How B2B sourcing startup BuyHive helped India import critical medical supplies during Covid second wave
November 9, 2021
In March this year, India grappled with an unprecedented state of emergency related to critical medical supplies just as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic started peaking. Hospitals, clinics and pharmacies urgently needed huge volumes of masks, gloves, and other PPE equipment, oximeters and oxygen concentrators and their usual suppliers were soon running out of equipment.
Minesh Pore of BuyHive writes how they helped India to source and import critical medical supplies during the second wave of Covid pandemic in the country.
The sudden explosion in Covid patients in late March and early April meant that even large and established B2B procurement specialists like Meddo, Zillingo and Moglix found it hard to meet the demand for PPE and other critical medical supplies from their usual suppliers. The scramble for supplies forced them to turn their attention towards large-scale manufacturers of PPE and other medical equipment based in China and Taiwan. However, ordering directly from China in the middle of a mega crisis was not easy, even for these reputed and well-established buyers from India.
To begin with, these China-based suppliers insisted on full payments in advance given that they had no prior trade relationships with these Indian buyers. The Indian firms in turn were equally hesitant to make large payments - going up to a million dollars - in advance. They were not only unsure about trusting a foreign manufacturer with their money, but also about the quality of products that they would receive after advance payments. Separately, there were multiple logistical barriers that had to be negotiated and transportation issues to be ironed out even as time was running out for hospitals, doctors and their patients in India.
At last, the stalemate was resolved with the help of BuyHive, a young B2B sourcing platform that I cofounded two years ago. Meddo, Moglix and other Indian buyers turned to BuyHive to not only find reliable and credible large-scale manufacturers, but also handle their transactions and shipments end-to-end. BuyHive’s team of sourcing experts quickly shortlisted trustworthy suppliers for different medical equipment and worked closely with them to ensure that the finished goods met or exceeded the global standards of quality. The Indian buyers in turn were guaranteed by BuyHive of high-quality goods reaching them within exceptionally tight deadlines. The startup also acted as an escrow and withheld the payments to suppliers until the goods were delivered and found satisfactory by the buyers.
I had co-founded BuyHive in 2019 as a tech-enabled B2B sourcing platform along with my friends and fellow sourcing professionals Brent Barnes and Michael Hung. All three co-founders have over two decades of global sourcing and supply chain experience. BuyHive connects buyers and suppliers using the world’s best sourcing experts and technology. The platform integrates the advantages of e-commerce with specialized, tailored sourcing services, through its vast network of professional sourcing experts spread throughout Asia. Also, unlike other B2B e-commerce platforms, BuyHive carefully vets and qualifies suppliers before they can list on its platform.
Organizations like Hemkunt Foundation, Moglix and others worked with us for procuring critical medical supplies during the second wave, because we took full accountability and responsibility for sourcing only highest quality products. BuyHive was also tapped by CII in Gujarat to quickly source oxygen concentrators at the peak of the second wave. Today, the BuyHive platform has over 60,000 registered users and has served customers in the US, UK, Europe, India, Greater China, and Southeast Asia. It also offers sourcing consultancy to global manufacturers and retailers.
Within India, BuyHive is looking to serve both institutional buyers or importers as well as manufacturers and exporters by connecting them with their global counterparts. There is a huge demand for various consumer and healthcare products in our country and India has to import these from EU, US, China or other countries. While international travel for sourcing remains a challenge during the ongoing pandemic, the value of reliable sourcing platforms like BuyHive becomes self-evident.
Going forward, we are building a network of freelance sourcing experts spread throughout the world for our ‘Expert-assisted Sourcing’ program. Slated for India launch in December, this program will match both Indian and international buyers with one of its sourcing experts depending on the buyer’s requirements, and the latter in turn will then shortlist suitable suppliers by tapping into their respective networks or attending a trade show. We have nearly 1,000 China-based and vetted freelancers already on board.
We are combining technology with the principles of the gig economy to create a first-of-its-kind global sourcing solution that is both transparent and efficient and is best suited for the needs of small or midsized buyers from around the world. The platform’s goal is to become the most trusted and reliable sourcing partner for all businesses in India and around the globe.
Minesh Pore is the co-founder and CEO of B2B sourcing startup BuyHive
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Indian Transport & Logistics News