“e-sourcing” is a buzz word in the industry these days. The concept is that a buyer can leverage online tools to find and manage vendors in China. It sounds great in theory, but in practice a dose of “old school” sourcing is often needed as well. In his recently blog posts “Hands-on buyers: qualifying factories and nurturing them” and “Hands-off buyers: accepting the risks of importing” at www.qualityinspection.org , Renaud Anjoran uses the terms “hands on” and “hands off.”
Professional 3rd Party support is just a click away
In his experience, e-sourcing via websites like www.GlobalSources.com is great for helping with the research to find potential vendors and there are plenty of 3rd party resources that can be hired on-line to help manage the supply chain. Everything from engineering to due diligence to audit/inspection to sourcing support and even sourcing office set up can be hired online.
Getting the right mix
But as Renaud points out, if you want good price, quality and service, then there is no substitute for getting on a flight, rolling up the sleeves, and taking a look at what is happening on the production line in China. 3rd parties can support, but the buyer needs to lead the charge. As David Dayton over at the Silk Road Blog is fond of pointing out “there is a direct correlation between the time the buyer spends on the ground in China and the success of the sourcing project.” So true.
In summary, every project is different and the key is to find the right mix of hands off and hands on that works. Too much e-sourcing is dangerous and too many trips to China get expensive.
Wishing everybody successful sourcing!
Author, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” (chinasourcinginfo.org/book/)