Need for a Sourcing Agent

A sourcing agent’s prime goal is to help companies save time and money on production. They do this by locating sources for high quality materials and products at the lowest price. With their connections and expertise, a sourcing specialist can offer a variety of services that may prove useful to you and your company.

Services Of a Sourcing Agent

Outsourcing agents typically have a broad range of skills from coordination and good business sense to knowing different languages and negotiating with both on and offshore manufacturers. Sourcing consultants know where to find different suppliers and have prior connections with manufacturing companies.

They also often negotiate with potential suppliers to research discounts and deals that you may not have time to work out on your own. Saving money and establishing long-lasting contacts benefits both the supplier and manufacturing company.

Outsourcing agents are particularly helpful if your manufacturer is overseas. They work to vet potential manufacturers and determine the needs of both companies. Sourcing coordinators can locate suppliers and visit and inspect factories, meeting them in person to see if they will be able to handle the demand or meet certain standards.

Sourcing specialists also serve as a purchasing manager to help handle tariffs, taxes, importing, and exporting. If you aren’t familiar working with the laws and standards of different countries, a sourcing agent can save you a major headache. Their experience and skills can help expedite shipping and cut down on expenses, reducing the risk of any delays or unexpected halts in the supply chain.

Advantages of Using a Sourcing Agent

Saves Time & Money

Outsourcing agents serve as representatives for your company. They are the middle-man working to get you the most bang for your buck. Relying on someone else to find you the best deal and the best quality, while also handling logistic management, saves you valuable time, energy and money.

Trusted Network of Manufacturers

The advantage to working with a purchasing manager is that they have history and experience working with reliable manufacturers. They keep a list of tried-and-true companies that is constantly developed and compiled over many years. Sourcing agents maintain relationships with quality manufacturers across a variety of industries to find the most compatible fit for your company.

Peace of Mind

Relying on an outsourcing agent offers the business owner peace of mind. Sourcing specialists are experts in manufacturing and know the ins and outs of their industry. They are working to save you time and money.

Established Liaison & Expert in Negotiation

Sourcing agents act as procurement managers and manufacturing representatives. Working on your behalf, the agent will negotiate and dedicate their time to find quality products, manufacturing factories, and prices for you and your company.

Knowledge of Culture & Developed Relationships

Whether you are outsourcing domestically or overseas, sourcing agents know where and who to work with. They have knowledge of culture, language, and different business practices with international companies, which ultimately saves you time and research.

Need of a sourcing agent for outsourcing

Whether you are outsourcing domestically or overseas, sourcing agents know where and who to work with. They have knowledge of culture, language, and different business practices with international companies, which ultimately saves you time and research

Needed 6 key qualities of sourcing agents

Sourcing Agents

1. Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is the first and foremost quality when it comes to the selection of a sourcing agent. If you work with a dishonest sourcing agent, you will never be aware that your sourcing agent is actually ripping you off by secretly asking the supplier for hidden commission or kickback while appearing to offer low or even “free” sourcing service. A professional sourcing agent, however, persistently makes it the golden rule that no information about the supplier should be hidden or faked to the buyer including number of employees, market performance, reputation, registration information, real business type, product original price, etc. Without this, the buyer’s plan of getting better price and services by entrusting a sourcing consultant is totally ruined, in other words, the buyer is simply dealing with another trader.

2. Focus on Quality

An excellent sourcing agent will spare no efforts in tirelessly searching and talking to the right optional suppliers instead of stopping the efforts too early before finding out the best choices. Careful research should be carried out on the official registration details, business type, year of establishment, production capacity, engineering capability and technical standards to ensure the required products can be made with ideal standard and quality. Additionally, once a supplier is chosen by the buyer, a good sourcing agent should take the time to go to the factory in person to check the assembly lines, warehouse, quality control standards, etc and provide the latest information and analysis to the buyer with photos, meeting minutes, written reports for the client’s evaluation and decision-making.

3. Accountability from pre-sales to after-sales service

A sourcing agent’s mission does not end when transfer of order confirmation is made to the supplier. He should take the responsibility to follow up the production and shipment of the goods, coordinate with the suppliers to offer technical support for trouble-shooting, and assist in arranging the returns and refund according to the terms and agreement between the two parties. This concern can be hugely worthy of consideration when a buyer deals with a technically unsound trader or a factory where no one speaks English, especially when it comes to industrial products, timely, in-depth and effective communication between the sourcing consultant and the engineers are essential to ensure that the products work ideally to meet the consumers’ expectations. So the buyers can dedicate themselves as being professional, answerable and reputable in their home market and keep their business blooming.

4. Be as a buyer’s colleague

A simple direction that the sourcing consultant needs to work-to is being a colleague to the buyer. He is supposed to fully represent the buyer’s interest in the business operations, that is, he is just a bilingual colleague of the buyer working in the procurement/buying office. In the course of the business negotiation or technical communication, the sourcing agent needs to find out the information, if any, that the suppliers wish to hide from the buyer and report it to his client in a timely manner yet also in a suitable occasion. In such situations, however, the sourcing agent should not make the decision without the buyer’s knowledge, instead, the decision of how to respond still is left with the buyer to consider.

5. Be as a supplier’s friend

In some countries, business culture is closely associated with relationship and connections. Some business people are inclined to offer more favorable terms to whom they are closer with or whom they find more intimate. Therefore, together with the buyer, the sourcing agent should work to enhance the relationship with the suppliers, instead of always exerting pressure on them. Close business-ties does good to the likelihood of the supplier’s better-care of the production, delivery and service. For example, if the buyer finds it necessary, the sourcing agent can pass the gifts to the supplier to enhance the business relationship between the two parties.

6. Maintaining the buyer’s business secrecy

Information is a matter of utmost importance for business people. When there is joint-work with the buyer, the sourcing agent is exposed to considerable amount of information including products, price, design, components, technologies and suppliers. Whatever the buyer does not wish anyone else to know, everything must be held as absolute business secrets by the sourcing agent in order for the buyers to keep competitiveness in the market.