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Anyone have experience with Assembly.com? (Monthly subscription sourcing team)

Empires

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While researching my options for manufacturing a product I am working on I stumbled upon this website Assembly - Sourcing. Haven't been able to find any reviews on them, wanted to see if anybody here has had any experience with them.

The basis of what they offer is a flat monthly fee ($499 or $1999) for sourcing manufacturers and obtaining quotes for what you are looking for. They talk about evaluating quotes as well as helping you redesign for cost reduction.

They offer more than just that, but that is what stands out to me. What are your thoughts?
 

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Xeon

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I'm curious to know @Walter Hay 's opinion of this.

$499-$1999 seems a lot for what they're offering.
 

Walter Hay

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I'm curious to know @Walter Hay 's opinion of this.

$499-$1999 seems a lot for what they're offering.
They are a recent startup, with their sourcing business depending mostly on factories allowing them to install monitoring devices to keep track of production. They maintain that this enables them to be certain that the factories follow correct production methods and quality control procedures.

The monthly fee seem to me to be excessive. I know of a number of sourcing businesses originating in the USA, and they all seem to expect their clients to be wedded to them.

Their monthly fee is not necessarily all you will pay. They charge extra for quality inspection services. It seems strange to me that with guaranteed quality control supervised by their monitoring during production, they would also suggest quality inspections.

Although they boast that they don't receive a commission, they also say that they charge the factory a per unit fee.

Knowing that many importers would like direct help to source products, I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past few months communicating with a well established Chinese sourcing agent, whose reputation impressed me. That company provides a broad range of services, with no up front fee. I will be giving a complete review of their service in my 2019 revision due out early 2019.

I suggest checking out this thread by @AgainstAllOdds
International Sales: Bringing Factories + Buyers Together

Walter
 

AgainstAllOdds

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A lot of these sourcing companies are out there now. I think they're good for people starting out but after that it would be better to branch out on your own and establish relationships directly (from the limited experience I have with sourcing)
It depends.

If your technique is scouring Alibaba and hoping you'll find a good supplier, then I guarantee you that I can take a 5% fee and still outcompete you 10 times out of 10.

There's a difference between:
  • "I found a factory that can make my product"; and
  • "I found a factory that has the best prices and fastest production time so I can destroy the competition."
Some sourcing firms are worth it - especially in complex markets and at large purchasing volumes.
 

Walter Hay

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A lot of these sourcing companies are out there now. I think they're good for people starting out but after that it would be better to branch out on your own and establish relationships directly (from the limited experience I have with sourcing)
There are more than "a lot", there are thousands of Chinese sourcing companies and hundreds of sourcing companies that are either owned by or pretend to be owned by citizens of the USA, UK, and Australia.

Those that I know for sure to be owned by Westerners all require substantial MOQs. Their business model usually involves a subscription arrangement, and they treat every order as if it is very complex. My impression in most cases is that this helps justify the subscription fees.

I am not saying they don't obtain good outcomes, but I agree with @AgainstAllOdds that a good sourcing agent charging 5% can provide a good result. Bear in mind that prices quoted by suppliers on sites such as Alibaba can be inflated by massive amounts.

For example, I can source women's sandals (not leather) for $1, but you will usually find the price quoted for similar quality is about $3 or $4.

The big question is: How can you know that the sourcing agent is trustworthy, and is serving your interests as well as his own?

The answer is: Due Diligence! Don't accept without question all the claims that sourcing agents make. If testimonials are provided, check them. You will often find it impossible to locate the people proving those testimonials.

Walter
 

Xeon

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The biggest nagging issue with sourcing agents is that, you don't know if they're in cahoots with the suppliers, especially if it is Chinese sourcing agents with Chinese manufacturers.
 

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The biggest nagging issue with sourcing agents is that, you don't know if they're in cahoots with the suppliers, especially if it is Chinese sourcing agents with Chinese manufacturers.
You can tell if you get quotes from competing factories. Then compare the price to see how much margin is being added on.

If you can't find a competing factory, that means the sourcing agent is still worth it since they're your best option (something through the agent is better than nothing by yourself).
 

Walter Hay

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You can tell if you get quotes from competing factories. Then compare the price to see how much margin is being added on.

If you can't find a competing factory, that means the sourcing agent is still worth it since they're your best option (something through the agent is better than nothing by yourself).
What an excellent suggestion about comparing prices. The agent will only give you a price from one factory, so if you get quotes for yourself from other suppliers that will help you to keep your sourcing agent honest.

It is also true that if you are unable to find other suppliers, your sourcing agent has found one that you would never find on your own.

Walter
 

Valor

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They are a recent startup, with their sourcing business depending mostly on factories allowing them to install monitoring devices to keep track of production. They maintain that this enables them to be certain that the factories follow correct production methods and quality control procedures.

The monthly fee seem to me to be excessive. I know of a number of sourcing businesses originating in the USA, and they all seem to expect their clients to be wedded to them.

Their monthly fee is not necessarily all you will pay. They charge extra for quality inspection services. It seems strange to me that with guaranteed quality control supervised by their monitoring during production, they would also suggest quality inspections.

Although they boast that they don't receive a commission, they also say that they charge the factory a per unit fee.

Knowing that many importers would like direct help to source products, I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past few months communicating with a well established Chinese sourcing agent, whose reputation impressed me. That company provides a broad range of services, with no up front fee. I will be giving a complete review of their service in my 2019 revision due out early 2019.

I suggest checking out this thread by @AgainstAllOdds
International Sales: Bringing Factories + Buyers Together

Walter
This would be extremely helpful.

Any ETA on this? Any plans on working with non-Chinese sourcing agents?

Like I've mentioned before, I've found a great new manufacturer in Malaysia for my products, but I'd like to eventually find a backup supplier and haven't had much luck locating good manufacturers for my industry in southeast Asia. If I'm being honest, I almost feel like I lucked into the one I have found.

I actually have talked to Chinese sourcing companies before, and it seems rather easy to verify who's legit and who's not. One reputable company offered me several verified references from different countries, along with all their contact info.
 

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Walter Hay

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Chinese companies in general don't like providing references. If they have done so, and those references have checked out then you can be confident about dealing with them.

I think my 2019 revision will be out in February.

When running my importing business one of my major suppliers was located in Malaysia. and i found that doing business with them was a great experience. I had a backup supplier in Taiwan, because I couldn't find another in Malaysia with similar technical ability.

Malaysia is not often considered as a source, but they are developing an impressive manufacturing industry.

Walter
 

Valor

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When running my importing business one of my major suppliers was located in Malaysia. and i found that doing business with them was a great experience. I had a backup supplier in Taiwan, because I couldn't find another in Malaysia with similar technical ability.
That's my main problem. I need certain material specs met, and this company in Malaysia has been the only one able to deliver. Actually wasn't able to find even one Chinese company to come close.

The packaging, product quality, and professionalism has been far superior to the other Chinese companies I've dealt with in the same industry.

You may actually have a little bit of experience with companies in this industry. Do you ever do private consultations or offer advice? If you're ever willing, I'd love to talk to you at some point in the future about it and would be more than happy to pay you for your help.
 

caezlar

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Most of the sourcing are doing job in their personal capacity. They maybe were workers, salesperson, etc... They are simple and credible.
 

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