Small businesses go global with logistics

UPS wants to help every supply chain—both big and small—grow in a global marketplace.

Flourish in a Global Market

Small businesses make up more than half of the nation’s gross domestic product. But a vast majority of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. Businesses that ignore the global market could be missing lucrative growth opportunities.

That’s where a third-party logistics provider (3PL) can help. It can be difficult—and intimidating—for small businesses to get their product off the ground and into a global market. However, with a smart logistics strategy and proper technology, a reliable, expert 3PL can help move product efficiently, navigate through customs, and let business owners focus on the product itself rather than logistics.

A Few Things to Consider Before You Expand Beyond U.S. Borders

Develop a logistics strategy.
When first beginning to export, it’s often practical to partner with a 3PL like UPS. You’ll gain valuable expert guidance and access to world-class tools and services to automate and simplify the process of going global.

Your 3PL will initiate a planning process that considers a number of factors, including:

  • Where do orders originate?
  • Where are distribution centers located in relation to customers?
  • What are your current delivery capabilities, and what adjustments are necessary?
  • What segments of the supply chain can/should be outsourced?
  • Where are end users, manufacturers, suppliers, and trade partners located within the supply  chain?

Research export markets and identify partners.
Learn about international markets and trade partners. Visit the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce that functions like an international expertise consulting service for U.S. companies.

Move goods with multiple modes of transportation.
You can use multiple transportation modes to move goods more efficiently, including ground, rail, ocean, and air freight. A global 3PL can help you determine the best transportation combination to move goods as cost-effectively as possible.

Get your products to market.
Shipping is just one component of delivering your products to consumers in other countries. Logistics is all about choreographing the movement of goods, information, and funds into one seamless supply chain.

Improve customer service through technology.
Technology is the key to providing shipping and tracking information for your customers and employees. With the proper tech-based visibility solutions, you’ll have easy access to inventory levels, order status, and shipping information. You can also supply that information to customers proactively, reducing “where is my order?” calls.

Ensure funds with UPS Capital®.
The movement of funds is critical to a successful operation. Some fear a global supply chain may wipe out the cash needed to run its day-to-day operations. Most traditional banks are hesitant to finance in-transit cargo because they lack visibility into the movement of the goods. However, there are other types of lenders to turn to. For instance, UPS Capital, the financial services arm of UPS, can advance funds against the in-transit inventory to provide working capital earlier in the supply chain.

A high-quality global 3PL can help provide a single source for the technology, financial services, and logistics expertise needed to successfully expand into new markets and compete with larger companies.