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FreePint BlogPanjiva mini review: Part 2

Thursday, 15th March 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Helen Clegg


Abstract:

In Part 1 of this review, we looked at the basics for Panjiva, a research tool for the procurement community. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into functionality.


Item:

In Part 1 of this review, we looked at the basics for Panjiva, a research tool for the procurement community. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into functionality.

Supplier and customer (buyer) search

After logging in, users are presented with the “myPanjiva” dashboard. There are navigational tabs across the top for search, trends, alerts, account and help. The ubiquitous single search box is prominent with the default set to supplier search. Other elements on the dashboard comprise messages, favourites, an activity feed, trends and a “make a note” section. If you’re not a fan of the Google-style simple search box, there is an advanced search function available. Within simple search, Boolean logic is supported.

Click to view

Figure 1: My Panjiva homepage

I found I got more accurate results by using the advanced search functionality – but not to its full extent! For example, to find suppliers of wire harnesses in Asia, the best method is to go with the default “any country” option, because you can’t select multiple countries from the picklist. Then use the refinement panel or filter function to narrow down to Asia. In fact, the country filter shows that Asia has the highest number of wire harness suppliers, compared with the Americas and Europe – so this is a neat way of finding where the major supply bases are for any given product. Other filters include but aren’t limited to proximity, shipment information and credit rating.

For some people, using a textual description of a product to search for suppliers or customers may suffice – for example “greetings cards” – but it’s not a very sophisticated search method. I would like to have seen the use of the Harmonized Tariff Code (HTS) system here, especially since Panijva makes use of the HTS codes in its trends section.

Click to view

Figure 2: Advanced search function

Searchresults

Panjiva ranks search results by the number of times the supplier’s shipments matched your product description search term. For each company listed in your results, Panjiva provides a lot of useful information neatly displayed by clicking on tabs at the top of the company profile. For suppliers, this includes contact details, a list of customers, products shipped, shipment statistics in both weight and volume and the most recent credit reports that are available through Panjiva’s affiliate partners. For customers, the company profile shows similar information but related to orders received into the US. A neat function in the company profile is the use of the tag cloud, which visually represents the frequency of your product search term in the supplier’s shipments.

Click to view

Figure 3: Company profile showing tag cloud and shipment data in graphic format

Additional features

  • ExportingtoExcel: you can export your search results to Excel to manipulate the data further and you can save your search strategy to your “favourites” section.

  • Comparingcompanies: need to compare suppliers? Use the comparison report and export to Excel for easier manipulation.

Click to view

Figure 4: Comparing six suppliers

  • Groupingcompanies: you can use the nifty group function to group subsidiaries of the same parent company together. For example, if a parent company has 20 factories throughout Asia, each of these will have a separate company profile. By grouping these records together, it’s much easier to get a clearer overview of the capabilities of the whole company.

  • Alerts: the alerts function lets you set three different types of alerts and is easy to use. You can use it to find out when there are new suppliers of particular products, when your competitors source from a new supplier or when companies have been added to the Panjiva Watch List because they’re not performing well.

  • Contactingcompanies:Panjiva leverages a crowd-sourcing tool called Jigsaw to provide contact information on US companies, so if you want to find a named contact at a company, you can purchase this information through Jigsaw. While it’s a great idea, users need to be aware that Jigsaw information isn’t always accurate. To contact suppliers, you can message them through Panjiva and even add an attachment, which is a nice feature.

  • Communitycontent: I really like this idea. Panjiva customers can share information anonymously with each other by contributing to the community section. For example if you know that a company is pursuing illicit activity, you can red flag it and warn others.

VIPsView

Panjiva is a great tool for procurement departments of US companies and certainly has potential to become a useful tool for non-US companies, provided data coverage expands. All in all it’s a fairly intuitive database to use and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops over time.


 

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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 Helen.clegg@atkearney.com or via Twitter @HClegg.

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