Import export consulting services play an important role in logistics. After all, on the surface, importing and exporting items across the country or even the world may seem easy enough, but that’s not always true. These consultants must deal with distribution and warehousing, banks, customs brokers, and even government entities to ensure timely delivery of goods. What other benefits do consulting firms offer?
Using import export consulting services provides 5 important benefits:
In this article, we will dive deep into each of the above benefits, explaining them in full. If you’re wondering whether it’s better to use a consulting firm for importing/exporting or if you should do it yourself, this article will answer all your questions.
When your company decides to work with any third party, one factor that will guide that choice is the potential to save money. After all, no business wants to spend more than they have to. Import export consultants understand this, which is why they strive to reduce costs in any way they can. Listed below are the ways that import export consultants can assist in cutting costs.
Imports and exports aren’t all classified the same way, although not every business knows this. By misclassifying some of what your company ships or receives, you could end up getting penalized and having to spend money unnecessarily on fines.
When working with a consulting firm, they can review your company’s imports and exports and classify these appropriately. They will use the Harmonized System, which has been around since 1988. The World Customs Organization founded the Harmonized System, which nearly 200 countries use to this day.
Under the Harmonized System, all exports or imports receive a code that’s at least six digits long. Other countries may make the code seven or more digits. For instance, in India, the code is eight digits.
Whether it’s a new product—in which correct classification is of the utmost importance—or an old product, a consulting service will ensure the accuracy of your Harmonized System code. This will keep your company in compliance so your profitability isn’t at risk.
Another way you can save money with an import export consulting firm is by outsourcing for this service rather than paying for in-house professionals. You may not always need consultants, but hiring in-house staff means you pay for them year-round, even if you don’t always rely on their expertise.
Besides adding extra people to your payroll, there are all the expenses associated with a new hire. You have to pay for a job listing, then for the equipment and programs the new hire will use. They will also undergo training, which also costs money.
With an outsourced consulting firm, you utilize them when you need them. That’s more money padding your company’s collective pockets.
Any consulting firm worth its salt will offer auditing services. Not only do these audits let you get a glimpse into import and export classification, but they serve another purpose. Audits also allow your company to save money.
How? When import and export consulting firms perform an audit, they look at your history of importing and exporting. They may also review your future import/export plans.
In some situations, you could be doing everything just fine with no opportunities to save money. In other cases, you’ll find you’re spending needlessly. The consulting firm can identify areas of overspending and help you hold on to more money.
Saving cash is great, but did you know an import and export consulting firm can save you time as well? It’s true. If you’ve ever tried to conduct an import and export audit yourself, then you can attest to this. It’s a time-consuming process to say the least. This is even without factoring in any mistakes that are made during the audit that need to be fixed.
To this end, custom consultants can act as brokers. They’ll conduct any necessary audits, and even take care of completing customs paperwork for you. The work gets done correctly the first time, removing the need to go back and fix mistakes.
Also, you free up your schedule in a big way. You aren’t an import export consulting firm. When you pour your time into audits and paperwork, other necessary tasks around your company get put on the backburner. Now you can spend your time on what your company specializes in and let the consulting firm do the rest.
As we alluded to in the intro, importing and exporting goods isn’t always as simple as it seems. Many complexities exist that can make shipping goods time-consuming and/or difficult. Here are the issues you might run into when importing.
What if you’re exporting goods instead? This comes with its own set of challenges, although they’re not always the same as dealing with imports. These issues include the following.
Now that you understand more about the processes of both importing and exporting goods, you can clearly see the many areas in which difficulties may arise. This is where having a trade consulting service on your side can really help.
They can make sure you’re in export compliance. That export control can come quite in handy in avoiding damaging penalties. If you deal in international imports, a compliance program can also greatly help your company.
Such a compliance program may include elements like:
Besides their trade compliance, customs brokerage consultants can also work with you to solve the challenges you might face during importing/exporting. For example, what would you do if your product didn’t get delivered on time because of a delay? You now have a frustrated customer wondering where their package is when you can’t do much to speed up the delivery.
Maybe your goods get held up at customs because you don’t have a permit or license. You might have tried to send out a product that isn’t accepted through the CBP. Now you’re not sure what to do.
Your consultant will step in during these tight situations and give you guidance that could prevent a recurrence of such an issue.
To make importing and exporting goods happen, you need logistics experts.. If you’re lacking in these areas, do you have partners you can call on to fill in the gaps?
It depends on what type of business you are. Given that you’re importing or exporting products, you’re probably a retailer or a goods manufacturer of some sort. You may have a small logistics team and a warehouse or two, but you’d need to expand. The problem is, you’re not sure who else to reach out to.
Allow your import and export consulting firm to help. The term Rolodex might not be used so much anymore, but that’s essentially what your firm is. They have a lengthy contacts list with all sorts of relevant parties for your importing and exporting needs. These include logistics companies, freight and other transportation options, warehousing, and so much more.
Your consultants putting you in touch with these parties once again saves you time. Their suggestions spare you from the trial and error of trying to find logistics and warehousing third-party companies yourself. You’d only have online reviews to go off, and those sometimes paint a different picture than reality.
Also, you have the confidence of knowing you made the right choice for launching your own supply chain. Since you already trust in the import and export consultant, you’re more likely to trust in their recommendations, too. The consulting firm can vouch for these third parties. Overall then, you’re likely to have a pleasant, even long-term business relationship with these parties.
We saved one of the most significant benefits for last. That is, by working with an import and export consulting service, it’s possible to see an increase in both productivity and efficiency for your business.
How? Allow us to go through the services a consulting firm may offer and explain how your company’s productivity and efficiency could see a boost.
Voluntary Disclosures Can Help in the Case of a Violation
Your consulting firm may ask you to consider using voluntary disclosures in the event of a compliance violation you’re aware of. These violations may include license exceptions or exports and imports without a license when the item required one.
These mistakes happen, but a voluntary disclosure lets agencies know you strive to meet compliance and didn’t intend damages through your mistake. That could lessen penalties if they come to pass.
As you can imagine, a violation of any magnitude can curtail both productivity and efficiency. While a company won’t run completely like normal during a violation, with a voluntary disclosure, the matter can be dealt with head-on. That could drive a faster resolution, taking away less valuable time from your business.
Compliance Programs Keep Imports and Exports on Track
Speaking of violations, they again attest to the need for a compliance program for your company through the consulting firm. When you import and export goods, it’s on you to know the item has the right licensing/permit (if necessary), the item is classified correctly, and it meets all government regulations. These can include regulations from the Food and Drug Administration or FDA as well as the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA depending on what you’re shipping.
As part of a compliance program, your consulting firm may offer the following services:
Recommended Third Parties Make for a Seamless Working Relationship
We mentioned this in the last section, but when a consultancy firm recommends third parties, they’re usually trustworthy and reliable. They can assist in your company goals, as well as efficiency and productivity.
Commodity Jurisdictions Leave No Stone Unturned
Certain jurisdictions rule over the products you import or export. These include the Commerce Control List or CCL and the U.S. Munitions List or USML. The USML has 21 different categories and the CCL 10, so there’s certainly room for error.
You don’t want to guess wrong on the jurisdiction, though, as it can halt the progress of your imported or exported goods. If you run into a bind with jurisdictions, feel free to rely on your consulting team. They can quickly tell you which jurisdiction the good belongs to so that items get on the way to their destination on time.
Choosing the Right Licenses Reduces Penalty Risk
We’ve talked about the need for licenses throughout this article. Not every good requires a license, but for those that do, you can’t go without. Otherwise, you risk your items getting stopped and your company getting punished.
There are several types of licenses a company that deals in imports or exports may need. These include:
Your consulting firm can walk you through each of these licenses, explaining what they are, where and how to get them, and when you need them. Now, there’s never any need to second-guess whether you’ll have the right license to import or export goods.
An import and export consulting service can provide many benefits to a company that makes or sells goods. Consulting firms save time with audits and outsourcing, improve productivity and efficiency, and they can even connect you with warehouses and logistics companies. A good consultant can also help you understand compliance, licenses, and the general ins and outs of importing and exporting.
If you’re seeking an import consultant, call on us at USA Customs Clearance. We can help you handle everything from importing machinery to fruits and vegetables and more. We offer phone consultations to answer your importing and exporting questions. Our company can also assist you in getting a customs bond. These are necessary when importing commercial items into the US that costs $2,500 or more. This bond is mandatory for the customs clearance process.