Global sourcing made easy for small business

  • 17 April 2007

The International Chamber of Commerce today has published ICC Legal Handbook on Global Sourcing Contracts, the first comprehensive handbook to help small- and medium-sized companies navigate this process internationally.

The book responds to an unfilled need: as domestic competition increases, small businesses are searching for ways to raise efficiency through global sourcing. The process can be daunting for them.

“This handbook helps small companies build a better business plan for global sourcing. It covers all the important steps, from structuring requests for information, moving on to requests for proposals, to drafting contracts, evaluating suppliers and identifying possible loopholes,” said Michael Hancock, Co-Chair of ICC’s Task Force on Global Sourcing and a consultant at the law firm Salans.

Sourcing involves the transfer of a non-core business function or process to a specialized provider, and is an important way for an enterprise to concentrate on its core activities and reduce costs. But companies must be able to fairly evaluate the balance of risks, costs and performance of a potential new supplier before making a sourcing decision.

Taking that difficult first step − to request information on sourcing and inform employees of this initiative − can be made simpler by involving an outside agent, namely the local chamber of commerce. The local chamber can also supply lists of professionals in a given country, such as accountants, lawyers, surveyors and government licensing bureaus to help conclude a sourcing agreement.

Currently, few resources exist to help small businesses maneuver the comprehensive range of sourcing issues and opportunities. Responding to this need in the marketplace, ICC tapped its network of international business experts to produce the global sourcing handbook, which spells out the key issues in an easy-to-understand style for a non-legal business readership.

Through the years, ICC has built a reputation for its growing list of publications that provide business with practical tools not available elsewhere. The Global Sourcing task force is part of ICC’s Commission on Commercial Law and Practice which also produces the bestselling series of International Model Commercial Contracts.