Accompanying you on your journey of developing a product undoubtedly requires a manufacturer. But if you pull off your search on the internet, you will see hundreds of options coming up. From the, picking the right supplier is very tough. Entrepreneurs usually find it very difficult to vet a manufacturing partner overseas because of numerous options. You may also find many good suppliers but picking the best one for the present is a big challenge. But if you hire a sourcing agent before going for finding out the right supplier for your business would be the best solution. Such agents are well-trained, experienced, and have enough contacts to quickly get you a new, good supplier. They are the most valuable personalities, especially in the industry of sourcing.
Building a supply chain is a big responsibility which usually includes manufacturing in any developing foreign country. To execute the entire process, you need to make the product, negotiate prices, handle quality control, and get your products shipped. It is nearly impossible to do such things by yourself in a shorter period. That is why agents are hired. They pave the way for your organization by making the entire process properly organized and executed efficiently.
How Can You Vet a Good Sourcing Agent?
Vetting an agent in sourcing is simply not a piece of cake. You need to be very wise with your questions. Some questions for vetting a good sourcing agent are mentioned below.
Who Will Pay the Agent, and How and When are They Paid?
You are only responsible for all your sourcing services as you are the owner of your organization. This simply means that you will only have to pay for such services as well as to your agent on behalf of their service. But you do not directly give the payment to your sourcing agent, but when you pay a sum to your supplier, the agent automatically receives his/her payment. You should know that if money is flowing earlier or from other sources, your agent is no longer your agent – he/she is working for some others.
Can the Agent Provide At Least Two Testimonials from Similar Companies to Yours?
Your potential agent’s mind runs faster than yours. The things you are trying to achieve have already been achieved by your agent – this is something that usually happens. Therefore, vetting them enables you to ask the hardest questions. Talk to your fellow industry people or from outside who are involved in the making of the same types of products you are currently designing. See whether they rave about the sourcing agent. If they do not, you should move on to the next one.
Does the Agent Perform Quality-Control Inspections, OR Do They Outsource to a Third Party?
Your agent will primarily help you find the right supplier for your organization. But you need to see whether they are performing the second crucial thing well. The second crucial thing here is using quality inspections for ensuring that your chosen factory properly manufactures your products. The third most important thing you should look into is whether your agent outsources the entire step to a third party. If they do, it will add costs and potential errors. If you find this happening, you quickly move on to your next sourcing agent.
What Guarantee Does an Agent Offer If a Supplier Falls Behind Schedule, Takes Your Advantage, OR Produces a Poor-Quality Product?
You should always remember that your agent is representing you and eventually taking on the responsibility of maintaining the quality of your products, finding a suitable supplier, and ensuring that you are having charged competitive prices. But if they cannot guarantee you the level of performance you need, then they simply cannot be your right partner. You sincerely need to move on to the next one and inspect again.
What Processes and Systems Does the Agent Have in Place to Manage the Manufacturer?
An agent in sourcing who continuously writes everything down on envelopes and consistently drops the ball is simply not perfect for your organization. Global sourcing is not easy at all. Its entire process may lead you to meet the unexpected quite a lot of times. You literally want someone with years of experience. Alongside, your agent should also keep the systems in place for efficiently representing your interests to the supplier. If your sourcing agent intends to flatter or entertain you most of the time avoiding discussing project management processes, then they are absolutely not a good fit for your organization or business.
You usually put your heart and soul into the process of hiring an agent for every sourcing activity. Thus, you also need to be hard with your questions and wise at the same time while taking their answers. Once you hire them, you cannot be lazy. You constantly need to take follow-ups on how every sourcing-related process is running along with their performance.