While expanding into new territories can create lucrative opportunities for companies, many are unprepared for the obstacle course that lies ahead of them when their logistics operations start spanning borders. Managing global logistics operations requires an entirely different skillset—and mindset—than handling domestic needs. And with regions like Europe, Asia, and Latin America presenting wildly different challenges, the obstacle course only becomes more daunting the bigger a shipper’s operations get.
Here are just a few of the obstacles that shippers must be prepared to conquer—and how international logistics consulting services can help.
Leaping over language barriers
Language barriers can create a range of complications for shippers entering new regions.
The most obvious place this presents itself is in communicating and building relationships with carriers and customers. If you don’t speak the language fluently, it’s very hard to negotiate and discuss terms effectively, let alone build the trust necessary for an effective long-term partnership.
The solution is not as simple as having a few bilingual team members on staff. In Europe alone, there are 24 official languages—though more than 200 are spoken throughout the continent. In Asia, you can add another zero to the end of that number.
Experienced international consultants can not only help shippers bridge the language gap but can provide a nuanced understanding of local business customs. This can go a long way toward giving new clients confidence in a shipper’s abilities, even if that shipper is brand new to the region.
Navigating customs complexity
Shippers can run into all manner of customs issues if they’re unfamiliar with different regions’ customs clearance processes. Since delays and problems at the border can lead to dissatisfied customers and hefty fines, this is one aspect of global logistics that requires particular care and attention.
It’s vital that companies possess a thorough understanding of the different taxes and duties they’ll have to pay and the various paperwork they’ll require to get their goods cleared and moving again in an efficient fashion. Being aware of potential challenges—like outdated clearance practices and mountains of red tape at specific borders—can also be hugely beneficial, allowing shippers to plan accordingly to mitigate potential delays.
An international consultant can provide these insights and help to streamline the import and export process. While in-house staff might have to try and make sense of different regions’ clearance processes from clunky government websites, top consultants often have first-hand experience dealing with local requirements, making their guidance invaluable.
Keeping pace with ever-evolving regulations
Ensuring regulatory compliance in global logistics is an uphill battle—because the regulations are always changing. This requires shippers to dedicate a not-insignificant portion of their time to stay on top of what’s changing and how they can remain in compliance—unless they have someone to steer them in the right direction.
Take Brexit. Even if shippers are fairly comfortable with and confident about moving goods in and out of Europe at the moment, the lack of an agreed-upon Brexit trade offer means its impossible to know exactly how regulations will change between now and the end of the year, when the transition period officially ends. Unless someone on staff is carefully keeping up with Brexit trade news and how upcoming regulatory changes will impact their operations, companies may wake up in a whole new regulatory world come January 1, 2021.
International consultants are dedicated to following new and evolving regulations and passing this information on to their clients. This ensures companies are always in the know about what regulations they need to adhere to, preventing a compliance headache down the line.
Simplifying the global logistics obstacle course
Navigating the global logistics obstacle course isn’t easy. Working with an international consultant takes many of the biggest challenges off shippers’ plates—making it easier to break into any region they set their sights on.
At CTSI-Global, we’re strategically placed to help shippers manage customs issues, regulatory concerns, and more. We own and operate facilities on three continents, so our knowledge of different regions isn’t anecdotal—it comes from decades of first-hand experience.
Overcome every obstacle. Learn more about our international consulting services by contacting us today.