Globalisation involves manufacturing and distributing products outside one’s native country. And thanks to globalization, the amount of exports worldwide has been increasing at a rate of about 5% every year, according to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund.
As we mentioned last week, when you’re getting started in a new market, finding a 3PL provider is a great way to get a handle on international logistics. After all, if you’re going international, you want a scalable 3PL company that has the infrastructure to make your vision a reality.
With a 3PL partner to take care of your operational logistics, you can rest assured that your customers will get their orders in time… if you’ve got your demand forecast just right. In order to get an accurate demand forecast, you’ll need to take the nuances of different regions into account.
However, getting your demand forecast right while managing a global supply chain can be challenging. So if you’re planning to take your business global, we’ve selected our top three things to look out for.
1. Different Country, Different Culture
Peak periods and lead time delays can change depending on where you’re selling and importing your products. For example, Christmas is the busiest time of the year for retail in the United States, but in China, Chinese New Year is the peak festive season and often results in lead time delays for Chinese exports.
When you’re planning your imports and exports, you need to take different countries and cultures into account. That way, you’ll know when you need more inventory to tide you over peak demand periods or lead time delays.
Again, here’s where your 3PL relationship is useful, as you’ll have a local consultant on hand to help you out with the country-specific details of your new markets.
2. Fine Tune Your Forecasting
Selling to different countries doesn’t just require you to look out for peak demand periods and lead time delays. When you’re focused on growing your business, you need to take international adjustments into account. There could be country specific trends that affect customer demand, where your top sellers could be different.
On top of that, you may have to make adjustments to your order quantity as you’ll have to consider different shipping times, customs clearances, and even different carrying costs.
3. Use cloud-based software
When you’re selling in more than one location, you’ll need cloud-based software to keep track of your inventory. Spreadsheets alone won’t be enough, as these have to be updated and shared manually.
With cloud-based software, you’ll enjoy real time updates on your inventory levels so you won’t have to worry about overselling products. Real time updates also allows your sales representatives to check on the existing inventory levels before they write up a purchase order for a customer.
And by making the move to a cloud-based software, you’ll also enjoy having other functions at your fingertips from business intelligence to a mobile sales application that lets you sell on the go. Better yet, you’ll be able to plug your cloud-based inventory management software into other compatible integrations that will let you do everything from accounting to eCommerce from a single dashboard!
With this, our inventory management series at QuickBooks Online draws to a close. We hope we’ve offered you some great insights into making inventory management software work for you, and we’d like to wish you all the best in growing your business.