The world is a small place, it is increasingly predominant that whole products or components are brought together from various locations. Not only is transportation a major cost factor, the logistics can make or break your business.

1 – Ensure that you know what to expect

I know someone who brought in a cosmetic product from China only to find that what arrived was a gel with insects preserved inside rather than a luxury lip cream.

2. Insurance

Anything can happen with the goods in transit, make sure that you are covered.

3. Each party’s responsibility must be documented

When something does go wrong, suddenly everyone runs from responsibility. It is essential that each party is contracted for the task that they need to do, for example if your transporter is responsible for making sure that the documents are in order for customs clearance, it must be put in writing so that if there is an issue at customs it is easy to pinpoint them to sort it out.

4. Timing

Whether you are ordering components from various places or whole products, the supplier must be in line with your timing requirements. Imaging you have ordered a container of Halloween goods only to find that they miss the date or arrive too close (once your competition has already dented the demand).

5. Costs!

You need to factor in:

  • Currency fluctuations
  • Transport
  • Taxes and duties
  • Potential damages to goods in transit

6. Documentation and permits

The last thing you want is to have your goods stuck at customs because the import permits etc are not in order. Find out before you ship what papers you need and make sure that they are filled in and signed as is required.

7. Records

Keep proper records on hand of tracking details of the products so that you can trace them when needed.