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FreePint BlogPanjiva mini review: Part 1

Tuesday, 13th March 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Helen Clegg


Panjiva sounds so much more interesting than “GlobalReferenceCheck”, the original name for this product. So just what does Panjiva offer? It’s a research tool that aims to connect suppliers with buyers and make finding and qualifying potential suppliers a less painful process.



Panjiva sounds so much more interesting than “GlobalReferenceCheck”, the original name for this product. So just what does Panjiva offer? It’s a research tool that aims to connect suppliers with buyers and make finding and qualifying potential suppliers a less painful process.

The basics

Panjiva contains information on 1.5 million companies from around the world. The main source of data content is publicly available US trade information in the form of shipment data from Customs and Border Protection from 2007 to date. Other sources of information available to supplement this include data from 11 affiliate companies ranging from credit agencies and compliance organisations, to trade associations and non-profit organisations who are trying to improve social responsibility standards within the supply chain.

The users

Buyers: procurement professionals who need to widen their company’s supply base for a product, or replace a particular supplier, can use Panjiva to identify potential suppliers. They can also use the tool to keep track of their suppliers and set up alerts on them, using the handy alert function. Through its 11 partner companies, buyers can conduct background checks on the suppliers they have identified, for example to see whether they manufacture clothing in a sustainable manner, or whether their products are Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody (FSC CoC) certified. Buyers need to remember that the source of data is US Customs data, so suppliers identified through a search are those that export to the US. The likelihood is that suppliers exporting to the US will most probably export to the rest of the world, but this may not always hold true.

Suppliers: suppliers can use Panjiva to identify potential customers (buyers) for their products. Again, the caveat is for suppliers to be aware of the limitations of the search results, due to the source of the data. Searches may return the names of potential customers around the world, but they may be skewed in favour of the US because the data has been collected from US Customs data. For example, a search for customers of textiles based in New York returned 2,046 hits, compared with a search for customers of textiles in London that returned just 13 hits.

Buyers and suppliers need to be aware of trends relating to manufactured products, commodities and raw materials as this type of knowledge can impact on sourcing strategies. This is addressed by a new feature of Panjiva, its trends section, added last year. This section provides high level insight in visual format on waterborne trends, port trends, country trends and product import/export trends to/from the US, based on raw customs data. For example, it’s very straightforward to get a picture of copper import trends to the US by clicking on the relevant Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code. You’ll see the top countries supplying the States with this sought-after metal (Canada is in first place with Chile a close second) and the search also shows the change in market share of the supplying countries – always useful to know. The methodology used to calculate the market share is available simply by clicking a link. A nice feature is the “export as image” function, which lets you easily export the accompanying graphs into other documents, such as PowerPoint presentations.

The country trends section is the place to go if you want an overview of the trade between the US and a specific country. Here you’ll find data on the top ports, top suppliers, the value of goods traded between the two countries and World Bank Economic Indicators for the US trading partner country. For example, did you know that the average number of days it takes for a company to build a warehouse in Poland is 301 days?

The bottom line

Panjiva is an interesting database and has carved out a niche for itself in the busy landscape of commercial research tools. On the plus side, it’s one of a few tools specifically targeting the research needs of the procurement community; on the minus side, the emphasis is still on the US with the textiles and apparel sectors having the strongest representation. In the mini review Part 2, I’ll be doing a deep dive on the functionality of Panjiva, so stay tuned!

View Part 2 »


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Helen Clegg is Knowledge Team Director in A.T. Kearney's Procurement & Analytic Solutions unit, where she develops knowledge-sharing solutions for procurement content and is also an active contributor to the global information and knowledge management community. Helen's background is in research and knowledge - she has worked for a number of global management consultancies and Fortune 500 companies in their research and knowledge functions. A regular guest speaker at the London School of Business & Finance to undergraduate classes as well as at the Grenoble Graduate School of Management in France, she shares her insight and experience in KM tools and techniques with MBA students. Contact Helen at or via Twitter @HClegg.

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