3 tips to break in to an export supply chain

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Tapping into a large international market can help you rapidly grow your business. As a vital link in a strong chain of businesses, you can gain access to networks, opportunities, industries and regions that you might not be able to achieve alone.

Even if you don’t sell internationally yourself – or don’t even deal with the end exporter – you still need to understand some of the complexities of the export market, and ensure your business has the necessary capabilities.

Here are 3 tips to help your business succeed as an export supply chain vendor.

Develop a strategy

Before you join an export supply chain, you should prepare a strategy as part of your business plan.

Start by understanding where in the supply chain your product/service fits – and the opportunity it has in the global market. Depending where your product is sold, you may need to translate key information into multiple languages. What’s more, different markets have different requirements, for example, of safety standards and certifications, or use of certain component products. Assess whether you’ll need to change your product or processes before you can take full advantage of new global business.

Your strategy should also answer questions like:

  • What is your capacity to deliver – can you ramp up your production to meet large orders?
  • Will you need to adapt your operations to meet the needs of your export customers? E.g. warranties, sales support.
  • Can you gain financial or other support to win new work?

Nurture your relationships

The success of your business still centres around relationships. Even when you’ve established connections and partnerships with supply chain managers, you’ll still need to nurture those relationships to ensure repeat business – and to make new contacts.

A PwC survey* found that supply chain managers had three main objectives in their relationships:

  • Leveraging the capabilities of their suppliers
  • Delivering cost savings
  • Reducing their risk exposure.

To build a successful supply chain partnership, it’s important to think about how your business can meet these objectives.


Understand your supply chain cashflow needs

Finding new opportunities and partnerships to grow your business is exciting – but it also comes with key financial challenges. As an export supply chain business, you may find that delivering on your contracts can put extra strain on your operating costs and cashflow.

As Australia’s export credit agency, Export Finance Australia can provide finance to a range of businesses, including those that:

  • provide products or services to a company in an export supply chain
  • provide products or services directly to a company that is exporting
  • sell directly to an overseas company that is part of a larger global supply chain.

As your supply chain grows, the size of your orders or projects will too – this generally means an increase in materials, labour and shipping costs. And it’s likely you won’t receive payment until you’ve delivered your goods or services, which means you’ll need additional finance solutions to fulfil your contract.

That’s where Export Finance Australia’s loans, guarantees and bonds can help.

For more information on how you can take advantage of export supply chain opportunities and Export Finance Australia’s finance options for your business, download our free Supply chains: building international opportunities eBook today.

* PwC Supplier Relationship Management How key suppliers drive your company’s competitive advantage, 2013