Still have concerns about improving the shipping process? This article is made for you...
As we all know, being in the international trade industry, it’s inevitable to find the ultimate optimization of the whole purchase-sell process. While for a part of the cycle, such as the shipping process, there're still chances to make it go more smoothly. Given the inquiries we've received these days, due to the impact of COVID-19, the varied regulations to each region have made the shipping process more complicated and troublesome.
No matter what kind of issue you're facing or will encounter in the future, don't be too stressed, anything couldn't kill you always makes you stronger! Keeping reading, Let's figure the potential issues during the shipping process and tackle them one by one.
How is a normal shipping process like?
Before we start to tackle problems in the shipping process, let's review a bit of the whole normal shipping process.
Built on the basis that you've had the stable supplier in your importing place, once the offer between you and your clients has been settled, the supplier will manufacture the requested products on time and inform you. Then usually the courier service will transport the goods to the warehouse to pack into containers before going to the port, then hand over the prepared documents to the freight when loading the containers at the origin port. After the 3-4 months of ocean transporting, passing the border, there would be an export customs clearance there. The freight will arrive at the destination port. With the necessary documents, unpacked goods will be sent through the import customs clearance. Next, the goods will be transferred to the distribution center waiting for being delivered.
So in a nutshell, a normal shipping process will contain six phases:
Why is the shipping process so important?
By making sure each phase of the shipping process will be internally and externally benefit with your long-term business. For the business's perspective, shipping service usually will solid the foundation of a healthy e-commerce cycle and a feasible long-term international trade partnership. Besides, for the management's part, if the superiors make sure the action control works well on the employees, they will achieve and improve the smooth shipping service and build the beneficial mutual trust within the company. Indeed, out of the same reason, potential hazards in the shipping service process become the priority to handle. Outsourcing your shipping could be an efficient way to lower the risk by sending it into the right hands, especially when you're short of time to do the research and investment for implementing your own company's shipping service.
What regular problems do you encounter most in a shipping process?
As we mentioned above, there are six phases of shipping service. We'll start to find common issues from the most 3 crucial and complicated respects: settling shipping orders, customer searching and custom clearance. Clearly, the essence of three important phases is all about the communication- between suppliers, between clients and between relevant authorities. Don't be afraid of investing time on that, after all, the time is for consuming but only being valuable on something serving for the ultimate purpose.
Settling shipping orders
During the very first step, you may get overwhelmed by the negotiation period when customers are really pushy towards their benefits. Therefore, a deadly problem will occur and probably nip this deal in the bud: inappropriate dictions/tones in the corresponding emails. If the misunderstanding has really appeared, there will be barely build a good impression for your company.
Next issue usually exists between you and the suppliers. Punctuality on manufacturing and lead time, if it goes wrong, it will directly lead to the schedule issue of warehouses. Also, depending on the features and traits of goods, it may concern about the shelf life of goods.
Last but not least, no matter under which incoterms, from the seller's perspective, the transportation to the departure port would be still under the consideration.
Communication for customer searching
To launch new orders on markets, you must make sure that you transmit filtered keywords to your staff who's in charge of marketing. Sometimes, we found that the misunderstanding of mission targets will also weaken the effectiveness in promotions. Usually, social media is the main arena for commercial promotions due to its low-cost and instant feedback. However, it tolerates a lot of fake news and scams as well. Once you fall in traps, the loss is not only just money, also your fame in the stakeholders, which would be affected tremendously.
According to Quora searching results, when we put" international trade clients" as keywords, we'll see a lot of questions relating to "payment transactions", which is another failure that may appear in your shipping process. Yes, other than regular language barriers, the different way of payment in the international market is always troublesome.
This one should be the most problematic and hardest to handle in the international trade shipping process, since the final control is not depending on you. The very first essential part is the required documents: all the relative certificates of goods, the legit proof of your trade and freight, and the correct customs clearance form. Anything wrong will lead to serious consequences, such as goods suspension, repatriation of goods or even fines.
Failure to establish good ties with customs authorities will also be a huge problem. As an active player in shipping, tons of routines will relate to the customs, too much time-wasting on the clearance would have a toxic effect on your reputation.
Besides, when the delay on custom clearance really happens, the first thing is to find out the reason behind it. No phenomenon exists in isolation, and the same is true of the causes of customs clearance delays. There are both internal factors related to the shippers themselves, and of course, external factors related to the external environment.
- Internal factors related to the owner of the goods himself.
All information and documents do not match, especially the completeness of the declaration elements or common understatement of the value of goods, quantity discrepancies, etc.
2.External factors related to the general external environment.
This external factor is mainly related to the external environment and national policies of the importing and exporting countries.
Damage on the goods
Whether it is in the air or sea, involved in the transport links are more numerous, there will inevitably be cargo damage or loss of goods. Under different incoterms, from the seller's perspective, this kind of loss wouldn't be all your responsibility but once it appears, it's time-consuming. Plenty of reasons will lead to this horrible consequence, while the instant reaction is to verify who's responsible. Force Majeure? Or individual/company's oversight？
How to tackle the problems one by one in a shipping process?
The improvement is built on the basis of the right solutions regarding specific issues. As long as we've inspected the stakeholders and the regular problems happening in the shipping process, the priority is not to think from the surface, is to dig deeper to touch the behind reasons. Given what we've mentioned above, the main factors are all about COMMUNICATION and RESPONSIBILITY. Based on that, what we suggest is a rule: always assure that you make your point clear enough in a conversation, and find the person in charge when anything goes wrong.
Full preparation before the shipping service
During "the offer and counteroffer" period, you'll need some negotiation tips to avoid overlong deal settling process.
Always make clear about international incoterms 2020 and respective prices in advance. The competitive price in the market won't be the only way to win more clients, so still, keep in mind that you'll need to earn 50% net profit at least in the end. Besides, the most valuable advantage would be the quality of the shipping service. The best services will match every penny that client pays, and if you get lucky, it could be the start of a long-term partnership. With your profit guaranteed, then be polite and objective on what's going on with your clients.
Having a trustworthy supply chain as an asset. Once the deal has confirmed, the first thing is to get in touch with the suppliers. No matter it is you or your clients will weigh more attention on the suppliers, make sure that you'll have an estimated delivery time on taking over goods! Also, to find a good supplier is the most important for building a smooth supply chain.
Improve the inner communication
The daily internal communication between manager and order-executor would be more accurate, and that can be improved by regular training, prompt mutual feedback and illustrated physical documentation and reports for enhancing cohesive target on customer positioning on the market.
Besides, to identify scams and fake news on social media, always ask more information as a reference, take is as interviews on clients, suppliers or manufacturers. The more useful info brings clearer demands and background, this is what we called "wise micro-dose time investment".
As for the payment transaction, even if the international transaction websites and apps are getting more and more convenient in modern times, still we don't suggest you choose direct transaction approaches. Considering the risks and commercial credits, L/C and T/T will be the main way of payment. However, always keep in mind to inform clients if there's anything( payment time, sum of money, etc.) goes wrong.
Complete paperwork for custom clearance
Once you understand the causes of customs clearance delays, especially if you don’t have the necessary paperwork and you don’t follow the strict guidelines, you can take action on both internal and external factors.
Internal factors: It is important to keep all documents and information related to the cargo in order. If there is any uncertainty, please contact your freight forwarder or customs broker to discuss and take appropriate action.
External factors: Since you can't change the external factors of relevant countries and regions, start from yourself, pay close attention to the relevant policies and dynamics of import and export countries, and keep the necessary communication and contact with relevant personnel (such as guests and freight forwarders) in time to avoid unnecessary troubles and losses.
The great news is that Docshipper has professional service on Customs Clearance, go take a look!
Contact with responsible persons
If the owner of the goods found what happened, you should contact the freight forwarding company in the first time to verify the loss of goods under the occurrence of loss of goods which possible links to; While if the consignee found the situation, you should get in touch with the shipper in the first time, and require it to find the corresponding freight forwarding company, at the same time, provide sufficient information in order to verify and deal with.
Apparently, it will involve the insurances as well. Regarding the selection of insurance, please consider all the relating elements during the shipping service as much as possible, the necessary insurance will protect you from uncertainty.
Of course, the original quality of the goods should be taken into consideration. How to make sure the quality control succeeds at the very beginning? Docshipper has the whole service with it! Take a look at Quality ccntrol to improve your business !
Professional help from Docshipper
Docshipper is a unique international trade company specialized in shipping and sourcing services. The most outstanding feature it has is the whole systematic imports & exports services from A to Z for especially individuals and SMCs (small & medium companies). Such as suppliers network based in Asia (mainly in China) according to your requirements: budget, product specification, delay, compliance, and standards... It’s understandable that when you’re at the first phase of your business, every part of logistics, suppliers, quality control, distribution, and customs could be overwhelming for you. That’s exactly what Docshipper is devoted to You just need to purchase, we’ll handle the rest!
Quotes from Operation Manager in Docshipper:
" With the rich working experience in this industry, I can assure you that hardware and soft condition are equally important: the resource and the communication. Sometimes we call it "the ultimate optimization", as long as we make it as an ideal combination. However, there's noting perfect in the world. So when you encounter issues happening in the shipping service, no matter it's because of poor equipment, payment issue, customs clearance delays or damages on goods, the possibility of appearance on them will be much lower if you have a professional agency like Docshipper to implement and supervise each step of your shipping from beginning till the end.
FAQ | How to Improve The Shipping Process in International Trade?
✅ How to solve the disputes between clients during the shipping service?
First of all, make sure the communication is clear and simple. We advise you that always be polite and objective, presenting physical documents to make your point during the negotiation. Especially when there’re loopholes between you and clients, share accurate information and avoid further conflicts.
🔦 If the goods from clients are several kinds, should we prepare different cargos in shipping service?
Definitely. Depending on the traits and features of goods, the package, marks, insurance and corresponding certificates should be totally strict on and obey international trade standards. Never forget about the different customs clearance forms as well.
📜 Is it necessary to do the background research on clients/partners to avoid issues in shipping service?
Usually, the basic information about their identity and legitimacy is always necessary. In addition, especially when the offer involves the payment methods, you have to be very cautious about their commercial credits from the bank.
DocShipper info: Do you like our article today? For your business interest, you may like the following useful articles :
- Everything about shipping costs for importing from China
- 3 FAST OPERATING BUSINESS MODELS
- 💡How to find a good product to sell?
- How to find your reliable supplier for your business? [Fair Trade Guide]
- AliExpress | Use the Chinese panacea to sell your products online
- How a sourcing strategy can rocket your margin?
DocShipper Advise : We help you with the entire sourcing process so don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!
- Having trouble finding the appropriate product? Enjoy our sourcing services, we directly find the right suppliers for you!
- You don't trust your supplier? Ask our experts to do quality control to guarantee the condition of your goods!
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- You don't want to handle distribution? Our 3PL department will handle the storage, order fulfillment, and last-mile delivery!
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