Our Love/Hate Relationship with Ali Baba and His 40 Thieves


If your job requires that you find sources for electronic components, formed metal products, industrial hardware, mechanical sub assemblies and just about anything else that can be made in a factory, there’s a pack of vendors searching for you online.

Try doing a search for something conventional like a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) on that well known Asian website. You’ll get ten thousand hits – maybe more. Guess what? 9,877 of those companies aren’t real manufacturers. They may have beautiful websites that show their smiling employees, copies of their quality assurance credentials, factory floor plans and images of their products… All faked… The sourcing version of a modern day Potemkin village.

At best, those websites are maintained by agents, brokers or trading companies. They likely have no relevant experience in your domain, but they’re happy to take your order, place it on a factory that they’ve never visited and mark-up the selling price 100%. Most of these guys add no value, make the sourcing process as murky as possible and are driven to drive prices up and quality down.

At it’s worst, these charlatans are out-and-out thieves. They’ll provide a quotation and sometimes even a sample, take your deposit and then scurry into the Internet underbrush never to be heard from again.

Why do we love these online portals? Because (unfortunately) after the inevitable train wreck new clients come limping to us for real procurement help. Why do we hate them? They give the entire industry a black eye.

At EastBridge, we’re manufacturing and sourcing professionals. We thoroughly screen every supplier that we refer to our clients and then are on duty to make sure that the products arrive in spec and on time. Our time and materials/vendor neutral business model is designed to drive quality up and prices down.

If that doesn’t make sense to you and you’d like to deal with the 40 Thieves, we have a service to help protect you and your company. Click here to see how we can help.


Jack Daniels

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