Sourcing Agent Means What?

POSTED ON June 20, 2021

A souring agent is an agency or person that works on behalf of a buyer to buy products or source commodities that are not easily accessible to the buyer. Businesses require the services of a sourcing agent when they need import products from another country. Simply speaking, these agents help source right suppliers for their clients. However, the services are not only restricted to this. They also provide services such as price negotiation, quality control, shipping, logistics and other supply chain services. Remember, not all sourcing agents can provide the full range of services. The services you receive will depend on the agent/company you choose and the agreement reached between you and the supplier. Quite often, the term sourcing agent and sourcing company are used interchangeably. While both do the same job, there is a difference between the scale of their operations and scope of services.

A sourcing agent is usually an individual or a small team (1 or 2 people) that can be hired. They usually operate from a small office. Just because they are individuals or a small team, does not mean they can’t do a good job at finding you the right supplier. They are often experienced and know their job well. However, it all boils down to finding the right person.

On the other hand, a sourcing company or a sourcing agency usually comprises of a team of sourcing agents and other employees working in different departments such as quality control, shipping, etc. Sourcing companies are usually able to help you source across a variety of industries and can handle very large volumes. These companies are normally located within an industrial cluster and help sourcing from within that cluster.

In the nutshell, sourcing agents and sourcing companies both help their clients find suppliers and source different products from China. Whether you want to work with an agent or a company depends on a lot of factors including your requirements, trade volume, the type of product to be sourced etc. Here are some situations in which you would require the services of a Chinese sourcing agent/company.

  • If you are sourcing from another country for the first time, it is better that your hire services of a sourcing company. They will take care of all complex tasks such as quality control, warehousing, shipping etc, which you otherwise may find very overwhelming.
  • Whether or not you need services of a sourcing agent or company also depends on how many products or the type of products you want to source. If you want to order multiple products, it is always better to seek services of a sourcing agent, because it is practically not possible for you to identify the right suppliers, negotiate with them, and take care of quality testing, shipping and other activities.
  • In case you want to source a niche product, or have a unique product idea in mind, you will find it difficult to find the right supplier on your own. With years of experience in local market, sourcing agents can help find the right supplier even if you want to manufacture new product.
  • Sourcing agent or companies are particularly important for large retailers, who have distinct supply chain requirements. It is virtually impossible for large retailers to find hundreds of products from another country without any local help.

As we said earlier, both sourcing agents and companies serve the same purpose-finding you the right supplier for the products you wish to import. Whether you should choose a sourcing agent or a company depends mainly on your objectives, number of products you require, the type of products you are dealing with, the type of services you need and several other factors.

Basically, your aim should be to find someone who has a good grip over the local markets, knows the product segment well, can communicate well in your language as well as the local language, offers a full-range of services and has a transparent pricing policy. You don’t want to deal with someone who has more on his plate than he can handle. It is always better to have someone who at least has a small team that can help make the process more efficient. This is especially important if you are looking to source large quantities, large number of products or manufacture new product.

If you are looking for a sourcing company that offers the right mix of individual attention and professional, full scale services, you should get in touch with us. Sourcing Captain brings with its years of experience and expertise in helping clients from diverse industries with their sourcing needs. Call us now to discuss your requirements.