While there is still a substantial number of roadblocks to international trade, there hasn’t been a better time to expand your company’s foothold beyond your national borders than now.
Influenced by different factors ranging from favorable treaties to relaxation of laws and regulations, and yes, even the increasing reach of the power of the Internet and its various platforms, more and more small and medium scale enterprises are joining the international trading fray.
But before you dive head on to the challenge of conquering new markets, you should temper your excitement and enthusiasm with due diligence. Otherwise, your company might fall prey to costly shipping mistakes that can prove to be financially disastrous.
Here are a few of these mistakes to be aware of and avoid, as outlined by one of the most trusted international freight forwarders.
Ignorance of prevailing custom regulations
Countries implement different customs rules and regulations. But apart from that, these rules and regulations can undergo changes that can influence the outcomes of your plan to operate on a foreign market.
Simply put, before committing your company’s resources toward shipping your products to another country, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations. Allocate ample time to research the laws and regulations and brush up on your knowledge of these. Even better, reach out to professionals who are well-versed and updated on these matters.
Although it is possible to rectify a few mistakes related to these, you may still end up wasting resources, especially time and money, when your business should be well on its way to making a profit.
Failure to account for shipping times
Whether you are buying materials or ingredients from a foreign supplier or shipping your products overseas, the inability to account for transit and cutoff times can lead to costly woes.
Although a lot of unexpected things can happen between point A and point B, it is a good idea to know the standard transit time for your shipment. This will help you get a fair idea of when your shipment will arrive.
Another area where timing is crucial is the validity period for freight quotes. This is particularly important if your company is working with a traditional freight forwarder.
Freight quotes have an expiration, and you need to book a shipment within the validity period. Failure to do so means that you will need to obtain a new quote from your forwarder. That can lead to days of delay as it takes days for your forwarder to give you another quote.
This issue is less likely to arise if you are getting an online shipping quote. Online forwarders can process requests for quotes considerably faster compared to traditional companies.
Neglecting packaging requirements
Without providing adequate packaging for your goods, these can take a beating during their journey from the starting point to their intended destination. Surely, you can handle a handful of broken products, but with a sizable number of damaged goods, this can translate into losses.
While preparing for shipment, you will need to take into account the number of times your goods will be handled, including inside the shipping container. As a rule of thumb, the more times products are handled, the stronger the protection these will need to minimize breakage.
While recycling is a good practice, as much as possible, use new boxes to pack your goods. This will ensure that the boxes are in optimal condition. Old or used boxes lose a good portion of their structural integrity every time these are used, which translates to weaker protection.
In sealing each box, make sure that all seams are covered. This will serve as a precautionary measure should your package become exposed to water and moisture, which can alter and ruin the structural integrity of boxes.
Finally, insert a label inside the box. This is a failsafe measure that will guarantee the package will be received even if the box gets broken.
Ignoring the fine print
Insurance for your products against theft or damage can provide you with a measure of peace of mind. But that can only happen if you take the time to read all the details, including the fine print. Otherwise, you can end up paying up too much for nothing.
Read every detail of your insurance policy, including the fine print. If you are unsure about anything, reach out to your insurance company or freight forwarder and ask for clarification.
Not brushing up on your knowledge on shipping
Freight forwarders and other specialists are more than willing to provide your company with the information that you need.
However, as you continue to move forward to seize opportunities for your business outside of your national borders, it becomes imperative to take the initiative and acquire basic knowledge of all the processes involved in international trade, especially shipping.
You do not have to attain mastery in various areas. But if you wish to stay on top of your game and make informed decisions, acquiring information and keeping tabs on industry news and changes can help you achieve your goals.
When opportunities abound
When opportunities for new growth present themselves, is your business ready to take on these? Set your sights on the prize, but do not skip the stepsnecessary for success.