Chapter 8. It's a Small World: Effectively Managing Global Trade

The world is growing smaller every day. Sure, it's a cliché, but when it comes to trade it's never been truer. More and more, we are buying goods from other countries, and we are sending our exports abroad. (Figure 8-1 illustrates the sharp growth in exports.) We live in an age of unprecedented globalization.

Today, a doctor in India might analyze X-rays from a patient in London, or a Japanese auto company might build cars with Brazilian parts in a factory in the United States. The pace of exchange is only speeding up as new free trade treaties are inked from Central America to East Asia. Companies are increasingly sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing goods on a global basis.

The open doors mean business opportunities, but they also mean new headaches. Managing global trade adds an extra layer of complexity to any business. It's one thing to source a widget from Walla Walla, but an entirely different experience to get it from a factory in Guangzhou, Bangalore, or Minsk. How do you ensure the widget arrives at the same time every month? What global trade treaties need to be complied with? How can you track all the documentation?

When it comes to exporting goods, how do you ensure that the thousands of orders you ship every day don't end up in an embargoed country or, worse yet, in the hands of terrorists? You're probably thinking "Wait ... terrorists?!?" Before you reach for the antacid, read on.

By creating an organized ...

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