Panjiva Incorporates Actual Trade Data
There are a variety of quite different types of supplier networks, supplier search tools, marketplaces, and SIM (Supplier Information Management) systems that sourcing professionals can use, each targeting different needs. Some are invoicing and payment networks. Others are targeted to letting buyers discover suppliers for specific goods they want. Within this latter category, Panjiva has a unique twist. It ingests and analyzes actual trade data (filings with U.S. Customs and Census data) to extrapolate precisely who is selling what to whom. They also take in data from a wider variety of third-party sources such as D&B, Experian and others for financial and credit data; Bureau Veritas, Social Accountability Inc. and others for certifications; EDDI for identifying diverters and counterfeiters; and various other partners for other data types. These are objective data, in that they have been collected by third parties with some degree of verification and validation.
Panjiva’s platform is primarily a short-listing tool for buyers. It can save a lot of work in the searching and vetting phase, as well as help buyers discover capable suppliers they might otherwise have missed. It is a flexible tool that can be used for other things as well, allowing slicing and dicing of the data in many different ways. Compared with tools that rely solely on self-reported information, 1 the use of objective trade data helps separate out those suppliers who are actually selling the desired items in meaningful volumes from those merely making claims. It can also help with other types of risk assessment including financial, social/reputational, and legal/regulatory. As such, Panjiva has been a source of trustworthy (gleaned from actual submitted trade documents) and granular data (specific commodities between specific buyers/sellers) which can show things such as the increases and decreases in a supplier’s trade volumes over time. The platform can tell you not just who is selling, but also who is buying — valuable information to sellers — as well as providing a way to understand what the market and competitors are buying.
Post-Discovery Web Searching
Panjiva found that after identifying potential suppliers, their customers would usually spend substantial additional time hunting all across the web for additional information about those suppliers. That information is typically scattered across hundreds or even thousands of different websites, making it very time-consuming to do that search. The information found on the web is often self-reported, which typically introduces a bias, but it includes some useful information, such as contact information and product images.
Last week Panjiva announced Global Search capabilities — search technology that mirrored what their clients were already doing — finding and pulling together contact data and product images from all over the web. When merged with the objective data already gathered from the 3rd party sources mentioned above, this additional data provides a more complete view. This is accomplished without the supplier or buyer having to do any additional work.
Expanding the Pool of Suppliers
Furthermore, Panjiva found they were able to mine the sources of this new data to add additional companies to their existing ones, thereby expanding their database from several hundred thousand suppliers last year to over six million suppliers today. They have contact information for four million of those companies and about thirty-five million product images. This was all pulled together from about half a million different websites around the world. It is important to distinguish the several hundred thousand companies for which Panjiva has the objective trade data from the rest of the six million for which it only has the self-reported contact data and/or product images.
As mentioned above, the user interface allows a lot of slicing and dicing, as well as Google-like search. You could search, for example, for “kitchen cabinets” and get a list of companies selling kitchen cabinets into the US. In this example (see Figure 1 below), this has been further filtered to select only those suppliers that have product images on Panjiva, resulting in 2,940 suppliers listed. This can be further filtered by country-of-origin, what other information is available about the supplier (such as contact info), number of shipments, when the supplier was last active, and other criteria — or by typing in additional search terms such as “birch kitchen cabinets.”
With about 100,000 registered users on their platform (only a fraction those are paying customers) and about 1M website visits/month, Panjiva is already being used by many within the sourcing community. With this new Global Search capability, they have added more value to their offering, which should result in further adoption.
1Such as a listing on Alibaba that self-reports “I’m great at manufacturing widgets, trust me” — Return to article text above
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