Global procurement consultants are effectively experienced middlemen who facilitate relationships between buyers and suppliers across the globe. They act for the buyer in sourcing a wide range of goods and services from raw materials to finished products, a large portion of which is sourced from low cost countries and emerging markets in Asia. These consultants are normally acting as agents or brokers and work from an extensive database of reliable international suppliers with excellent performance records. There are many unreliable and fly-by-night suppliers out there and a third-party specialist can assist with avoiding the pitfalls.
Their service offerings
Some of the best known consultants work on major relief and emergency projects in the development sector of the economy as well as in normal commercial trade. International aid organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank and The Red Cross use their services to source and distribute commodities and services at the best price under wildly varying conditions with tight deadlines. Consultants or agents locate the most economical sources at the most competitive prices, internationally or locally, saving anything up to 50% or even more on the total acquisition price.
Their work process
Most global procurement consultants specialize by industry sector and have areas of expertise such as mining, health, textiles, agriculture, water supply and education. They achieve their success mostly by:
Developing precise specifications and pre-qualifying suppliers
Managing bids and contracts to ensure fairness and to limit risk
Developing systems and processes that ensure accountability, transparency and value for money
Services may include sourcing specified products at the best price through to managing the whole end-to-end process as a turnkey project. Some consultancies project manage the supply chain from inspection of factories, quality assurance of the product, logistics, shipping, and management of all paperwork and negotiation of payment terms. They make their profit through leveraging group spend and buying in bulk.
Using a procurement consultant
Many business owners and NGOs don’t even know where to begin with global sourcing because it is complicated and time consuming. Buying the know-how can save the buyer costs and management time, and time is money. A consultants track record is a good indicator of the service you can expect. If they have been sourcing and trading globally for known clients for more than three years and can provide references from satisfied customers, you can be reasonably confident that they can perform the services you need but take the references.
As the world of international trade opens up the global procurement consultants will provide additional services that will provide buyers with cost savings and efficiencies and therefore a competitive edge for their business.