STORES Magazine - May 2011 - (Page 32)

WORTH WATCHING / SOURCING Who, What and Where New tool provides geographic supplier picture BY KAREN KROLL S earch for “sweater suppliers in India,” and Google returns 3.7 million possible results in less than a second. Of course, determining which of these companies might be reliable, cost-effective vendors takes much longer. That’s the challenge that Panjiva, a provider of information on global manufacturers, aims to address. Its flagship product, Panjiva Search, uses both proprietary and public data, such as that contained within the U.S. International Trade Commission’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), to provide clients with information they can use to make intelligent sourcing decisions. For instance, a Panjiva report can show the range of products and recent levels of the geographic question is really important,” says Panjiva co-founder and CEO Josh Green. “They ask, ‘How do I know if I should be in Bangladesh or Vietnam?’” Making sourcing easier Green founded Panjiva four years ago, prompted by his search for a manufacturer that would be a dependable supplier for his former employer, an electronics firm. “I found tons of suppliers around the world claiming to do what I needed, but very little reliable information,” he says. Green partnered with James Psota, now the company’s chief tech- wasn’t in a user-friendly format. It created algorithms to clean, organize and analyze shipping records and other data. Today, Panjiva’s database covers 750,000 companies in 190 countries. Green and Psota have subsequently added information from other databases. For instance, users can initiate a search to identify those factories that meet SA-8000, a voluntary standard covering labor practices, or those that have been found to engage in illicit global trade. All Panjiva applications are webbased, so users can access them from any computer with Internet access. In addition, almost no implementation is required. “You can be up and running the minute you put your credit card [information] in,” Green says. Qualifying vendors Among the company’s clients – which include several in the Fortune 500 – is Crafts Americana, the parent company behind three direct marketers: The Artist’s Club, Connecting Threads and Knit Picks. Several years ago, president Bob Petkun wanted to find more suppliers around the globe in order to remain competitive. At times, he would venture overseas to evaluate suppliers before he knew much about them. “It’s a hassle” to visit suppliers that weren’t what he needed, he says. Petkun began using Panjiva to qualify potential vendors. While the application doesn’t eliminate all trips, he is able to winnow the list of companies before taking off. “It speeds up the whole process,” he says. In addition, it has become easier to find suppliers that can offer competitive prices. “Sourcing is an important part of our competitive strategy. Panjiva is a tool that makes us more efficient at it,” Petkun says. StORES shipping volume of different manufacturers. Earlier this year, the company debuted Trendspotting, an application that shows users the relative volume of specific products coming from different countries. Want to know which countries are the top exporters of women’s cotton sweaters or have gained the most market share over the past year? Trendspotting can provide that information. “Over the last year, we’ve been hearing clients, especially retailers, say that 32 STORES / MAY 2011 nology officer, to develop a solution that would “make it as easy as possible for sourcing teams to figure out what suppliers to do business with.” The team began working with U.S. Customs data, which is publicly available, but Karen M. Kroll is a business writer based in Minnetonka, Minn. WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2011

STORES Magazine - May 2011
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Supply Chain
Getting Closer to Customers
Workforce Management
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Rewards
Human Resources
2011 Software Sourcebook Guide
Website Security
Divisional Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2011