What is Sourcing and how to find suppliers?

Anne-Sophie Le Bloas

CEO of Ravacan

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Learn what sourcing is

What is Sourcing?

Sourcing is one of the critical steps of the Purchasing Process. It consists of finding new supply sources for a product or a material.

These suppliers must fulfill the demand according to the specifications, with a good value for money, and in the required amount.

We can determine several steps to the sourcing process:

  • Gather specifications

  • Define the strategy

  • Collect information from suppliers

  • Select and negotiate

  • Decide

  • Manage the supply

What are the best ways to find suppliers?

Several tools are available.

First, you need to know what you are after. Is it a standard product (Off-The-Shelf - OTS) or is custom-made (Made-To-Specifications - MTS)?

If it is made-to-specification, you should start with an understanding of how it could be made, what is the technology to manufacture such a product?

Here are some tools to help you:

Google / Wikipedia

You can start with googling and read what you can find on Wikipedia. That way, you can get a general understanding of the technology and the key players.

Industry reviews

Find specialized reviews and articles.

General or specialized databases

Some websites offer a free or payable online search of businesses through their database. You could look at Dun & Bradstreet, for example.

Industry fairs

Attending industry fairs or scan the list of exhibitors has been very valuable to me. For instance, once I was attending the K-Fair in Dusseldorf, one of the biggest fairs about plastic injection in the world. While walking in the alleys, something hanging on the wall of a stand caught my attention. It was a replica of one of the door handles my company was manufacturing. How come? It was not a replica, but the same door handle that our competitor was producing for the Indian market. The exhibitor was a raw material company that was supplying the plastic for the Indian market. This discovery was a great opportunity to discover an excellent supplier and add them add to our portfolio!

Ask your network

Don't hesitate to ask your peers whether they work in the same industry or not; if they buy similar products, you can find opportunities. Ask your colleagues, ask former colleagues to know what companies pitched their business in the past, and why we did not work with them. It's essential to understand if your company has a history with some suppliers.

Ask your suppliers

Try to ask your current suppliers. What is important here is that you gain a good knowledge of the players on the market. The suppliers you select are at the core of your strategy. You can justify your decisions in front of management and create a long-term relationship with them. While your suppliers disclose who their main competitors are, it allows them to explain why they are better or what is their growth business strategy. That way, you also gain confidence that you are working with a stable company with a clear plan. You want to work with the best. Try to engage in a transparent, constructive business relationships.

Ravacan Sourcing Module

Ravacan offers a sourcing module that allows you to discover companies depending on the type of products they manufacture, the industry they specialize in, their location. Choose a few companies in our database of 6,000 and receive a full audit.

Contact us for more information: hello@ravacan.com

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