Importing products and shipping goods abroad involve a degree of “calculated risk taking.” Trade experts not only enter an entirely different market, but a whole new game and even a stranger culture.
With the expansion of globalization, doing business across borders has become more sophisticated. It used to be enough that merchandise arrived on schedule. Today, everything needs to be in sync, and in perfect condition.
Ironically, as trade opportunities open across the globe, customers and nations have changed the nature of their demands.
If the primary barrier were taxes and tariffs imposed by the country of destination, quality and visibility now come to the picture.
With the development of outsourced manufacturing industries around the world, accountability is more complex.
Main mistakes in exports in Mexico
The state trade agency ProMéxico explains that among the main errors in exports, small and middle companies have:
Lack of knowledge in the market.
Unawareness of the mechanics behind exports.
Lack of knowledge about their counterparts
Lack of compliance it times and sizes of deliveries.
Impatience from managers who do not see immediate results.
That is why ProMéxico underlines the importance to use and optimize the entire supply chain wisely.
What are the main challenges of imports & exports managers?
1. Risk of stock loss or damage when working with multiple suppliers
International logistics involves several actors within 3PL. There are details like packaging, nature of the merchandise, the urgency of the delivery and the degree of manipulation across the supply chain.
These can raise doubts in any trade manager when it comes to assessing the quality of their products arriving at the destination.
2. Speed and trust in deliveries
Export managers and international logistics companies don’t just juggle time zones and ETAs, or trivial details such as the tides and winds in shipping. Confidence in the state of the delivery from 3PL companies in Mexico is essential when goods are delicate, and they take part of a larger manufacturing process.
Let’s take a customer’s time windows. There are areas, such as Mexico City, with restrictions on freight trucks at certain hours or limitations on specific streets.
When importers become an ally on their customer’s value chain, they must have clockwork precision. These factors can mark the success of failure of a trade agreement.
3. Skill and wit in customs management
We are not just talking about the speed of cargo consolidation. Rather, how bonded warehousing managers handle quality assurance processes, taxes, and fees.
It takes one document with a typo or a wrong SKU code to have an entire shipment delayed by mistake, or demanding for the wrong tariffs.
4 . Clear and transparent processes across the chain
The amount of information that an imports manager receives in each morning is tremendous. Theymultiple operations at the same time: the state of a shipment from Liverpool and the updated ETA of delivery in the port of Manzanillo. They may be getting news on labeling white wine from France in the port of Merida, and at the same minute, they’re receiving containers of Chilean red wine at Manzanillo.
However, what happens if the wine is correct, but it comes from a wrong crop or year?
The head of imports needs suppliers that not only do their job well but can visualize in their own time the state of all the processes he is involved.
6 . Specialization
If there is an ally to foreign trade experts, it’s someone who knows customs management from A to Z.
Understanding the small print and limitations can be a headache for the imports manager. That’s even worse if you choose providers in your supply chain that claim they know it all but they are not specialized in any industry.
For instance, Mexico requires labeling for goods specifying the country of origin, the name of the importer, expiration dates, and details such as whether the products can be soldseparately or in a package.
7. The cultural barrier
Any expert in foreign trade must become a diplomat, and even if they hurry to meet deadlines, they must take the time to study the country they ship to or bring their goods.
For example, the UK government advises its businesses that, while Mexico is the largest economy in Latin America, people who export goods to Mexico from Britain may face some cultural problems.
It may take time to build and maintain relationships with clients and distributors.
In some cases, there can be a significant language barrier for non-Spanish speakers.
8 . Volatility
Mickinsey & Company ran a study about the challenges for Global Supply Chains. A major pain point was uncertainty about the range of things that can vary along the way.
The dollar, yen or sterling pound rises and falls. This impacts exports and imports right away. It is not uncommon that while shipments are halfway between Europe or Asia, their value increases or decreases. Or that, due to a sudden problem in cash flow, an importer is forced to keep hundreds of units for extra days or weeks at a bonded warehouse.
Companies with good management can compress cycle times and squeeze costs out of their supply chains, says Inbound Logistics.
However, those that don’t can get with penalties, fines, and bottlenecks. If the import of one shipment involves a