Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. In today’s highly digitized and global world, commerce can easily take place between businesses in multiple countries. Part of this involves understanding how and where your products of interest are being shipped. The following contributed post is thus entitled; The Journey Your Imports Must Make To Become Inventory.
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The beauty of the modern business is that everything is inherently global. You might consider yourself as a humble ‘ma n’ pa’ shop but even you can and should take advantage of free markets. This is international trade that has taken off in every country whether advanced or even third world. Your humble pizza shop might be using mozzarella cheese that is home grown but you can import the best from Italy if you wish. And it’s not going to be wallet-busting either because aforementioned, everything is global nowadays. Businesses of all kinds look for other businesses in other countries to do business with non-stop. Striking a deal isn’t the that big of an issue if both parties are on the same page. You’re probably not the only one your import partner is contracted with. Many times wherever the best product is, there’s always a handful of businesses trying to use it, and almost none of them will ever have exclusivity to it. The real challenge isn’t in doing good business, it’s what you do with the imports when they arrive in the ports. Obviously, you need to formulate a tactful journey that will be cost-effective but also efficient; not to mention fast.
Unloading and loading at ports
When your imports arrive after their long arduous journey, the port companies will be raring to go. The entire ethos of a port imports company is to offload everything off the vessels as quickly as possible. However, some cargo ships will store their loads pertaining to how valuable the contents of their containers are. For example, it’s worse losing a container of jewelry than it is a container full of clothes. So many will stack their containers in a way that not only protects the best assets abroad but also makes them easier to unload when they hit port. It’s up to you to work with the port companies to find the best deal you can or rather, the cargo transport companies.
Okay, so it’s your turn to have your containers unloaded, what do you do? Well, you must have some kind of loading team that will identify products, different loads, locations where they must be sent and start to load up your transportation service. No doubt, that you will either have 18-wheeler trucks that will be transporting your goods or you will load up new containers so that they can be loaded onto a freight train. It depends on where your location is. Once the train has arrived at its station where it will offload containers, you need a new team to load the containers onto trucks. The end goal is to transport them quickly to the warehouse from which then, distribution can begin.
Where the warehouse comes in
Whatever kind of transport system you use, you’ll need to be ready to accept the imports at the warehouse. Just like the port offloading companies were ready and waiting to pounce into action and stay true to the saying of ‘time is money’, now your warehouse team need to do the same. Since you now have two categories of products, both the domestic and the imports could be separated when it comes to storage if you want them to be. Some businesses decide not to do this because it’s simpler for the storage and selection process for the employees. However, you might have a little trouble detecting when your imports are running low in storage. Counting inventory is difficult enough, and now that your imports are spread around can you always get an accurate number?
You should make a special day for the unloading of imports or rather, just make the warehouse managers and head of the storage department aware that new imports are arriving on a certain day. Bear in mind that you have most likely paid a lot for your imports, at least probably more than your domestic products, so great care needs to be taken when unloading them off the trucks. If your imports are particularly precious and cost a lot, you may want to use brand new containers such as those made by Equipment Management Services. They have brand new shipping containers that are made from better materials than previous generations, better usages of the total size and strong locking mechanisms. These containers can be put in a special part of the warehouse or just away from the other products so as to not mix domestic and import inventory together.
Acknowledge their presence
Once the products have arrived at the warehouse, they need to be acknowledged by the managers. They have travelled a long distance, maybe even thousands of miles across oceans, roads, highways and now they are here. So each item needs to be counted and accounted for by your managers. The reason why it’s such an urgent job is, because it’s not like you can just order a new batch of your imports and they’ll be with you in a day or two. Usually it takes a long time to get from your business partner, to your warehouse. It could take up to a week or more for example.
Thus, your managers now need to convert your imports into inventory. What products have you ordered, and how many? Did any get damaged on the way to your warehouse? If so, how much money did you lose in the process? Whose fault was it, your employees, port companies, the business partner? What are the different types of products you have ordered, and what in what kinds are they? For example, if you ordered a series of ceramic vases with the same design, how many are in the color blue, red or green? Once your managers and the head of the storage department has retrieved all this information, they can accurately log what the new inventory count is.
Becoming a business that has partners overseas is a very prestigious moment that you should enjoy. However, all the while your imports have not been sold, it’s money floating up in the air. You need a good and fast system to offload and load your products at the ports. Your transport to your warehouse needs to be able to make the journey quickly and keep the products safe from damage. Finally, your warehouse employees and managers need to unload the products and account the imports as inventory.