To manage far-flung operations - whether sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, sales or a combination of some of these - you need reliable and timely information, Rubinson says. To have that, you must overcome the barriers posed by time, language and cultural approaches to negotiation, networking and inter-personal relationships. "To be able to control costs, such as for trade-related services or logistics, you need good information."
Cultural approaches are highly important, Rubinson notes, but lessons learned in one part of the world aren't necessarily applicable to another. "A specific product or service that's successful in one place doesn't automatically mean it will be successful elsewhere."
There are two very different approaches to dong business, he says, and it's very important to keep them uppermost in mind. The first, he says, is applicable to business done in North America and much of northern Europe. Rubinson calls it "transaction-based" and says it goes to "doing the immediate deal." Long-standing personal relationships, so crucial to the second approach, aren't nearly as important in so-called transaction-based cultures. "In much of Asia, Russia, the Middle East and others, these are all relationship-based countries, and this can be a challenge to North American-based companies.
Johnson Diversey does business in just about every country in the world, Rubinson says, and has had to come to grips with the different ways that trading partners look at things.
Finally, solid, timely, reliable information is needed if one is to properly comply with trade regulations on tariff classification, valuation and country of origin.
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