Products are very frequently imported, but it is not always easy. That is why more companies are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the role of the strategic sourcing consultant; a role that goes far beyond being an “intermediary” (as it is sometimes called, minimizing the importance of its purpose) and provides security and stability to the purchasing process (sourcing).
The sourcing consultant, also known as a strategic purchasing consultant, is a professional or a company that helps a company import from a specific country. Choosing a good purchasing consultant with a good sourcing strategy is essential for successful importation.
The person responsible for this sourcing, who not only manages the purchase but also searches for the appropriate suppliers, is usually a professional trained in international trade and, most importantly, has extensive experience in this type of operation. It is an area of work in which prior knowledge and, above all, experience, increases the success rate.
Any import carries a series of associated risks that, although they can never be 100% eliminated, can be minimized. As we have explained, experience in sourcing management is key to avoiding most of the pitfalls and, most importantly, knowing how to manage them.
Factors such as language and culture can become a real problem when importing from countries completely different from our own. That is why the task of a purchasing consultant must go far beyond selecting suppliers and ordering goods.
The added values of a (good) sourcing consultant
Companies often mistakenly think that, thanks to current technology, it is possible to obtain lists of potential suppliers that facilitate the importation from foreign countries and, therefore, they do not need the role of a sourcing consultant. Error!
A (good) purchasing consultant contributes much more than supplier management. This role offers clear advantages that can only be achieved thanks to experience in the field of imports.
A complete sourcing strategy
Sometimes plan A can fail. Moreover, Plan B may also present changes different to those expected. It is the responsibility of a sourcing consultant to take into account all the possible drawbacks and modifications in the sourcing strategy and to quickly adapt to new situations.
Quality standards control
A product can be totally legal and meet the standards of the country where it is manufactured but not those of our country and that is why the person (or team) who is responsible for purchasing must be fully aware of the regulations in both countries to avoid significant loss of earnings caused by this type of incompatibility.
Accurate cost calculation
Our experience as an expert and specialized partner in the manufacture and import of industrial products in Asian countries has led to us knowing of many cases in which companies had calculated X amount in costs but, in the end, they were disappointed because the final real costs were higher and for reasons that had not been taken into account in the beginning, such as extra trips or customs fees, etc. A good sourcing consultant must know where in the import process the costs can become more expensive and inform the customer of this possibility.
Manage customer delivery
Another area where companies can come across more problems when importing, is in shipping and delivery costs. Freight transport is often longer and more expensive than anticipated, and can also lead to additional problems such as receiving faulty orders (broken parts), partial order arrival, etc. It is the job of a good sourcing consultant to be in charge of delivering the products to the end customer and, therefore, to take responsibility for their arrival in perfect condition.
As we have seen, the advantages of betting on a professional sourcing consultant are clearly remarkable and ensure that our import process is carried out successfully, without any problems that then have to be resolved.
After more than 15 years working in the field of importation from China to different countries in Europe, at S3 Group we know all about importing industrial products. We know that it is a simple and reliable process for any company, and the role of a sourcing consultant is essential if you want to make importing an important part of your cost saving strategy.