I recently attended an export seminar on electrical equipment at the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC). It is an organization to promote small businesses, particularly manufacturers and distributors in some industrial buildings west of the Loop, Chicago downtown area. While the “1871” gets out the headlines as the virtual business generator in the Merchandise Mart, it is not the only way to grow a business and employment in the Chicago area.
At the seminar, John Allen of Product Safety Consulting and Margie Heffernan of Cretors talked about the electrical safety standards custom officials in foreign countries demand which includes many certificates of safety by established testing groups. Some people relatives new to the business were surprise to learn about the export requirements. One asked doesn’t the 3PL do this?
The short answer is no but they can help. Those new to international logistics and shipping start off with an assumption they don’t know they are even making that shipping goods internationally is like shipping goods from Illinois to Iowa. Both exporting and importing requires one doing one’s homework to understand what the rules are for shipping your particular goods across the border. In the case of electrical goods, a US based safety certification like from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) may not fly in a foreign country, they may need local certification. If you ship to that country, your goods will be stopped at the border and never get to the intended consignee if local country rules are not met. Your 3PL may have enough knowledge to tell you what the requirements are but your firm will need to do the actual activities required.
The real important upside in doing your homework is your firm will smoothly get your products across the border.
Our jobs as logistics and supply chain people is to make sure the appropriate people in the organization know what is necessary to get products across the border.