Value-added Services to Buyers
Buyers view traders and/or agents as an important part of their sourcing strategy. Using traders helps buyers to not only reduce travel expenses, but also open doors to finance options, risk reductions, language translation services and local representation.
Eric Ryan is president of Sacramento, Calif.-based E.C. Ryan International Inc. His company designs a wide range of toys and gifts, which are manufactured in China and sold to catalog companies and other retailers in the United States. He has used traders for years, and views them as a necessity to good local representation. "Finding a good trader is the key to working with some suppliers in Asia. The traders I have used have helped me find the products I need, as well as offering me packaging, warehousing and shipping options. Given the current SARS situation in many of today's sourcing centers, the use of my trading partners has become invaluable to my business. Both now and in the future," commented Ryan.
"China is irreplaceable as a supplier of general commodities in terms of price and quality," said Craig Pepples, chief operating officer of Global Sources, a company that creates and facilitates global trade between buyers and suppliers, through trade journals, online marketplaces and CD-ROMs. "Internet requests for information from potential suppliers and traders have jumped 50 percent in April compared with April last year. This increase is higher than the growth we would have normally expected," stated Pepples.
Results of a recent Global Sources buyer survey indicate over 50% of buyers see no disruption or minor disruption to their current suppliers. Less than half see some or major disruption due to SARS. This not only shows buyers' views on the current situation, but also the uncertainty of how this is affecting buyers differently.
Given the present SARS environment, some buyers may opt to maximize their use of traders now or in the near future.
While SARS may keep buyers from meeting face to face with suppliers and attending trade shows in Asia, businesses have become more flexible and resourceful in applying different techniques and technology to meet their sourcing needs. While many buyers source direct from factories for price advantages, they recognize the value trading companies offer. Traders have long been helping buyers keep their shelves full and have learned to offer the value added services such as sourcing, development and quality control of products, they provide.
Read the iSourceonline.com article "SARS Tough on Buyers" for more information on the Global Sources buyer survey.