At the international level, logistics is an important factor of every company, since this measures the competitiveness that is available. The World Bank conducts an analysis every year that measures the performance of the logistics chain of supplies within countries, which is included in the Logistics Performance Index, which evaluates aspects such as, Customs, infrastructure, international shipments, logistics service competition, monitoring and tracking and timeliness in both international and domestic logistics focused on imports and exports. This information is useful when considering advances in the import/export business and Randall Castillo, an import/export specialist and founder of RACO Investment, discusses how businesses in the international trade industry can improve their logistics success.
The import covers a careful logistics process’ all activities to transfer a good from the country of origin to a place in the country of destination, involving a number of logistics operators that will ensure a safe transfer of the goods, reducing time and costs. In addition, customs procedures at ports or airports, permits, control channel (red, orange or green), payment of taxes, ensuring or not the loading of boarding, unloading and delivery, etc. should be taken into account, and not only the verification of the transfer of the cargo, but the proper documentation so as not to hinder logistics or generate costs.
Finding a good supplier, can be achieved by visiting international trade fairs or missions, through online platforms or mobile applications such as Alibaba for large-scale purchases, AliExpress or Light In The Box for smaller purchases. Adds Castillo, “It is also important to carefully filter a supplier to see if it is reliable, who must constantly be evaluated by the importer, since companies can appear and disappear. There are ways to evaluate it using feedback from platforms or pages.”
Another important point to evaluate a provider is to consider the form of payment that the supplier accepts. You could pay it through the same page on which you purchase, and make sure that you are refunded our money in case there is a breach by the provider. On the other hand, it is of the utmost importance that the provider has a landline and a cell phone since a cell phone number is easily replaceable.
It is important to consider that if the provider with whom we have contacted is not Spanish-speaking, know how to speak English as otherwise, this could be an influential factor in order to be able to carry out a weak negotiation and whenever one has uncertainty of what the provider refers to ask us to remove doubts.
It is also advisable to know how to choose well the cargo agents, international insurance agents, customs agents, the company that will transfer the cargo to our warehouses or, if not, to the logistics operator who can provide us with a comprehensive logistics service.
“Remember that it is of the utmost importance to tell the freight agent that the quote you give should be considered all-inclusive in such a way that when the load arrives, we do not take surprise that the value of freight is one and also charge us other expenses that we did not anticipate,” explains Castillo.
It is important to always quote with international cargo insurers because, in recent times, there is a lot of natural disaster and take insurance that covers these aspects; also, it is known of importers who do not insure their cargo because they think that this will save the amount of insurance; however, when costing, many times it comes out cheaper to ensure the burden than not insure it.
One of the important details to reduce import logistical costs is to obtain a low CIF, i.e., negotiate well with the foreign supplier if importing in CIF value. And if we import into FOB get a low price at source, but it is also very important to note that good freight and insurance must be achieved, because, if the CIF value is low, taxes will be low and also the commission paid to the customs broker will also be low and if the CIF is high, taxes and other payments will also be high.
The import process not only ends when the product arrives at the destination, but there are also phases one must consider in order to achieve a successful import. The first is to create and position your own brand with passion. Having a trademark is not a complicated process; however, if that mark is not added passion and work is done to make it known, it will simply be one more mark on the copyright register. But if you make sure that if we already have a brand positioned in the market and want to import a new product it is better to import it at first with the brand of the supplier, until you are sure that the product will not damage the image of the brand.
Selling products in a traditional or virtual way is a vital tool to reach the customer. The important thing is to generate that the product generates a need for the customer either by quality, price or value, since the amount of advertising that a customer views today, often rejects it if it fails to get attention in the first few seconds.
You must always be aware of what the market needs and always be ahead of our competition. Stresses Castillo, “Since it is enough that we have stock breakages for the customer to look in the competition company for what he does not find in ours, and this can lead to loss of customer and worse if the competition offers him a product and service with greater advantages than ours, we will have lost the customer.”
Successful importers go out into the field to receive information from their customers, and if they do not do it personally, they go to the field through their sales force, who will bring fresh information about the market and also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their competition in order to pay close attention to their own company.
Importers should consider that, in every business, times are different and there are many factors that can put it at risk (political, social, cultural, climatic, etc.). The important thing is to be prepared and to get ahead of the business by overcome any obstacle that arises.