Effective exporting is not like posting a letter. If exporters view the process as simply one of getting a consignment to a specified destination for the best price, then they are not approaching it strategically. Ideally, exporters should be looking at how a proactive supply chain can add value to improve their logistics and ultimately their business.
Understanding the Supply Chain Process
In an increasingly inter-connected global economy, supply networks need to be dynamically responsive to changes in demand and circumstances.
“Exporters responding to changes after the fact is an inadequate response,” comments Chris Houghton of Freedom Logistics. “Understanding and anticipating changes and variables requires a more proactive approach to logistics.”
There are more than two parties in the process. The supplier and the recipient rely on a number of important intermediaries in the supply chain. And a clear knowledge of how these impact on the whole process is key to reducing risk and ensuring best outcomes.
Working proactively gives exporters the bigger picture, which in turn allows them to address any issues immediately to mitigate problems that may arise.
“Consider focusing on the process rather than just on the consignment,” Chris advises, “and how this works in relation to the end objective. Whereas the consignment itself has a certain value, this is, to a large extent, dependent on the process working to ensure delivery within agreed timescales.”
Towards Proactive Logistics
“Analysis is important,” Chris states, “by which I mean the extended network, and how it’s co-ordinated.” Looking at where the links are weakest provides opportunities for improvement, but this does mean that exporters have to look beyond their own exclusive operations.
“Think about what is involved to get your product into a container. Similarly, think what happens to it at the other end. Knowing these processes, and who or what is involved locally, will help enormously in addressing issues, ironing out problems and ensuring that your exporting is both effective and efficient”
Chris Houghton, Freedom Logistics
It is important to anticipate issues. This is not pessimistic but realistic. Businesses will come up against obstacles and emergencies, which will alter pre-determined parameters. Advance alerts are crucial, as are processes that are flexible enough to be able to deal with changes.
“Be ready with alternative plans and always manage for exceptions,” Chris concludes. “Exporters need to be prepared for clear decision-making in exceptional circumstances, and a proactive approach to logistics will help enable this. Most importantly, get the right expert advice when it comes to exporting.”
For further information on understanding and riding the wave of logistics:
- Call Freedom Logistics on 0800 012 4369
- Visit freedomlogisticsuk.co.uk
- Download their guide, Thinking Outside the Box, which highlights how to mitigate risks in international shipping