Globalization has opened up a whole world of opportunities for shippers—literally—but it hasn’t come without its fair share of challenges. It’s a big, complicated world out there, its borders marked with language barriers, distinct business customs, and an ever-changing guard of trade agreements. Crossing these borders without a solid plan in place, backed by nuanced expertise, can leave shippers in a precarious position—one that jeopardizes their future in the region, and their bottom line.
It’s no surprise that many shippers turn to their logistics provider for support and guidance as they navigate foreign waters. After all, many providers claim to have a global network. But there’s a massive gulf of difference between owning a couple of facilities in far corners of the Earth and possessing a deep understanding of those corners, rooted in hands-on experience—and for many logistics providers, their global footprint isn’t all that wide or deep.
Company-owned and company-operated don’t mean the same thing
Let’s say a shipper is expanding into the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Their provider claims to have a facility in Singapore, so the shipper feels assured that help will be on hand when they need it.
But owning a facility in Singapore is not the same as operating a facility in Singapore. And many shippers discover this the hard way when they reach out to the regional office of their logistics provider, only to discover it isn’t run by the provider’s staff. The provider has outsourced the work to a local company—one which doesn’t know the ins and outs of the shipper’s business and which, all too often, can’t answer their questions.
For providers to offer the support their clients expect and deserve, they need to take a more hands-on approach with every facility that bears their name. That means having boots on the ground—employees that understand clients’ needs and can address them promptly.
And if a provider can’t offer this, the very least they can do is be honest about what their definition of “global” actually means.
Following the sun is better than watching the clock
Back to that shipper in Singapore. Imagine they’re experiencing a critical problem that demands a rapid response. But the provider’s local branch is powerless to help.
So what is the shipper to do? They could contact the provider’s home office—but if they’re in Singapore and their provider is in the U.S., the time difference could be anywhere from 13 to 16 hours. Many problems can’t wait a day to be resolved. And for every second the clock ticks, more money trickles away.
If the provider owned and operated all its global facilities, this would go a long way to solving such issues. But some problems occur outside of standard operating hours, meaning the local office might not be open anyway.
That’s why leading providers must take a “follow-the-sun” approach, passing work seamlessly between their global facilities to ensure it’s handled as efficiently as possible. Essentially, this means that the provider is “always open”—and always working to make their clients’ businesses stronger.
A global vision falls short without local insights
For any company expanding into new markets, implementing standardized processes can help ensure that regional managers don’t operate in a vacuum. But while having one shared version of the truth is important at a global level, it’s equally important to allow enough flexibility at the local level to ensure regional requirements can be accommodated.
Getting that balance right is essential. And it’s a lot easier to do when a shipper has access to local insights.
Rather than simply providing a big-picture view, leading logistics providers must give their clients access to region-specific insights that can help them enhance and finetune their local operations. There’s a world of difference between shipping in APAC and Europe, Latin America and the U.S.—and those differences impact every shipper a little differently. It’s up to providers to help light the way, and if they don’t, they can’t be surprised if their clients run into the rocks.
What a truly global footprint looks like
At CTSI-Global, we aim to set the benchmark for what global logistics management should look like.
We’ve spent more than 60 years developing our worldwide network, and our global footprint is just that—global. Outside of the U.S., we have facilities in Ireland, Singapore, and India, each one operated by CTSI-Global employees with a deep understanding of local tax rules, languages, currencies, and business customs.
Our operations follow the sun, because we know that logistics never sleeps. And with local industry experts on hand to help our clients better understand their data and extract region-specific insights, we take the complexity out of global shipping—without underestimating it.
Think global, act local. Contact CTSI-Global today.