Supplier Process Steps

Neil Updated by Neil

These are the most common steps you will use to get from the searching for supplier step to becoming shipment ready.

  1. Search for potential suppliers at Supplier Marketplaces
  2. Construct a Request for Quotation Letter and send it to the Suppliers
  3. Negotiate with the Suppliers you have Shortlisted
  4. Order and Approve the Samples
  5. Agree to the terms in the contract
  6. Formalize the Agreement
  7. Pay the deposit
  8. Receive the Confirmation Sample
  9. Oversee the order
  10. Pre-Shipment Inspection
  11. Pay the Balance Owing

Next, you have to follow the Freight Process Steps.


Common Variations

  1. Supplier Search- You can search for suppliers online through sites like You may also try other channels for Supplier search like trading companies or attending trade shows.
  2. Requesting samples- You can request samples from all the shortlisted suppliers or ask only the preferred supplier. On occasion, some suppliers request a sample only after signing the purchase order, but that’s relatively rare.
  3. Negotiating- You could deal with all your shortlisted suppliers and choose the one you deem to be the most suitable.
  4. Trial Order- You can request a low minimum order as a trial to test the waters in sales before your order in bulk.
  5. Purchase Order- You could gain the supplier’s attention by signing a purchase order way earlier in the process. You can make this order if you need samples prepared by the supplier, but only if you don’t have to pay the deposit.
  6. Formalizing Agreement-The paperwork may be both a purchase agreement or purchase order or either.


Confirmation Sample– You may request a second sample after paying the deposit if the factory does not have the materials with them to make one presently.

This step is more commonly used with product categories, such as apparel. Most importers are unaware of this step.

Once the manufacturers have the materials at their disposal, the factory makes a confirmation sample for the importer.

The importer then approves the sample before bulk production begins.

This approach surpasses the IPC and DUPRO inspections (Quality Control).


Names for Samples

  • The first sample may be called an off the shelf sample or a made to order sample.
  • If the sample gets approved, it becomes the approved sample or golden sample.
  • The confirmation sample is usually known as the pre-production sample or the approved sample.
  • At a pre-shipment inspection, the sample may be referred to as a production sample or shipment sample.

How did we do?

Supplier Marketplace

Negotiating Strategy