Global Sourcing Part 2 – When you absolutely have to ship overseas

Ever try shipping a computer to Thailand? Luckily, your vendor mostly like has and thus import/export certificates, VAR taxes, and other foreign requirements can be handled by those who do so routinely.

Oddly enough, you cannot just FedEx or DHL any item non-illegal item to another country nor put it in your carry-on or checked baggage. Certain electronics, computers, and other standard items for a modern office or IT project may be prohibited from being received without formal and required documentation.

In addition to fees charge by the destination country, the time frame for delivery can be up to 30 days or longer. Planning and investigation, solid quotes and delivery times are key components to creating a reasonable schedule of activities in your project plan.

This is where “padding” can be useful and adding a week or so to an estimate may prevent you from crashing your schedule later.

Make no mistake; shipping and receiving internationally can also be a nightmare with customs agents in another country, actually burning a shipment because the proper paperwork and methods to bring it into the country were not used. Such practices may be due to fear of electronics and what they might be used for together with a lack of skilled staff to determine if suspicions are warranted. In any case, you do not want to take short cuts, doubling the cost and time in your project.

Start with your company procurement department, be sure to talk with shipping regarding returned items, and learn protocol and procedures from them. Contact an international company that sells what you need and get additional information. Be sure to ask them about challenges they have seen when working with your destination county.