We’ve been in the Supply Chain business for over twenty years serving manufacturers, distributors, and fulfillment companies. Our customers include USA Based companies, who ship nationally and internationally, as well as Global Establishments who have warehouses stateside and beyond. While shipping goods internationally can definitely expand your market and turn in profits for your company, there are still some caveats to think about. Let’s take a look.
1.) Free Shipping Vs. Charge
If you have not read our blog on Free Shipping – Keep It Real, please do so. No matter where you ship your products, there are costs associated. Until you can properly analyze and understand your shipping costs, you very well could be losing money. With International Shipping there is even a greater risk of lost profits that are not built into the margins of your products.
2.) Documentation – Dreaded Documentation
OK, being an entrepreneur you learn the hard way, there are still rules and regulations to follow. Shipping internationally adds more of those. There are several documents and forms you need to have based on the products, the origin, and destination of the shipment and more. These include Proforma Invoices, Commercial Invoices, Specialized Packing Lists, Certificates of Origin, Additional Certificates based on Politics, Trade Agreements etc., Letters of Instruction, Specialized BOL’s (Bills of Lading) and even Banking Information. It is a must to make sure you work with a knowledgeable company or consultant to help you navigate through this.
3.) Products – Certain Ones Are No No’s
This past year I learned quite a bit from my customers. First off, to expand and grow are critical to everyone’s survival so of course, never shy away from new opportunities. However, you must be careful because shipping the wrong products to certain countries can end up being a costly mistake. One of the reasons we partnered with Amber® Road is that they have a service and database which helps check products prior to shipping them.
4.) Carrier Capabilities and Rates
Each shipper offers various programs that support specific services and delivery options. Many shippers support the same services and, of course, have varying rates for shipments. So it can get confusing on who to ship with, how to ship your products, what products you can ship, and where to and from.
To sum it up, go for it! Continue to expand your market but consult with experts. Don’t forget to check out our DCPackaging Manager and DCMobile Shipping Solution functionality as well as Supported Carriers by Country to learn more about how DCSC can help your business compete in the industry. If you are a manufacturer, distributor or fulfillment organization looking for shipping software, contact us today!