Product Sourcing 101: What is Product Sourcing and How to Get Started

New to the world of international product sourcing and need to know more about how you can get the products you need for your businesses?

Successful businesses in modern commerce understand the importance of product sourcing – the process of finding and securing suppliers for the goods they need. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur or an established company looking to expand your product line, mastering the art of product sourcing is essential to maintaining a competitive edge.

But what exactly is product sourcing, and how can you get started on this exciting journey? In this guide, we will explore the fundamentals of product sourcing and provide you with practical steps to embark on your sourcing journey with confidence.

What is product sourcing?

Product sourcing refers to the process of finding, ordering and receiving the products you need for your business. These products might be the parts you need to be able to make products. Or, it might mean the packaging and materials you need for preparing your products for sale.

Who can source products?

The products and materials you need can be obtained in a number of ways.

This includes:
  • Wholesalers
  • Manufacturers
  • Artisans and individuals
  • Importers and distributors
The products and materials may be available locally, nationally or from international markets. You may require multiple and different products to be able to produce and prepare your product for sale.

Where can products be sourced from?

Products can be sourced from virtually anywhere that manufacturers goods, but China is one more the most popular locations.

Here at the Sourcing Co, for example, our team has an extensive network of almost 1500 suppliers. We are based in Guangzhou, the manufacturing heart of China, with sales offices in Brisbane, Australia, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We have additional service providers in the Philippines, Indonesia and India.

Because of this extensive reach, we can use our global supply chain and shipping infrastructure to streamline significant product sourcing at an unrivalled speed.

How to find a product supplier

Finding the right supplier requires research and effort. You might want to begin by asking other businesses where they source their products from.

Undertaking a basic Google search for research might leave you overwhelmed with the options – many of which might be poor options. So keep an eye out for trade shows and expos, as both of these events can provide excellent opportunities to meet people who can help you with sourcing products.

Sourcing products directly from a factory

If you have the experience, knowledge, language and time, then working directly with a factory means you will probably save money. Working directly with a factory gives you the opportunity to completely control arrangements and output without having a middleman involved.

However, managing a relationship with a company overseas requires an investment of staff time - we estimate anything upwards of 3-5 hours a day, per supplier! [Please confirm you agree with this]

With the complexities in laws and language, factory direct sourcing is simply not an option for most business owners.

Working with a trading company

A trading company is a business that operates as an intermediary between buyers and manufacturers.

Unlike manufacturers or producers, trading companies do not engage in the actual production of goods. Instead, they buy products from the manufacturer and then re-export them.

Working with a sourcing company

A sourcing company, by contrast, helps you find and obtain the products you need, by researching your options through international markets and presenting you with the best options for your business.

Sourcing companies can ensure you have access to products at the price and quality you need and with any unique attributes that you require. Unlike a trading company, sourcing companies do not try and sell you products – instead, they connect with you with reputable (and ethical) suppliers in the market so you can get the best deal possible.

What type of products can a sourcing company find?

Whatever type of product you are after, and no matter how obscure it might seem, there will be a sourcing company out there that can help you.

At the Sourcing Co, our networks that can help us find the products used in every industry. We work with manufacturers to create ready to sell products, as well as base products that can be personalised with your brand messages. We can also source the parts and packaging that you need to prepare your products for sale.

Our range includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Building, display and neon signage
  • Packaging and promotional products
  • Electronics, automatic parts and tools
  • Gym, fitness and recreational products
  • Textiles and garments
  • Hospitality and homewares
  • Appliances and machinery

What kind of information will sourcing companies provide you about suppliers?

The role of the sourcing company is to act on your behalf with manufacturers of the products you require. The sourcing company should be able to give you information about the manufacturer, and may even attend the factory or manufacturing site to meet with owners.

The sourcing company should provide you with information about the following sourcing considerations:
  • Unit cost of products
  • Discounts available for bulk and large orders
  • Minimum order numbers
  • Timeframes for production and distribution
  • Lead time for new products

What to ask a sourcing company?

Before you commit to using a sourcing company to help you obtain products or materials, it pays to do your research and clarify the terms and arrangements of your relationship.

We suggest asking any potential sourcing company the following questions:
  • Where are you located?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many customers do you supply product to?
  • What similar customers have you worked with in the past?
  • How many suppliers do you have access to?
  • Do you have a niche or speciality product type?
  • How do you report back and how frequently do you report back to your customers?

Meet the Sourcing Co – the one-stop sourcing agent in the Asia-Pacific

Founded in 2014, the Sourcing Co is a leader within global supply chains. We now have nearly 1500 suppliers across the Asia Pacific network. We have worked hard with these suppliers to create long-term partnerships that benefit our customers.

With offices across multiple countries, we provide product sourcing and much more. Because of our sheer size and spread, we can take care of every part of your product sourcing. We are your one-stop shop – as researcher, retailer, supplier and distributor. We can source and supply you with the product you need at unrivalled speed.

Get in touch with our expert team today to discuss finding the right supplier for your products.