Here Are 8 Tips to Source Engineered Hardwood Flooring
1. Gather information about the regions and suppliers of engineered hardwood flooring
At present, Chinese engineered hardwood flooring manufacturers are mainly located in the area of Zhejiang Jiangsu Shandong and Northeast China. Where you source from is determined by the type of engineered flooring you need. For example, some exotic species and some thin veneer of 0.6mm and 1mm may be better sourced from South China. If you are going to source a 3mm-6mm oak hardwood flooring or a 3 layer product, you can go to Northeast China mostly because the territory and climate support the production of a thicker engineered flooring and a 3 layer engineered hardwood flooring product.
2. Collect information and contact potential suppliers
When you identify potential regions and suppliers, you need to collect information about the factory. It helps to know the factory’s requirements for placing an order and the costs involved, the brand of machinery used in production, how many production lines will be available for your order, how they source the raw material, and perhaps capture some factory photos. Be sure their licensing certificates are valid. Gathering this information from the factory will allow you to experience the communications ability of the salesperson; this is very important when sourcing a project as the salesperson is your main contact for that manufacturer. Don’t forget to ask about existing clients in your local market – they can be an excellent source of information.
3. Visit the factory
Once you’ve made the decision to source flooring on a long term basis, you should visit the potential supplier at their factory. This process will allow you to understand their on-site plant operations, get you some valuable face-to-face time and perhaps even allow you to garner very important information about the market and some of your competitors. This will be a big help to make your final decision.
4. Sample or trial orders
Processing a sample or trial order is an important test for your supplier. You will come to understand their raw material sourcing ability, their sales communication and their delivery control ability. You will experience all of this when placing sample/trial orders and the experience will give you something to think about.
5. Big supplier, small supplier or trading company?
Big name suppliers may be famous, may have an excellent reputation in the market, and they have a lot of clients that buy similar products to yours but price is not easy to negotiate and delivery time is not guaranteed. Small suppliers may not be bad at all. They are more flexible and have good pricing. They’re also good if you can get a handle on quality control. When people mention “trading company,” the first thought is “they will charge more for the service.” That may not be true at all. If you find a professional trading/agency company, not only will you get a good price but they can also help you optimize your sourcing solution. And their service? Trading/agency companies are more professional, have good communication teams, and have a more stable relationship with manufacturers. These are all good for you to get a good price. Especially for quality controls, service and client appreciation, they will help you reach your ultimate goal.
6. Quality control
Hardwood flooring quality control is a vital factor of the sourcing. For engineered flooring, the raw materials are from natural wood which lends its own, natural defects. There can also be machinery defects so survey of quality is very important, even though the pass rate of engineered hardwood flooring is 97%. If possible, when you first work with a supplier, check the coating line or the packing line as this is where a number of defects arise. The inspector must be professional and with at least 3 years inspection experience. When your orders are consistently of good quality, you can choose pre-shipment inspection which can lower your cost.
7. Liability and complaint resolution
Even the best supplier cannot guarantee zero complaints. When you have problems, how do you protect yourself? Something you need to think about.
At last we talk about the price. Never choose a supplier because of their price. The price is the last factor you need to think about. Why？The supplier competition of hardwood flooring in China is very fierce. The cost to each supplier is very close, so why is there such a big difference on quotes from different suppliers? There are many reasons including wood grading. Everyone calls it RUSTIC, but Rustic grading from Russian oak and the European oak are very different, the cost is also different. The method of veneer cut may also contribute to cost differentiation, e.g., the price for 4mm veneer saw cut and sliced cut have at least a 3-5% cost difference. The method of wood smoking, even those of a similar color, because of the process can result in a big difference in cost.
Finally, it is not easy to find a supplier- it takes time and patience. We wish you joy in the process of finding your source. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.