What is a Sourcing Agent and Why You Need One

Running a business is no easy task. There are a lot of factors to consider to become successful and make a mark on consumers. One of the most important factors is to have great quality products. Consumers look for businesses and sellers with products that are up to their standards. Once a consumer is satisfied, they will come back again with another purchase. So how does a business maintain this positive relationship with its consumers?

Consumers expect businesses to give them results in a timely and satisfactory manner and the only way to do that is to have a consistent and optimized fulfillment process. If you have a small business, you might find it hard to juggle everything all at once which can be quite a problem. But don’t fret because there is a solution for you.

What is a sourcing agent?

Whether you are a small or large business, there will be times that you will have your hands full. You may encounter unforeseen problems with your current manufacturer or supplier such as a decline in product quality or delivery times are not met. These are situations that every business would want to avoid because this can lead to loss of customers and, ultimately, loss of sales. If you want to avoid these kinds of problems, you may consider getting a sourcing agent.

A sourcing agent is an individual who is primarily responsible for locating suppliers and manufacturers that can meet your expectations. You can choose an independent sourcing agent or an agent from a sourcing agency depending on your needs and also whether they can find a solution to your problem. Agents from a sourcing company or agency will have more resources and can give you a more streamlined fulfillment process. No matter what you choose, these sourcing experts will help you in smoothening out your business process from start to finish.

What does a sourcing agent do?

The primary job of a sourcing agent or sourcing company is to find suppliers or manufacturers for an e-commerce business but their job may entail more than that. Sourcing agents can do so much more than just look for potential suppliers.

Here are some of the main and most common services a sourcing agent offers to their clients:

  1. Sourcing products, manufacturers, and suppliers

Before anything else, the sourcing agent would have to assess the buyer’s needs first. As the buyer, you have to establish your requirements so that the agent knows where and what to look for. Once everything is laid out, the agent can now make a list of the best prospects and let you select the most suitable for your business.

Aside from gathering a list of potential suppliers, a sourcing agent will also help you look for products and suppliers with the best prices and can deliver great results. Not all businesses can afford high prices so it is the agent’s job to find a supplier that is within the price range of the buyer but still provides good quality products.

  1. Monitor production process

When you have selected your supplier or manufacturer, the next step is production. A good sourcing agent or company coordinates and monitors the whole production process from start to finish. They make sure that the products are made on time to prevent unwanted delays and check whether the supplier has fulfilled all of the buyer’s requirements.

  1. Quality control

While monitoring the production process, a sourcing agent will also do quality control to ensure that the products are made with great quality materials. This is also done to guarantee that the supplier did not skip any steps in the production. Some irresponsible suppliers rush this step to save time and meet the deadline. However, this could cost the quality of the products which would lead to losses.

By inspecting these products, the sourcing agent can separate the defective ones and have them replaced if possible before the products are shipped. Quality control may be done randomly or the agent may personally go to the factory and do a complete check.

  1. Arrange shipment process

Before the products get shipped, the sourcing agent would do last-minute inspections to ensure that they are packaged well to prevent leakages and breakages during shipment. They would also check that the products are labeled correctly and that the quantity is correct. Once these are cleared, the next step is to arrange the shipment process.

Depending on the size and weight of your orders and also your budget, the products may be shipped via air freight, land freight, or sea freight. Choosing the best shipment service should be based on the track record of the shipping provider. Do they experience little to no delays? What is their performance during peak seasons? You would want to choose the provider which is always consistent and a sourcing agent will help you to come up with a decision.

The work of the agent does not stop with selecting the shipment provider. It is also their responsibility to inform you about additional paperwork that may be needed for customs clearance especially when you are dealing with a supplier overseas. This is important to move the goods quickly and less risky.

Take note that not all sourcing agents and companies offer the same services. Some may offer fewer services while others offer additional services such as product photography, warehousing, consolidation, and others.

Why should you hire a China sourcing agent?

In the e-commerce landscape, almost all sellers source their products in China because they are cost-effective in keeping the supply chain going. While this is the preferred practice, it can be difficult for a new business to find a reliable manufacturer, especially for one based in a foreign country. A solution to this particular problem is to get the services of a sourcing agent in China.

If you are a small business owner, you might think how would you benefit from hiring a sourcing agent based overseas? Wouldn’t it be just additional expenses? Large or small, getting a sourcing agent is highly beneficial for you. Below are some of the reasons why you should consider:

  • Access to more products, suppliers, and manufacturers. China sourcing agents who have been working for several years in the Chinese market allow you to gain more connections. Agents have an extensive list of trusted suppliers and manufacturers you can choose from depending on your needs. Looking for a new supplier will not be a problem anymore if you wish to change your current partner because your sourcing agent is just a message away.
  • Saves time, money, and effort. Getting a sourcing agent is not a waste of money but is a great investment to make. With an agent, you save time on maintaining your business because someone else would deal with the nitty-gritty process of looking for potential suppliers and manufacturers and you can focus on other aspects of your business. You also do not have to worry about spending more money because the agent will look for the supplier or manufacturer with the best price so you can stay well within your budget.

Instead of doing everything on your own, all business processes can be streamlined properly and you just have to make sure that everything is working smoothly so that your clients receive the best service from your business.

  • Erases linguistic gap. An experienced sourcing agent in China is proficient in both Chinese and English languages, written and verbally. One of the most common problems in getting a foreign manufacturer is the language barrier and getting a China sourcing agent will erase that. They will handle all communications and negotiations on your behalf and if you have any issues or clarifications, they can effectively relay them to the manufacturer.
  • Ensures peace of mind. Working with a supplier or manufacturer overseas can be risky. If you handle it by yourself, you might not have the time to check whether your requirements are being met by the supplier. With a sourcing agent, they can oversee the whole production process and ensure that all your guidelines are followed. They make sure that the products are made of good quality materials and the quantity is also correct. In case of issues, they will also rectify them before the goods can be shipped. If everything is settled, then the agent would just have to ensure that there will be no problems during the shipment process.

The advantages of hiring a sourcing agent outweigh its disadvantages. The only drawback is if you do not scrutinize the agent very well and you end up hiring someone unreliable. If your aim is for your business to grow, you have to be vigilant and find a dependable sourcing agent who will contribute to the success of your business.

Ready to get your sourcing agent?

Finding the right China sourcing agent is hard work but very rewarding if you know what to look for. Partnering with an agent improves a big part of your business process so you should hire someone who is highly experienced. If you are looking for an agent in China to source your products, you should check out Lansil Global.

Lansil Global is a one-stop-shop for all your sourcing needs. Our experienced, multilingual team will help you find the most suitable manufacturer and supplier with the best rates. We also offer other services such as warehousing, quality control, product photography, shipping, store integration, and Amazon FBA Prep. We take care of your products while you focus on your business.

With Lansil Global, your business is in good hands and we will be with you every step of the way. If you have inquiries or wish to avail of our services, you may contact us by filling in our form or sending us an email at support@lansilglobal.com.