For purchasing professionals across all industries, pressure is being exerted to source more material, at high qualities, in shorter lead times with fewer resources. This has led to buyers searching in all corners of the world to find suppliers who can fulfill their requirements. Buyers now have a new tool which they can use to help them with their endeavors, called Panjiva.
Panjiva is a company which was born out of very search that buyers are now finding themselves having to make. The company was founded by Josh Green, Panjiva’s CEO, and James Psota. In 2005 Josh was working for a technology company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His employer was doing business with Chinese factories when he was tasked with finding a new factory to work with in China. Believing this was a relatively easy task Josh went off to do the research. However whilst working on the task, Josh was struck by two things; firstly there appeared to be a large number of companies competing for work in China who claimed they could perform the services required, but on the flip side there was a real lack of reliable information on these companies that could be used to make an informed decision.
Realizing that every day companies need to make key business decisions regarding global procurement, the concept behind Panjiva was born. The solution was to provide a service that would address the lack of reliable documentation for companies making critical business decisions. The premise was that Panjiva would be the go-to source for information on global suppliers. Buyers would then be able to use the accurate objective information provided by Panjiva to assist in decision making.
Since the company’s launch in 2006, Panjiva has focused on the Apparel industry. This was to test Panjiva’s methodology and so far has been a success. Currently there are over 70,000 apparel suppliers with a presence on the Panjiva site. Panjiva is not a traditional supplier directory as vendors do not pay to be included on the site. Suppliers are entered as a result of the information loaded. The data is based on shipping information that is supplied for vendors shipping items to the USA. With the success of the site in proving the Panjiva methodology, the first quarter of 2009 will see a roll out to incorporate all industries. This expansion will result in over a million global suppliers that ship products to the US accessible from the Panjiva site.
Key to the company’s success is that each supplier is given a Panjiva rating. This is based on the information obtained and a certain weighting is given to each criteria to develop the overall rating. By providing a weighted Panjiva rating customers do not have to be making a series of decisions based on the data. By simplifying the data into a single rating, customers can compare suppliers based on the rating and then further investigate the data to refine their search. Buyers do not always have time to analysis data the quantity of data offered by Panjiva and the rating is simple answer for those customers who require an immediate solution that they can depend upon. Key inputs into the rating will be customers own experiences with suppliers. As more customers rate suppliers, new customers will benefit from the experiences of buyers already using the service. One key element that Panjiva believes that buyers focus on is the rating of customer loyalty. Based on supplier’s shipment data, loyalty can easily be derived. Even if customers do not offer immediate feedback on their suppliers, customer loyalty can be seen in their behavior. This is key for buyers who want to establish long term relationships with vendors.
Not only do suppliers not pay for their Panjiva presence, but they cannot influence their rating. When suppliers find that they their information is on the site, often they are keen to supply additional information, e.g. certifications, to help customers to make a more informed decision. If suppliers find they have a low rating they will usually want to know how they can improve their rating. But as the data is from official sources, suppliers cannot unduly influence their ratings.
The key to the Panjiva product is the shipping data that is extremely current and accurate, with only a 3 to 4 day delay in the shipment of product until the data is received. As Panjiva increases their supplier database from 70,000 to a million or more, the amount of data driving the Panjiva site will increase accordingly. To ensure that accurate and timely information is provided, they have built a world class technology team and invested heavily in technology to process the data.
One issue that faces Panjiva, in addition to the large amounts of data, is the clean up that is required to ensure the data is usable. Data from various sources is often incomplete and a hurdle is to make the data usable within the timelines that they currently operate within. However the company is focused on developing processes and by continuing investment in technology to deal with these challenges.
Panjiva offers buyers seeking new or additional suppliers a pay per search or subscription option depending on requirements. Customers can purchase a complete supplier profile after reviewing the rating and the supplier’s scorecard which includes the customer loyalty rating, certifications and business basics. In addition to the Panjiva product, they also offer buyers a service to minimize risk with their existing suppliers. The information that is used to help buyers find new suppliers can be used by companies who are already doing business with overseas suppliers and want to know what their risks are.
As the US economy continues to be depressed and companies are trying to maximize every purchasing dollar, Panjiva can help many US companies who are currently wary of foreign based suppliers, despite their obvious advantages. The Panjiva product offers a degree of reassurance for buyers looking to make that first foray into using foreign suppliers or increasing the number of suppliers that they currently use.