What Makes A Good Sourcing Agent And How To Find The Best One?

by Procurement Freelancers Team
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Many business owners consider sourcing goods from other countries as they are less costly or easily available there. However, a lot of them end up importing low-quality products and thus, face losses. It has led many to seek help from sourcing agents. These professionals help find the right suppliers that will meet the requirements. They act as an intermediary between their clients and the suppliers and facilitate the necessary communication. If a business is into sourcing, they must hire these specialists for the best results. If you are wondering what are the characteristics of a good agent, the following points will help you.

Business License

While building your house, you would get a licensed building contractor for the job. Similarly, you will entrust your money to a banker only if he possesses an official work permit. The same rule applies to every business you deal with – including sourcing firms. A genuine and professional sourcing agent will have an official business license to present to you.

Experience and Specialization

Before hiring, check whether the professional is new to this field, or an experienced one. Choose the latter, because an amateur would not know which vendors are trustworthy. Their specialization also plays a vital role. If you are into the apparel business and the agent only has experience with consumer electronics suppliers, it will not help you. Always seek professionals who have a history of working in your line of work.

Testimonials

An experienced sourcing specialist will have worked with a lot of firms. If a sourcing agent does his/her work well, it will please their clients. They will be happy with the performances, and the sourcing agent can present various referrals and testimonials.

Location and Flexibility

In sourcing, geographical proximity plays a crucial part. For instance, if you wish to source goods from Shenzhen, your agent should also be located there. Some sourcing experts may contact you, who live further away, and offer to visit the factory, but it will cost you extra. You would want them to provide you with work-related updates, but then you will have to pay traveling costs for it. Thus, choose an agent who is close to the supplier’s location. You can also opt for sourcing consultants.

Transparency

Transparency is an absolute must, as with any other service provider. A competent sourcing agent informs you in advance what costs will incur and how they are composed. Additionally, they would also warn you about the potential unexpected costs. They should visit the factory with you if you ask them to. When it comes to the supply chain, transparency is vital. If a professional makes excuses in this regard and tries to avoid it, know that it is a red flag.

How To Find The Best Sourcing Specialist?

Define Your Needs

First, identify what you need from your sourcing agent and suppliers. You can write down the details in a document. With your sourcing agent, it includes the language skills, the scope of service, experience level, payment mode, location, etc. Also, clearly define your requirements from the manufacturer, like, the type and quality of materials, the specific working conditions, the delivery time, etc.

Establish a Budget

Next, think about your budget. Think about how many units you need, how much you can spend on them, and the amount you can pay to the sourcing agent. Do not set a fixed budget, but an estimate, keeping in mind that there may be unexpected costs.

Choose a Type of Sourcing Firm

There are various kinds of sourcing enterprises. Each has its benefits and demerits. Decide whether you want to work with a firm or just sourcing agents.

Research and Compare

When you know your requirements and what type of sourcing specialist you wish to work with, begin your research. Do not just surf the web and use the results that pop up first. Explore platforms where you can go through multiple independent reviews from other sellers. Then shortlist 4-5 sourcing agents that meet your specific needs.

Get Quotes and Verify their Business Licenses

Now, seek quotes from the professional sourcing agents you shortlisted. The quote should be for the price of every service you wish to use, the price calculation method, and the pricing structure. At this stage, you must obtain a copy of their business licenses. Select the one that fits your budget and business requirements.

Negotiate Payments

After selecting the sourcing agent, negotiate payment with him. Usually, the big companies have a fixed price structure. However, you can engage in the negotiation process with independent agents and settle on a mutually beneficial amount.

These professional agents will benefit you in several ways. You can also choose sourcing consultants for your work. Remember the above points, and hire the best professional for your business work.

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