When it comes to starting a new business there are a million and one things that you need to think about. One such thing is finding all of the primary resources your business requires to operate; which is one of the first and most crucial steps of all.
The manufacturer that you settle on – or indeed the supplier who provides you with the necessary materials to manufacture your goods – is the backbone of your business. They will regulate your inventory which ultimately determines how strong a relationship you can build with your consumers.
When you have a solid supplier, you will be able to deliver high-quality goods to satisfied buyers – which in turn leads to positive feedback and repeat customers. A poor supplier on the other hand, always results in low-quality products and dissatisfied buyers – leading to negative reviews and a reputation for being unreliable. This is not ideal.
But, what does this have to do with product sourcing agents and how can they benefit your business?
What is a Product Sourcing Agent?
So, what is a product sourcing agent? Product sourcing agents (or “buying agents”) help businesses like yours by providing a way to find the perfect supplier – whether nationally or from overseas. Having a qualified product sourcing agent by your side will eliminate all of the red tape involved with finding a suitable supplier, whilst mitigating all of the risks associated with testing out new manufacturers.
A product sourcing agency will help to ensure that the products that you source will not only meet your standards, but exceed customer expectations as well. They will also ensure that you avoid importing low quality products – whilst doing so at the best possible prices.
Why Do You Need a Product Sourcing Agent?
Why do you need a product sourcing agent? Look at outsourcing these responsibilities in the same way that you would your bookkeeping and IT security. There are certain tasks that other third-parties specialise in and when it comes to something as vital to your business as sourcing the perfect manufacturer, having an exceptional product sourcing agent take care of this process for you provides significant advantages.
In the case of sourcing overseas, in Asia for example, having an established product sourcing agent on your side gives you instant access into a network of reputable manufacturers and suppliers. Tapping into a whole new market is not without its risks! Partnering with a product sourcing agent who already has solid working relationships with a wide variety of suppliers and manufacturers on the other hand, can eliminate much of the hard work entirely. The result is you having access to more variety at better prices. What’s not to love?
What are the Functions of a Sourcing Agent?
What are the functions of a sourcing agent? A product sourcing agent will help you to find quality suppliers. First of all, you must provide them with as much information as possible as to what you want and what your business objectives are. Following that, they will search the market – and indeed their existing contacts – in order to find the right supplier for you. Once they’ve found a few shortlisted candidates they will contact you to select the one that best suits you.
Sourcing agents are also responsible for negotiating the terms of the deal with suppliers on your behalf. They will then inspect the products before delivery and manage all of the logistics and shipping for you, including overseas production.
How to Choose a Product Sourcing Agent?
How do you go about choosing the right product sourcing agent for you? Naturally, this isn’t a process that should be rushed. Here are a few things that you should be mindful of before making your final decision:
- Licensing: When choosing a product sourcing agent, be sure to select one with the appropriate licensing and certification. This means that they have the legal rights to purchase any products or services on your behalf.
- Excellent communication: When working closely with a product sourcing agent you must have confidence in their ability to communicate effectively – both to you, and to your prospective manufacturers / suppliers. Their ability to build solid relationships will be crucial to maintaining strong supplier partnerships in the future.
- Specialisation: It can’t hurt to settle on a product sourcing agent who knows your industry well and has a thorough understanding of the types of products that you need.
- Experience: When you choose a new product sourcing agent, they should have plenty of experience. With many years behind them and a proven track record, you will be able to place your confidence in them. Requesting reviews and previous case studies is a recommended means of evaluating your prospective sourcing agents before making a final decision.
- Transparency: Another vital factor to consider when searching for your ideal sourcing agent is transparency. The best sourcing agents will always be open and honest about what is going on in every step of the process. They must keep you updated without manipulating the process or trying to leverage anything out of you. In other words, you want a reputable product sourcing agent that is just as interested in your success as they are their own – as both are mutually exclusive when you partner correctly.
To recap, product sourcing agents (or “buying agents”) help companies by providing a means to find the perfect supplier, giving you access to more variety at better prices.
Take your time when researching prospective sourcing agents as choosing a poor sourcing agent can spell disaster for your business. On the other hand, finding the ideal sourcing agent can take your business to even greater heights!
If this is something that you are interested in exploring further, then UCT (Asia) would love to hear from you. Simply contact us today and one of our friendly representatives will gladly answer all of your questions and start working toward a solution that fits your business objectives perfectly.