Earlier in the month, I posted an initial blog entry on Panjiva, a new global sourcing tool that aggregates shipping manifest information to provide insight into global suppliers. As Josh Green, Panjiva's CEO, pointed out to me when we spoke, their core competence is one of data aggregation and analysis. All the data they're pulling already exists in some format around the world. It's just a question of pulling it together in a way that makes it easy to understand.
So how does it work in theory? Consider a search I did looking for a "wool suit" supplier. After looking at the many options that Panjiva presented in a completely non Alibaba-esque way, I clicked on Gracemate, Ltd. I liked Gracemate because of their 234 shipments, 7.7% contained wool suits (a high percentage of Asian-based suit makers). I also liked their "Excellent" rating by Panjiva. But where it gets interesting is double-clicking on the insights that the Panjiva tool provides such as product expertise. For example, I learned in the case of products, that Gracemate has shipped 205 containers of suits since 2005. They've also shipped 14 containers of outerware, 8 of pants or shorts and 6 of skirts. Panjiva also provided me with materials expertise, showing that of the containers, 149 contained primarily synthetics, 19 wool,15 cotton and 8 linen (nothing like a linen suit, I say).
But wait, there's more. I was also able to determine that they're more experienced making suits for the fairer sex. Of all of their shipments, 233 contained products for women and 59 contained products for men. Still, Gracemate is not the crème de la crème in terms of product. 66.7% of their products are going to "mass-market" retailers (e.g., The Gap) and the rest are going to niche. At least 0% are going to discounters, but 0% are going to "premium" buyers such as Neiman Marcus.
Fascinating, you say, but how well are they doing right now? Container volume has declined in recent months from a recent high in June. In fact, in August and September, they shipped 0 containers to the US. Not a good sign. Still Panjiva ranks them "Excellent" in customer loyalty because the average lifespan of a customer is 568 days. And they also have "exceptional" levels of experience when it comes to the products I'm interested in.
So how useful is this information and what else can Panjiva provide? Stay tuned for my next and final post in this mini-series.
- Jason Busch