Thursday, October 21, 2004

Eight (8) Clues To Get You Global

from Laurel Delaney

Here is a general idea of what to expect from each member of your global trade team along with additional clues to get you global:

1. The Executive Committee: they serve as a sounding board for your updates but are primarily interested in knowing what is needed to operate successfully in the global marketplace. Always go in on your meetings with the notion of making huge requests to ensure you walk out with at best, with what you know you need for certain. Clue: try your in-house committee for advice or if you are a one-person shop, set up your own independent council that includes noted academics, consultants and other experts in global trade.

2. The Marketing/Sales Staff: these people are original thinkers and need your advice on how to be creative in marketing your product or service overseas without confusing or offending your customer. They need an international marketing map and can use their domestic one as a model.

3. Logistics: how will they get your product or service to another country? They must understand international trade documentation as it relates to shipping, insurance, customs, compliance, method of payment, duties, tariffs and international laws. A freight forwarder might be an option, not the answer.

4. Operations: they need to know how many widgets you are going to sell, for how long, how often and within what time period. If changes are required in the production of the widget, they need to know that well in advance of the customer's deadline so they can coordinate procurement of raw materials and schedule a production run in a timely manner. Operations people need no outside help here -- this is where they shine and usually rise to the occasion.

5. Finance: how will your company get paid on overseas sales? The finance people need to know. They must understand international payment methods and terms both offline and online. Your own bank's international department can help here.

6. Research: who will determine which market is the best market to export your product or service?

7. Technology: these people need to adopt a new crop of Net-based apps that dramatically transform the export operations of the organization.

8. Cultural: who will be respectful of local culture and how will that be conveyed on your site? Adapting and translating fast-changing content for multiple countries' markets can be challenging. These people must become familiar with developed software that helps automate the workflow of language translation.

All other team members, such as the legal or customer service departments, must learn to coordinate their activities to ensure the smooth flow of the overall global trade operation.

Your global trade team is just that, a team and should never work in isolation of one another. That's why the set-aside time is important for keeping each person up-to-date with the hope of identifying the broad as well as the detailed issues concerning your trade transaction.

No comments: