Unlocking Success in 2024: The Definitive Guide to Sourcing Services

How to Find the Right Sourcing Services Agent in China?

Are you familiar with sourcing services? When businesses decide where to get their stuff from in China, they often have to choose between dealing directly with factories or going through trading companies, wholesalers, distributors, or sourcing or purchasing agents. Some think going straight to the factory is the cheapest and easiest option. But others say trading companies and purchasing agents are better because they know the local market, are good at talking and bargaining, and can offer the best deals. This article explains the core principles, best practices, and actionable tips of procurement services  and why they might be the smart choice in practice.

What is Sourcing?

Sourcing services, also known as “agent buying” or “procurement services,” involve a supply chain company undertaking the responsibility of purchasing goods or services from sellers specified by the buyer. In some cases, the buyer may not designate a particular seller but instead outlines the required goods or services along with the desired price. Subsequently, the buyer pays the seller, and the supply chain management company charges a pre-agreed fee for their services or management.

The Sourcing Services by Tao Sheng

A strong sourcing process isn’t just about finding suppliers. It’s about avoiding risks, not spending too much, and protecting against fraud. It means carefully checking out potential partners to make sure they fit well with your company’s goals.

The Importance of Sourcing

Hiring a sourcing agent for your company has several benefits:

  1. Maximize ValueProcurement agents have the potential to deliver higher value and lower supply chain costs. The true cost of procurement and supply chain only becomes apparent when it reaches the warehouse. For clients with small-scale orders or facing dominant suppliers, procurement agents may not always lower the purchasing costs of goods. However, they can assist suppliers in reducing overall supply chain costs.For instance, consider transportation costs. While ocean freight typically ranges from $2000 to $3000, it skyrocketed from $20,000 to $30,000 last year. When freight costs exceed the value of the products, clients may lean towards products with higher intrinsic value. Procurement agents, however, can negotiate contracts with a single freight company for all containers and orders, reducing the cost to $25,000 per container. This $3000 reduction from market prices significantly decreases container value, ensuring transportation costs remain well below market rates.
  2. Reducing the cost: The primary importance of procurement agents lies in assisting overseas clients to reduce transaction costs. For instance, products that clients originally needed to acquire at £16 were negotiated down by suppliers to either £13 or £11. The money saved by procurement agents for their clients represents the value they bring, and the role of a purchasing agent is to obtain products as close to £11 as possible. Sourcing agents like Supplier Linkup are negotiation experts with extensive networks. They know how to secure discounts while maintaining quality, making negotiations fast and effective. Besides, working with unfamiliar suppliers can be risky, but sourcing agents ensure suppliers have the necessary certificates and licenses. They also know how to meet your company’s requirements to avoid scams.
  3. Navigating Industry Dynamics:When you hire a sourcing agent like Supplier Linkup, you gain access to their expertise and networks to navigate the industry. They have advantages in local markets, local policies, cultural understanding, and language communication, enabling them to connect with cooperative suppliers throughout the entire industry. For example, one client already had a cooperative supplier, but recently, due to a 25% price increase in products, if the client were to search extensively online, he wouldn’t find suitable alternatives. Based on our understanding of the client’s products, we discovered that the price increase from suppliers was due to rising raw material costs, with a 15% industry-wide price hike. Through negotiations with both the existing and alternative suppliers, we ensured that, despite the client’s procurement volume, the price increase remained within the minimum range. Their experience ensures you find the right suppliers for your needs.

Sourcing is crucial for business success and requires attention to detail. Subpar practices can lead to inferior products and damage your brand’s reputation. Effective sourcing is essential for profitability and competitiveness in today’s market.
By mastering strategic sourcing practices, you can optimize operations and mitigate supply chain risks. In a competitive landscape, effective sourcing isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity for survival.

Sourcing Services

A quality sourcing agent offers a wide range of services beyond simply finding products. In fact, a good sourcing agent often provides the following services:

  •  Market research
  • Supplier selection
  • Price negotiation
  • Contract management
  • Designing product packaging
  • Quality control
  • Product compliance
  • Follow-up on productions
  • Shipment inspection
  • Quality assurance
  • Customs clearance
  • After-sale services
  • Sustainable supply

These comprehensive services ensure that your sourcing agent not only finds the right products but also manages the entire sourcing process effectively, from negotiation to shipment inspection and customs clearance.

Sourcing Goods vs Services: Differences

Procurement agents involve both material procurement and service procurement. Procurement involves two aspects.

First is service procurement, such as initial supplier screening, selection of suppliers complying with ISO quality system and EU standards, supplier verification, and factory inspection arrangements. These services are presented in the form of reports and are cost-effective.

Second is the business communication for orders, which is the link for foreign trade agents. It includes price comparison, negotiation, providing samples, placing orders, delivery management, quality inspection, transportation arrangements, and after-sales service. Long-term cooperation ensures sustainable supply of logistics.

Pragmatic Tips for Choosing the Best Sourcing Services

How to ge the best sourcing services (1)

Verification of the Sourcing Agent

You will need to verify the sourcing agent just as you would verify a factory. First and foremost, you should look for an official business license and the location of the sourcing agent. You can check the credentials of the company through China’s national credit system.

You will need the location for a comparison. You may find a Chinese sourcing agent located in your country, or you may encounter a wholly owned foreign company or a joint venture with an office in China. Doing business with a foreign company is often easier than with a native Chinese one, but the foreign company should have native Chinese workers to navigate the culture and language when dealing with Chinese factories. Sourcing agents like Supplier Linkup are composed of an international team that understands various languages, cultures, and negotiation techniques. We are located in central China and operate both locally and across Europe.

Experience and References

Experience encompasses both the operation of a sourcing agent and familiarity with the industry of your products. A sourcing agent with extensive experience studying and working in China will possess a vast network of reliable contacts crucial to your business. They can facilitate quality networking through industry associations and local authorities. Additionally, the experience of a product sourcing agent is paramount. Considering Google Business is inaccessible in China, it’s imperative to request a substantial number of testimonials and referrals.

Mindset and Ethics

A sourcing agent should be transparent when selecting the right suppliers for you. While it’s common practice for suppliers to maintain relationships with various factories, they should prioritize offering you the best options, considering social responsibility, ethical sourcing, and long-term feasibility. Transparency is crucial throughout the supplier selection process, ensuring you understand the criteria used and the reasoning behind each recommendation. Additionally, the sourcing agent should provide detailed information about the suppliers’ capabilities, production processes, compliance with industry standards and regulations, and proven practices for handling quality issues. This transparency and objectivity foster trust and enable you to make informed decisions that align with your values and business objectives.


No, they are different terms that refer to the same concept. A sourcing agent may also be referred to as a procurement agent or a buying agent.

While it is important to verify a sourcing service agent and cooperate with an agent with rich expertise, language skills, and ethical transparency for your procurement, it is also crucial to establish a budget and provide necessary documentation to ensure everyone is on the same page and understands the structure of the cooperation.

Strategic sourcing should demonstrate the research ability, negotiation skills, and networking management of the sourcing agent to help you win the procurement game. It can propel your business to new heights of success in the dynamic marketplace.


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