Panjiva finds, evaluates international suppliers based on shipping data
In some of your searches for component suppliers you may have tried one of the international manufacturers databases like Alibaba. I’ve used Alibaba to search for LEDs several times and been impressed/overwhelmed by the number of suppliers it returns. For example, after receiving the TESS LED light bulb I checked alibaba for “LED lights” which returned 3,770 results — a surfeit of riches which gave me no insight into the quality of the companies offering the lights. It’s a daunting task for a database of products/manufacturers – how should it attempt to offer any guidance to prospective customers of the manufacturers? Alibaba attempts to narrow down search results by allowing you to filter your searches on sub-categories, such as light color or voltage, but some manufacturers game this system by stuffing keywords into their webpages, just like webpages in general try to game Google’s PageRank system.
Try adding Panjiva to your arsenal of search tools: Panjiva is a free database of shipping information. Just as Google’s search results are influenced by how many quality websites link to a webpage, Panjiva culls from databases to extract information about what items manufacturers are shipping to customers, the rate at which customers are being gained or lost, and the industries the buyers are in.. Like Google, Panjiva comes up with its own ranking number and displays if its trending up or down.
Here’s Panjiva’s listing of 2,644 suppliers of LED lights: You can see at a glance which vendors are growing or declining and how much of their business includes the keyword in their shipping bills, indicating the importance of the product for their company. You can use Panjiva in parallel with a site like Alibaba to run a quick health check on potential suppliers.
And did I mention it’s free?
[Via Tom Pinkney.]