Skills your Sourcing Agent/Project Manager must Possess

POSTED ON August 23, 2021

If you are wondering whether a sourcing agent or a project manager mean the same, the answer is no. Most sourcing agents are just sourcing agents and not project managers. There are few who can really call themselves project managers as well. A project manager has much broader set of responsibilities. Wikipedia defines a project manager as-

“A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers have the responsibility of the planning, procurement and execution of a project, in any undertaking that has a defined scope, defined start and a defined finish; regardless of industry. Project managers are first point of contact for any issues or discrepancies arising from within the heads of various departments in an organization before the problem escalates to higher authorities, as project representative.”

You may often find sourcing project managers juggling tasks such as planning, organising and coordinating shipments, supervising delivery, managing customers and ensuring that shipments meet quality standards and comply with legal requirements.

When you are sourcing from China or any other country where you don’t have physical presence, handling logistics can be a very challenging job. Things can get even more challenging when there is new product development or too many stakeholders involved. In such cases, you need a dedicated local project manager who can take care of your project from start to finish and steer it to successful completion.

Not every sourcing agent can claim to be a project manager. You need someone who is qualified, certified and has the right experience. There are certain skills that a project manager must possess in order to be able to run your project successfully. Some of these skills include:

Networking skills

A sourcing manager has to interact with a number of stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, vendors such as transport providers, freight forwarders, quality inspectors, and even government officials such as custom officials. They need to have the networking skills and the ability to nurture the relationships with various stakeholders. They need to have a strong network of suppliers and other providers that can be utilized immediately when required.

Understanding finance

A sourcing/project manager must have good knowledge of finance and budgeting. They should have an understanding of accounting systems. Financial skills are essential for any project manager as they need to ensure that budgets are adhered to and there are no deviations or overruns.

Technology savvy

With technology, we don’t mean the use of basic technology such a smartphones and laptops. A god project manager would have access to technological platforms that can help manage the projects efficiently, do all the paperwork online, track projects and report progress. They must have the ability use project management tools to better run the project.

Communication skills

This is probably one of the most important skills a project manager must possess. It is important that they are able to communicate with all stakeholders in a clear and concise manner. When we say communication skills, we mean both oral and written. In case of China sourcing, communication skills become even more important because the project manager has to communicate with the client in English and with the suppliers and other local stakeholders in their language. The project manager should be able to communicate and connect with all stakeholders and maintain a relationship with them.

Understanding of import/export regulations

For someone whose main job is to help international clients with new product development or product sourcing from China knowledge of import/export regulations is very important. The last thing you want is that your shipment gets held up at a port for inspection due to possible non-compliance with regulations or lack of proper documentation.


The sourcing manager should be accountable and take ownership of the project. When it comes to new product development or sourcing multiple products from multiple suppliers, there can be many challenges thrown at the project manager. They should be able to handle all the stress and make their way through the challenges. They should remain true to their responsibilities and steer the project to completion despite all the challenges.

Looing to set up a virtual office in China to manage your new product development in China? Need someone on ground to take care of all your sourcing needs and coordinate with all the parties involved? Get in touch with our sourcing team now to discuss your project.