Benefit of international sales markets
The larger a company becomes, the more important the search for new international sales markets for its own products, preliminary products or supplier parts becomes. However, new markets also mean new regulations and framework conditions. The employees in export-related jobs are active in these areas.
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German export secures jobs in the country
Even if there are repeated discussions at international level about the export surplus in the German trade balance, it must be stated that around one in four jobs in Germany depends on exports from the German economy. In connection with globalization, not only does trade increase, but also the production processes are internationalized. In the manufacture of complex technical products, the global value chains play an increasingly important role, which ensures a further increase in foreign trade at all stages of production.
Exports and their general conditions
Export and import are often referred to as opposite pairs for an economy. In relation to the company level (import of raw materials or preliminary products for production on the one hand, export of processed goods on the other) this may be correct. For the individual countries, however, exports are usually more important because they lead to foreign exchange earnings and the use or expansion of competitive advantages on the world market or in individual international economic sectors. Accordingly, exports are usually promoted through administrative simplifications, while imports are made more difficult by customs hurdles. However, this does not mean that the export is not also regulated by tax laws and other regulations. Depending on the product, there may also be list-related regulations relating to import and export permits. These are defined in the Foreign Trade Ordinance (AWV).
As a result of these regulations, the export of goods, technologies and software to certain countries may require a permit. In particular, the controlled export of weapons and armaments as well as technical support is affected by these regulations.
However, small exporting companies outside of the armaments sector are also affected by export controls, because the EU’s export control regulations also apply to so-called dual-use goods, i.e. goods that can be used for both civil and military purposes. In addition, according to the various EU regulations on combating terrorism, the final destination, the end use and the end recipient must be checked carefully. There are also other general or country-specific EU embargo regulations that list people and organizations. When goods are exported, other multinational contracts, such as B. the Washington Convention on the Protection of Endangered Species can be taken into account. This agreement aims to regulate sustainable trade in protected animal and plant species.
Export clerks and export merchants
Depending on the size or product group, it is important for manufacturing companies to also sell their goods on foreign markets. This is where contacts with potential customers abroad are established and maintained. Employees from sales, field service, purchasing, production, design and customer service work together to achieve this goal. New sales markets are determined and analyzed, sales statistics and sales offers are created, contacts are maintained with dealers and interested parties abroad as well as with the field service. In cooperation with the sales department, new customers and orders are acquired, the corresponding contracts are negotiated and packaging and transport are organised.
In the operative processes and in the cooperation with the customers, the role of the export clerk plays a central role. You will work in internationally active companies in the areas of forwarding, industry or trade and you will continuously find out about markets and competitors in other countries. In addition, they are also familiar with the legal situation in the individual countries as well as with the social, political and economic situation there, i.e. with all factors that can have an impact on sales opportunities.
As part of customs clearance and the transfer of goods, the export clerks have other typical everyday activities, such as:
- Preparation of offers
- complete processing of an order
- complete entry of an order digitally
- Coordination of scheduled delivery dates
- Handling customs formalities
- Processing of complaints
- Administration of documents
- Responding customer inquiries
- aggregation of costs in comparison to other costs
- Closing of the neccessary insurance contract
The requirements for export merchants and export clerks are diverse, so they have to have different qualifications and skills. Accuracy and reliability are not the only important factors, they are also required in communication. The export clerks are often in contact with customers from all over the world and have to convince them with a polite and professional demeanor. Furthermore, they have to coordinate with forwarding agents and partner companies regarding the international transport of goods. A prerequisite for working as an export clerk is a completed apprenticeship, for example as a freight forwarding clerk, and professional experience in export processing is desirable. Due to the activity with an international focus, a secure command of at least one foreign language (generally English) is required.
Supply chains: risk and responsibility
It is becoming increasingly important to have a good knowledge of the suppliers. In addition to obtaining information from credit agencies, an efficient risk management system is also an advantage. Supplier data relevant to purchasing is stored here. These can include sales, number of employees or profit. These key figures can in turn be supplemented by additional SAP data, such as the turnover that the company achieves with the individual suppliers, which parts are purchased there, what the current prices are and what the quality figures of the suppliers look like.
In the context of global trade relations and supply chains, reliability plays a major role. Foreign suppliers in particular, some of whom are scattered around the world, or the availability of important raw materials should be kept under constant review. The risk of delivery delays and failures must be minimized as much as possible. However, it cannot always be completely ruled out. This applies in particular to external influences for which the supplier cannot be held responsible, e.g. Natural disasters, the closure of borders as a result of conflicts or wars or the blocking of important international shipping routes. Here it is important to be able to fall back on alternative sources of supply or to create appropriate stocks in order to be able to bridge a certain period of time.
Companies that are confronted with the question of working conditions in the production countries in international purchasing should also keep a special eye on the suppliers here, as this point is increasingly the focus of the media. Many companies in the German textile industry and textile trade provide an example of this e.g. in cooperation with international non-governmental organizations, ensure a minimum standard for employees in emerging and third world countries in terms of wages and working conditions.