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Five Rules Of Sourcing Products Internationally – Forbes Now

Whether you’re selling a product or service, you need to stay committed to a plan. And just like in any market, it’s all about how you can get your product to rise above the competition. Consistency is key. For instance, many large businesses may invest in a bulk load of supplies and then end up selling more of one thing than the other. Don’t limit your buying audience, and make sure to follow trends. If you want to successfully move your products, you need to appeal to the global market.
I’m all too familiar with these types of growing pains. Based on my experience distributing natural stone tiles to contractors, developers, retailers, architects and designers, I know that many suppliers often miscalculate the amount and type of inventory they need. As a result, they end up paying more just to expedite their shortage of inventory. That’s why I’ve come up with five simple rules that any business can use for sourcing inventory, both domestically and internationally.
Appeal To The Market Demand And Trends 
First, understand what kind of product you have and why it’s relevant. A fashion product has its own demands based on the market trends. These trends can and will be different on a global scale, so it’s your job to research them so that when you’re stocking inventory, you’re purchasing a product that you know will sell.
Keep an eye on new add-ons related to the product you’re selling so that you’ll always have the right kind of inventory on hand to deliver at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t do any good for your profit margins to stock inventory that’s no longer trending: It takes a lot of work to bring it over domestically (and vice versa). Keep a close eye on production management to ensure that your inventory will not be outdated once it finally arrives.
Have A Good Understanding Of Your Supplier’s Capacity 
When it comes to sourcing overseas, whether you have an organic or man-made product, you may still need to rely on nature to make sure you’re getting the sufficient amount of inventory. For instance, if you’re supplying an organic product like natural stone, fruit, vegetables or livestock, then rain or certain temperatures can impact those orders. With man-made products, there’s a little more control. If you supply buttons, zippers, electronics or are in the publishing industry, your business will most likely operate no matter the weather.
In some industries, the production capacity relies on both machinery and the supply capacity. A factory’s infrastructure plays a great role in production. Ensure that your manufacturing capabilities are consistent in providing the correct quality and amount. This takes extensive research. It also helps if you have direct access to your own manufacturer rather than outsourcing, no matter where in the world you’re operating business. If I didn’t have access to my own stone quarry, for example, then I’d have to make sure that my supplier did. And for the sake of consistency, I’d make sure I had access to multiple quarries.
Provide Quality Match-Up 
Sourcing internationally means you need to match the quality standards of the supplier who lives in a rural area in Far East Asia with quality standards of someone living in Manhattan. I cannot stress the importance of consistency enough: While it is probably far easier to get inventory from different suppliers at a discounted price, as a reputable international supplier, you not only want to make a sale but also gain loyal customers who will bring their business to you on a repeat basis. You can only accomplish this if they trust you will deliver a superior product every single time. Have a good understanding of your supplier’s capacity and research everything related to your business’s industry in terms of market trends.
Get a sample of your supplier’s product if at all possible. Our business offers free tile samples to customers: This way, however near or far, buyers will know exactly what they’re getting.
Follow The Weather And Holidays
Every country and culture has different observed and celebrated holidays and festivals. Some countries can suspend production for up to a month during holidays. Weather at your sourced country is also important: Snow and heavy rain can impact the transportation of products tremendously. You need to be aware of all these factors so that you can manage and keep extra inventory prepared for such situations. Organize your delivery schedule through an electronic calendar, and plan to check the weather on a daily basis. I recommend getting a customized software management system that can connect your production calendar to weather alerts.
Like in any business, if you cannot get the word out and let people know what is available to them, you will not succeed; even if you have the best supply, quality and cost. Try all possible marketing strategies and stick with the ones that give you the best return. 
It’s usually the least complicated executions that make the biggest impact in a business. Of course, all of this is for nothing if you don’t invest the time to advertise your product. I’ve seen success in my business by following these practices, and encourage you to adopt them into your business plan to see if you have any luck with them, too.


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