed usually will require excellent skills in negotiation and knowledge of the various industries in an in-depth manner.
The best strategy is to reach beyond just finding a supplier on the internet of the products that are desired, but to go beyond that level and find the best possible supplier you can find. Even better is to locate a very experienced guide, or broker who has already been dealing with buyers like yourself and who is very knowledgeable about every step of the process of exporting furniture from India.
One organization that it is imperative that a furniture importer from the United States should become familiar with is the Federation o Indian Export Organizations, which was initiated in 1965. This organization is a primary link for you to work through as they are a main servicing agency that act in the capacity of providing a wide range of assistance to export houses that are government recognized as legitimate and in good standing. This organization serves the interests of over 100,000 exporters in India both directly and indirectly. This number of affiliated exporters account for over 70 per cent of the exports of India.
Export Promotion Councils are organizations that act as middlemen for foreign buyers and Indian manufacturers, and are industry specific rather than general agents. Through these organizations, manufactures supply very sophisticated and well designed promotional materials, which can be used by foreign buyers to determine what is available in particular markets.
These export promotion councils are under the administration of the Department of Commerce of India, and they number a total of 14 such councils at the present time. Each council concentrates in the promotion of a specific product group or industry.
These councils are a wonderful place for a furniture importer to start with his or her sourcing activities, because you will know that at least there is some oversight as to the legitimacy of the organization. Since they are listed and they must pass some sort of criteria in order to be listed, they are a good starting point for the direction of foreign buyers to the manufacturers.
The Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) also grants the status of “Export House” to companies who have excellent track records in the field of sales to foreign countries overseas. Higher status recognition is given to houses who have large foreign exchange earnings, and higher levels include “Star Trading House” and “Super Star Trading House.”
For a beginning trader in the US this can be a very big advantage because you will be assured that these companies are at the height of legitimacy, and that they are very experienced in every aspect of the process for exporting of merchandise. Particularly when it comes to the purchase, packaging and shipping of furniture, these house will be able to take charge of the entire process from the manufacture to the delivery of the furniture to your destination in the United States.
Another reason why working with the FIEO anointed export houses is that they will able to overcome the problems that are rampant in the Indian export situation such as bureaucratic delays and confusion, substandard quality of merchandise, transportation issues, and small scale and petty corruption. The better trading houses have their own employees and agents present at every stage of the exporting process, from the manufacture to the port delivery to its arrival in the United States.
The Chambers of Commerce in India also play a major role in the exportation of goods to other countries. There are two major branches of India Chambers of Commerce. One is the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, abbreviated (ASSOCHAM) and it has over 450,000 members. The other Chamber organization is the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), which arranges overseas contacts and trade missions, does marketing surveys, arranges meetings between buyers and sellers, and is a publishing arm for the exporting industry as a whole.
The ASSOCHAM has its headquarter offices in New Dehli, and fields over 60 expert committees in various fields. The FICCI is a non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and implementation of foreign export trade.
There are quite a few trade organizations and associations that sponsor similar activities and promotions for their members. The Confederation of Indian Industry is one of the more influential associations, as it is a national organization that serves and represents both public and private industries. This organization has 64 offices in strategic locations worldwide in such paces as the United States, Singapore, the UK, China, France, Australia and Egypt. There are over 7,000 members of this organization and they are in close contact with buyers who can examine goods as to their quality before any commitments are made by a foreign buyer.
Using an agent is another way to narrow down sources as sometimes this is the best way to locate specific products that you feel will sell well in your market. The procurement of professionals who are adept in their field can cost far less than one might imagine, and if a good relation can be established, then that might be the start of a long and profitable financial partnership.
When sourcing for particular markets such as furniture, it is advised to thoroughly do your homework by accessing some of the agencies and resources listed in this report. Since there are several well established organizations, such as the FIEO who can point you to reliable trading houses that have a reputation that is excellent and who can handle your order from start to finish.
Of course the secret in the room is always price, and an organization who handles all of those steps from start to finish will most likely have a higher price than someone who does not specifically oversee all of the steps. However, you probably cannot afford any glitches in the process, as many of those glitches may add substantially to the price of the goods anyway.
Anytime that you are importing from a foreign country, you will want to begin with the most efficient process that you can find. And this is especially true when it comes to the importing of furniture. Indian furniture can be very exquisite with its intricate carvings and finely lacquered finish. It would not take much to ruin a finely designed piece of Indian furniture if its transport was not handled in the most professional manner.
In many cases, an appropriate agent who is recommended by a Chamber of Commerce or a wholesale organization, such as the Confederation of Indian Industry is the way to go. A good agent will have the contacts and the experience to get you the right price from the right manufacturer, so that you not only get the merchandise to your location, but you will get the right price so that you can be competitive when you go to sell it.
Indian furniture is unique to the world market, especially since much of it is manufactured in smaller industrial settings. While there are a few major sized factories, there are unlimited sources of the smaller shops and industries of medium to smaller size. These shops take great pride in their work and put out a quality product, and are to be desired for your purposes as an importer.
Here in these areas of sourcing you may want to use an agent who is very familiar with these local industries as they know the families and the people who are involved. It is then up to the agent to arrange for the transportation and the shipping of the furniture. If you can find such a person, you will have discovered a relationship that will be worth its weight in gold.
Here is where you will get the break in pricing, as you will be close to the source without the process of marking up the product by it having it be processed through several layers of middlemen. Your agent will have to be adept at the entire production, procurement, packing, loading and shipping process, and for that you will have to rely on some of the organizations mentioned.
The key to a successful venture in Indian furniture importing is to thoroughly do your homework through the organizations which are in place specifically for that very purpose. Also, a very keen knowledge of what the demand is here in the United States is another key factor.
One vital factor would be not of overlook the already large Indian population here in the United States, and a well designed marketing strategy should already be in place prior to any robust importing commitments are in place. It would be foolhardy to make large scale commitments for importing furniture without having a working plan already on the ground, ready to go that will provide a quick turn around on orders coming in from India.
In conclusion, the key is to research, research and research some more. Look for an agent here in the United States who can help on this end. Perhaps they already have contacts in India, but you now have resources and contacts in the home country with whom you can verify contacts from anywhere to determine their legitimacy. Never rely on one source, and never take anything for granted, as yesterday’s news can be tomorrow’s downfall.
Once you have contacted and researched some of the major organizations, trade houses and Export Promotional Councils, you should be very well versed in all of what is available for you. Your research can then be quite detailed and complete as you investigate various companies, manufacturers and resources.
Armed with all of these resources, you can make your own decisions and put together a detailed plan of action which will put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to achieving the results that you desire.
When your overall plan is in place, begin by ordering more on the smaller scale so that you can track every detail of the process of ordering, experiencing the shipping and arrival of your goods. Only then will you be able to tell for sure how the process actually works, and then you can scale up from that point.