M&D Companies: Enter Global Markets on Your Terms With Advance Planning

  • Global expansion
  • 6/29/2016
Global Advanced Planning

Manufacturers and distributors often take up international commerce at a customer’s behest, but advance planning is a far better strategy on the world stage.

Manufacturers and distributors that conscientiously and assertively develop global markets typically have twice the growth rate of those that merely chase opportunities as they arise. Like with most facets of business, planning makes a huge difference in outcomes. 

How does your business compare?

Find out what your peers are thinking about growth, leadership, and other issues with the Manufacturing and Distribution Outlook report. Download the report

According to CLA’s fifth annual Manufacturing and Distribution Outlook report, many companies enter the global market or supply chain to fill a customer’s specific need, and while this kind of happy accident can help you get your international feet wet, it comes with considerable risk. It’s tough to fault a company for taking advantage of any growth opportunity that presents itself, but advance planning is a far better strategy on the world stage. 

Use the results of our annual survey to see how your business compares in the industry.

Benefits of an export plan

A deliberate, customized export growth plan can give your company three distinct benefits. 

More control over the terms 

When you take a proactive approach to fulfilling the needs and wants of a customer, you will likely have more say in how you execute. Customers look for suppliers that provide ideas and answers, and they are often willing to pay a premium to receive them. On the other hand, when you wait to be asked to participate, the customer tends to drive the relationship and calls the shots. Many will shop the opportunity among other manufacturers or distributors, turning your value-added product into a commodity. 

Reduced risk and uncertainty 

Entering foreign markets without experience can increase the risk of loss or theft; there are security issues associated with transporting goods across international lines. Unfamiliarity with logistics and customs procedures can create delays that impact the entire supply chain (regardless of size). International transactions can also be financially tricky, and if they aren’t managed properly, they can clog up your cash flow. Determine the markets you want to enter, chart the course in advance, and anticipate the constraints you’ll likely encounter, both logistically and financially. 

Enhanced capacity management and diversification 

Many manufacturers struggle with concentrations and diversification. Entering different geographic markets can help offset the volatility of your local market and even out peaks and valleys. Venturing into another hemisphere can also create different seasonal opportunities, spreading production into a year-round schedule. 

Planning for anticipated growth 

Manufacturers and distributors that are actively participating in the global markets project global sales will compose a greater percentage of their overall revenue in coming years. Half of CLA survey respondents said they generate 10 percent or less of their revenue from sales outside of the United States. Typically, this is a reactionary position — participating when required — and the same companies expect that percentage to shrink three years from now. But the proactive businesses — those with a larger stake in the global market (as much as 25 percent revenue from non-U.S. sales) expect to see increases ranging from 24 to 34 percent. The message here is clear: The more intentional your global plans, the better your results will likely be. 

It is also worth noting that only 7 percent of survey respondents listed “competing in a global environment” as one of their top two growth strategies. Instead, most expect to grow by expanding relationships with their current customers, entering new industries and markets, and developing new products and capabilities. 

How we can help 

Planned entry into the global market mitigates risk and can help your company realize a diversification sales plan that drives greater volume and profitability, both of which are essential to building your business’s value and sustainability. 

Don’t sit back and wait for a customer to escort you onto the international scene. Take charge of your own global destiny and enter it on your terms. We can help you lay the groundwork through our affiliation with Nexia International. This network of professional services firms allows us to call on the experience and insight of businesspeople on the ground, doing business in almost any country you choose. 

Likewise, foreign companies seeking to establish themselves in the United States can tap into CLA’s global concierge services to answer questions and resolve challenges on everything from accounting, taxation, and entity formation, to banking, facilities, and human resources. 

Download Resiliency and Growth: Fifth Annual Manufacturing and Distribution Outlook for more on this and other industry issues. 

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