Q&A: The source of disruption

This week we chat to Giovanni Pino and Ellie Vaisman, co-foundersSourci. Combining a full supply chain, procurement and consulting service, Sourci is disrupting the very traditional industry of sourcing and manufacturing. Gio and Ellie’s projects include acquiring more than $30 million of Personal Protective Equipment during COVID for the Australian and UK Governments, and securing more than $500,000 of high-grade metal for projects commissioned by VicRoads.

ISB: What was the inspiration behind you founding Sourci?

GP: Before Sourci, I worked in a business that supplied large scale signage and infrastructure to dealerships. After learning that I needed to source products from overseas I headed online where my experience was shaky, unsatisfactory and not at all transparent. I didn’t feel comfortable with transferring large sums of money to someone that I have not even met with or spoken to in person.

Our past experiences in overseas supply chain management inspired Ellie and I to create Sourci. It motivated us to help Australian businesses understand that it is possible to source and manufacture overseas while maintaining the same support and customer care that you get from working with someone locally. It is important to us that customers have a relationship with the factory they work with, and have full visibility over their freight and everything else involved in the sourcing process.

ISB: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting the enterprise off the ground?

GP: We didn’t have enough background in supply-chain management, other than as consumers. It took us a significant amount of time to figure out what the current industry systems were, and how we could reinvent them to benefit our clients further and steer them in the right direction.

This challenge, however, also proved to be an advantage, as we were not exposed to the operations a traditional sourcing company had, and were, therefore, able to think more innovatively about how we could disrupt the system to create more transparent and valuable processes for our clients.

ISB: How do you manage to keep the ethos of the business consistent when you have people on the ground in China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia as well as in Australia?

GP: No matter where the office is, we strive to maintain the same form of communication, the same values, the same rewards and the same goals. We have fitted our offices in China to match the exact environment that we have here in Australia, in an effort to make everyone feel that we are one large team. We find by having the shared goals and objectives, everyone feels included and valued, making it easy to communicate with our offices overseas.

ISB: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the business?

EV: Its onset presented us with a bit of uncertainty, however, as it intensified, we were fortunate to get the opportunity to supply critical PPE to government and health departments in Australia and around the world.

When nobody else had reliable “feet on the ground” overseas, we stepped up. COVID-19 also brought hundreds of new entrants into the eCommerce space, and we are strategically geared to support them. There is so much more that eCommerce businesses can do to make their supply chains more efficient and source higher-calibre products.

ISB: What is your vision for the venture in the next couple of years?

GP: A big part of our focus is to continue growing so that we can help more businesses experience greater transparency and reliability in their supply-chain management. To achieve this, we are looking to expand our offices to the U.S and other markets, as well as offer further support to our current teams in South East Asia.

Another goal is to launch the first iteration of our proprietary technology platform, which is what we are looking to use moving forward to help clients successfully source, manage their inventory and make payments – a start-to-finish solution.

ISB: Finally, what is the number one lesson you’ve learnt on this journey you’d share with others looking to start their own business with global reach aspirations?

GP: Do your homework! In the beginning, I thought we were the only business to look into more efficient sourcing processes, so we started from absolute scratch. However, if we’d done our homework, we would have been able to start off at the industry standard and innovate from there – saving months. By performing some initial analysis and research, you can save so much time and energy.

EV: Be bold and don’t be afraid to take risks. You will be amazed at what is possible and how quickly you can gain traction and grow if you just put yourself out there and spend every day working towards your dreams and your vision.