In the modern supply chain marketplace, it’s almost impossible not to work with another country or countries. And because every country has different business practices, laws and standards, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Here’s how:
Find An In-Country Representative
This is a great place to delegate. Find a supply chain management consultant with expertise in the countries that make up your overseas supply chain. They can help you vet international suppliers as well as navigate export regulations, taxes and logistics in that location. You may also want to employ a licensed customs broker, who can help you navigate laws and regulations, prepare documentation and facilitate communication between governments. Hiring these people will cost money up front but will save you money through reduced liabilities, taxes and shipping.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Don’t assume that utilities like electrical power or internet access are easily accessible in another country.
Have a Backup
When it comes to effective global supply chain and inventory management, you don’t want to rely on just one supplier. Have one back-up supplier in place to keep your chain running in the event of production or logistical issues. They can also give you some competitive leverage, helping you maintain the best cost base across your suppliers.
Be Ready to Adjust Your Buying Patterns and Schedules
You should know your anticipated annual buying scale and schedule. But you may have to readjust your expectations when you’re sourcing goods overseas. Shipping will take time, and that time may be affected by the laws and regulations of the supplier country, so you’ll need to incorporate that information into your forecasts.
The best way to build good relationships with your global suppliers is to familiarize yourself with their cultural backgrounds and know how to be sensitive to any differences that may arise. Train your team in how to handle interpersonal communication with foreign suppliers, too. Be sure to pay them on time, be reasonable about the occasional mistake and show that you can be flexible about certain things like order volume or alternative product lines.
How can you find supply chain managers who are already experienced and comfortable with working in a global marketplace? Call the team at ZDA Supply Chain Recruiting to discuss your needs.