Having a good product is only the beginning. Many companies are finding that success in the demanding North American market depends not just on the quality of the goods themselves – vital though that is – but on the ability to provide full customer service, writes Gary Waller, Group Chairman of international freight forwarders, The Alliance Group.
British goods may have a certain cachet with American buyers, but that does not mean that the American consumer is willing to get involved in the complexities or expense of international phone calls. He or she expects prompt delivery, an efficient repair and back-up service, just like the local firm down the road. Being three thousand miles away across an ocean will not be tolerated as an excuse.
A company could of course use an agent to handle its affairs in the USA, but effective partners can be hard to find. Firms can also set up their own US office or organisation, but this is not only expensive, but a daunting prospect in terms of management time and commitment.
The cost of immigration fees, payroll costs, medical, dental and workers’ insurance and social security taxes all mount up. Property leases are another potential minefield.
Because of these problems, a full US presence was restricted only to the largest British firms. But now there is another way of doing business across the pond. The English voice that answers the phone at a British firm’s US sales office could well belong to an employee of the Alliance Group, or more particularly, its Export Manufacturer’s Representation service.
The company’s US headquarters offers overseas exporters a real presence in the region, in effect an intermediary between themselves and their American clients or target audience.
Services offered include:
- In the initial start-up phase, a company may need to incorporate a company, register for state and federal taxes and set up US bank accounts. Practical matters such as premises, phone lines, IT systems and stationery all have to be attended to.
- Secondly, the actual movement of goods has to be taken care of. Alliance can also set up inter-company invoicing systems which can bring significant tax and cash flow advantages.
- Thirdly, there are the operational functions that Alliance can provide.
Alliance established a US presence in 1986 and has more than a decade’s direct experience, not only in shipping, forwarding and brokerage, but also in all other aspect of inter-state commerce, marketing and sales and distribution practices. The history of the Alliance company goes back to the mid-1970s when the company was established as a freight forwarder with a single small office in London by Group Chairman, Gary Waller with just £1,000.
Today, the company’s network covers the entire US, Canada, Australasia, Africa, the Far East and Asia boasting annual sales in excess of $50 million.
See: www.agc.as – Click “US Division & Onsite Client Representative Services”
For more information or call: 01268 410211