Sourcing materials from different countries does come with its set of challenges. And it can, if not done right, increase final costs. So, how does one keep costs under control when dealing with foreign suppliers? Here are a few insights.
Developing a relationship with suppliers is quite important. When you create a bond and a sense of familiarity with companies and manufacturers, you are less likely to bump into issues. Building a trusting relationship takes time and effort, but it will be worthwhile when you have someone you can count on where you are sourcing. Be open, and clear with your communication from the start, don’t try to cut corners and be patient.
To reduce surprise costs and hidden fees, it’s important to talk about payment methods up front. There are many ways that one can pay a foreign supplier, from paying in advance, to letters of credit. The important thing is to find the method that works best for your specific situation to minimize payment-related risks. Obviously, what is best for you as the importer, will not be the best for the party exporting, so having open and clear communication and finding a middle ground will be key.
Having a clear payment method that works for both parties is important, as is having a clear contract that protects everyone involved. Do not act on verbal agreements alone, and make sure that every step of the process is clearly stated in the contract. Not only will this manage expectations, but it will also allow you to pursue legal action if required. Here is a list of things to bear in mind when thinking of a contract:
- What is being bought?
- For how much are you buying the goods? At what exchange rate?
- How is the payment to be made and when?
- When will the goods be delivered and how?
- Who will take care of shipping costs?
- Who bears the risk if something goes wrong? Should there be insurance? Who should pay?
- What are the steps to be taken if something goes wrong? What would the legal proceedings be?
And finally, something very important, that can only happen with time, is experience. With experience comes knowledge, knowing what to expect and how to deal with problems when they arise. This might not be something you are willing to invest in, and that is perfectly fine. Finding a trusted third-party professional, like Atlantic Link, that can serve as your guide, who has the experience already can be a great option to save you some trouble and worry. Atlantic Link has more than 20 years of experience importing goods from Europe to the United States and we know how to make it work for you.
Interested in seeing how Atlantic Link can help you import materials from Italy?
Check out our past projects and see what we are able to do for you!