It used to be that only the biggest of businesses bothered to export. The costs, uncertainty, distances, and difficulty finding customers made exports and international trade the exclusive realm of big companies with deep pockets. Modern technology, thin margins, and a necessity to grow, are now driving smaller companies to export. Through exporting they can grow their margins, expand their business, and gain new customers. Most importantly they can gain these new customers, build new relationships, and manage their international business from wherever they are using the Internet.
What has not changed is the issue of physically moving the goods. While finding customers and exploring market opportunities is easier than ever, the actual act of exporting remains a challenge. These challenges are not, however, insurmountable, and there are some industry best practices that can be employed by new and old exporters alike to get their goods to their destination.
Laser Mark The Goods
One of the most important things an exporter can do is to make sure they are able to track their goods. The only really good way to do this is to laser mark the goods with serial and product numbers. This way the exporter, customs broker, and buyer can be sure all of the merchandise have arrived, and that none has been separated in the shipping process. There also other ways to mark goods for export; these include installation of radio frequency identification or RFIDS in products and pallets. The drawback to this technology is the expense. For most companies laser marking remains the best way to track goods.
Work with A Reputable Customs Broker
An incompetent customs broker will break your business. The customs brokers job is to make sure all of your paperwork is in order and you are actually ready to export products to a given market. When choosing a customs broker you should be sure to ask for references from other companies the size of your own and follow up with them to find out how their experience with the broker was. It is also important that the broker understand your sector, as the export and import regulations vary by product. Some like agricultural products are much more highly regulated than others.
Full Service Freight Forwarder
A full service freight forwarder will be able to help you secure the transportation of your goods to their final destination. Full service operations should be able to provide tracking services so that you will know where your merchandise is at every stage of the journey.