|Export Marketing for a Small Handicraft Business (Oxfam, 1996, 192 p.)|
|8 Fulfilling orders|
1 An export order contains eight main features: the product. labels and packaging, price, quantity, payment terms, delivery date, method of shipment and documentation required. All these details must be complied with in order to fulfil the order to the customer's specification. There are several possibilities for misunderstanding, often due to lack of complete clarity in the words used by the importer on the order form. Exporters sometimes cannot comply with one or more of the requirements, or may wish to suggest changes favourable to the importer. In all cases, it is important to discuss the situation with the customer before proceeding to produce and despatch. All orders should be confirmed by the exporter to the importer.
2 Regular communication with customers will give you the best chance of obtaining further orders. Inform yourself about the timetables and procedures according to which your customers make decisions, so that you may have your offer in front of them at the right time. If you do not have your own fax machine, it is advisable to get access to a reliable fax service. Communication breeds confidence in relationships; lack of communication removes it.
3 Packing must be undertaken with great care, in order to transport a consignment safely and economically to your customer. Protection must be given against breakage, pilferage, and damage caused by changes in climate. Many common problems are avoidable by taking simple precautions, such as packing tightly to avoid movement inside boxes, and punching holes in plastic bags to allow ventilation. Pack with consideration for the cost of transportation, and the handling of the boxes by the importer. There is a system of marking packages and export invoices in order to identify international cargo.