Today, sourcing agents play a significant role in handling global supply chains. A lot of small businesses are still confused about them. With plenty of outdated and ambiguous information, it can be hard to understand sourcing agents and their specialized work. If you do not know much about these professionals but are interested to learn, read on.
Sourcing agents are people representing buyers and acquiring commodities or products on their behalf. These experts are resourceful in global businesses where they help their clients deal with foreign suppliers and obtain the best products at the cheapest rates. However, their services are not limited to these. They are also involved in quality control, product compliance, and shipping. An agent’s work scope depends on the agreement reached by both parties.
Is A Sourcing Agent And A Sourcing Company Same?
People often consider them the same, but they are two different concepts. A sourcing agent is an individual professional, and you can hire him/her as your full-time agent. These individuals support your sourcing processes and work at a small office or home. Most of these specialists have experience working on procurement projects for other companies. You can locate them on the different freelancing platforms, or some of them may even possess their websites. You can look them up there.
A sourcing company comprises a bunch of expert sourcing professionals. They can serve numerous customers simultaneously and integrate supplier resources more efficiently. These firms are usually present in industrial clusters. Both sourcing companies and agents act as a link between customers and suppliers. It is all about who you choose to serve you.
The Services Provided By Sourcing Agents
Sourcing Product Suppliers
Sourcing agents verify and choose the top suppliers that meet the needs of their clients. These specialists will negotiate with the vendors on your behalf to obtain the best deal and confirm the production details.
Follow-Up Production, Evaluate Quality And Organize Shipment
After locating a suitable vendor, the sourcing agent arranges the production of goods. These professionals help coordinate with the factory, supervise the production procedure, and ensure the production finishes on time. They also see that the products are of superior quality and provide a quality inspection service. They cooperate with the quality control expert to evaluate the finished items and minimize the defective rate before shipment.
Sourcing agents also take part in the shipping arrangement work. It needs a high level of expertise, and these specialists are the perfect candidates for the job. Apart from a bargain for the best shipping prices, these experts will also inform you about the documents and product certificates necessary for the custom.
Who Needs A Sourcing Agent?
People With No Experience In Importing
Acquiring goods from foreign countries involves a lot of complicated aspects, like importing from the best suppliers, overseeing the production, and quality control. Some other features include product testing and dealing with shipping. These are arduous tasks, and you cannot perform them efficiently if you lack the necessary experience. Professional sourcing agents or companies support you by taking most of the responsibility. They help you begin your first importing journey.
People Who Have To Handle Various Product Categories
You may have to contact more than 10 suppliers to select 2 reliable ones for just 1 product. Thus, if you are looking for 10 products, then you need to approach a minimum of 100 suppliers. Moreover, you must verify their credentials before selecting them. These are a lot of additional responsibilities. You can leave this work to professional sourcing specialists. They can perform the duties efficiently and also consolidate all the necessary goods.
Large Retailers And Supermarket Owners
Does a big importer with lots of funds and vast experience require a sourcing agent’s services? Of course, yes! Large companies also depend on sourcing agents to manage their supply chains better. For example, consider the chain supermarkets. They have to purchase thousands of products from different categories. It is thus impossible for them to visit each factory and buy every item themselves. The top retail giants approach expert sourcing specialists to procure their products.
People Who Deal In Special Product Categories
Apart from daily necessities, there are special product categories like medicine, building materials, etc. For example, consider the medicine industry. It is tough to locate the best suppliers. Thus, if you are into it, approach a reputed sourcing agency that has a specialization in this industry. They will help you with your requirements.
The 2 Main Advantages Of Hiring Sourcing Agents
Improve Sourcing Efficiency
A local sourcing agent can help you overcome language and cultural barriers for a better sourcing outcome.
Reduce The Importing Risk
An experienced agent helps you in every step of the sourcing process. Thus, you can mitigate the risks conveniently.
Now that you know about sourcing agents, contact the best person for your organization. They will help you fulfill your procurement goals.