3PL Third Party Logistics – A Strategic Expansion Partner

Doing Business in the U.S.A.

Successful international business expansion to the United States hinges on thoughtful, well informed pre-planning and reliable cross-border partnerships. Domestic and foreign accountants, immigration and business lawyers, customs brokers and logistics (marketing, warehousing, order fulfillment and distribution) specialists all play key roles in a Canadian company’s export success into the U.S.A. (Cross-border Resources).

Trade laws, regulations and policies dictate financial, business, immigration and import/export options and – under expert council, allow companies a certain level of decisiveness.  Logistics however, due to the nature of supply chain management, makes the deduction of risks and cost variables much more difficult to identify, particularly in a foreign market as large and diverse as the U.S.

Are U.S. Sales Worth the Risk?

The short answer is yes. Americans are back to work and they’re buying. Not only are they buying domestically but they’re buying foreign goods and services in greater quantities as well. In addition to the strong economy, exchange rates always make selling into the states beneficial (Exchange Rate). When the Loonie is low, you can invest Canadian capital more economically, and when it’s high, you can earn a premium on your USA sales. In addition to Americans shopping and favorable exchange rates, foreign manufactures are very anxious to sell into the booming USA economy too. Importing quality goods from Europe and Asia into the USA is another terrific business opportunity to consider. (Read more: “Eight reasons to expand to the USA – today!”)

How Do You Choose the Right Logistics Partner?

With so many 3PLs (Third Party Logistics) to choose from it’s important to match the logistics company’s expertise with your specific requirements. Like UCanTrade, Inc. many companies for example have multiple locations ‘dedicated to certain types of fulfillment’. In addition to expertise and warehousing capabilities the following questions will help determine how a 3PL ‘measures up’:

  • What are their order fulfillment strengths? B2B, B2C or both.
  • Which categories of goods do they specialize in handling? I.e. hard goods, pharma, food etc.
  • What types of shipping/handling methods do they use? I.e. ‘kit assembly, continuation plans’ etc.
  • Does their technology and systems support your fulfillment needs?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What size companies do they typically serve and how does that compare with your business?
  • Can they manage scalability and growth?

It’s very important that once you’ve shortlisted your 3PL candidates take a team and tour their facilities.

3PL As A Strategic Expansion Partner

An experienced business and logistics service provider (especially one based in the United States) becomes a strategic partner in your international business expansion enterprise weighing in on marketing, packaging, and pricing strategies, as well as planning for order returns/repairs. Their experience will help to mitigate the risks and distribution costs associated with selling and shipping goods and services in the states. The right 3PL will provide your business the ‘platform for growth and efficiency’ necessary in achieving sustainability selling to your US market and beyond.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

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Surrey Board of Trade International Trade Awards and Reception

It’s a privilege both to attend and to be an exhibitor at Surrey Board of Trade’s 10th International Trade Awards being held on Thursday, May 10th from 5:30 – 8:30 pm at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. This event not only recognizes and celebrates Surrey, B.C.’s best small and large importers and exporters but shines a spotlight on the economic benefits international trade offers Canadian companies.

We proudly join Canadian government representatives, consuls general and fellow trade exhibitors, who like UCanTrade, Inc., will be available to answer questions about doing business internationally and/or, in our case, address concerns specifically related to doing business with the U.S.A. We look forward to talking trade with you!

SBOT_Inter_TradeAward_Logo

Click here to register or for event details.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Logistics and Marketing To U.S.A.

Logistics and Marketing

More and more a company’s bottom line is impacted by its logistics; all those crucial steps between the inception of a great product/service and actually delivering it to the customer. Close consideration to process will optimize supply chain management and subsequently lower a business’ overall costs. “A well-researched and thoughtful logistics and distribution plan will save you lots of time,” advises SCORE VP and SBA blog contributor Bridget Pollack, and everyone in business knows time means money!

This is especially true if you plan on selling to an international market like the United States of America. “Logistics, or supply chain management, is becoming ever more crucial to business profit,” says Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc. Pettinger has been involved in cross-border enterprise between Canada and the U.S.A. since 1984, before NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and knows first-hand what it takes for startups, entrepreneurs and small to midsize companies alike to be sustainable in the American market. The United States – where arguably each state is like its own diverse little country, can be very lucrative with a thoughtful marketing and distribution strategy. Pollack advises, “[if your] business expands overseas (internationally) … getting your logistics in place as early as possible will certainly pay off in the long run in quicker order fulfillments, less wasted employee time and happier customers.” E-CommerceWhere hidden costs abound (almost as much as the opportunities), experience prevails. Partnering with trustworthy cross-border businesses such as customs brokers, immigration attorneys, accountants and logistics companies who can help inform your decisions, will set you on the right course toward cost effective and successful business expansion into the states and abroad.

Why UCanTrade?

UCanTrade Inc.’s primary objective is to facilitate Canadian companies, particularly those in British Columbia, to overcome the ‘border barrier’ and stretch their home offices into Washington State. We are a boutique U.S.A. Business and Logistics Services provider, in close proximity to Vancouver and B.C.’s lower-mainland. Our facilities are situated just off Interstate-5, and are close to all Blaine, WA border crossings, in Ferndale, WA.

Our array of services includes (but is not limited to): 60,000 square feet of Warehouse Space, Order Fulfillment/Pick-and-Pack, Freight Forwarding, Cross-Docking, Trade-Show Materials Storage, Shipping and Handling, Cross-Border Marketing Consulting and Product Returns/Repairs (Reverse Logistics).

We handle all sizes of freight from large overseas containers to small packages and regular business mail. Smaller than most fulfillment companies, we are nimble, capable and collaborate with our clients. Exporting is complicated. Tap into our network to find reliable cross-border resources and allow us to contribute our voice of experience to your logistics and distribution plan.

At UCanTrade, we love visitors! Please be our guest and allow us to take you on a tour of our three Whatcom County warehouse facilities. If you’re interested in more information or would like to visit, call us at (360) 380-6900, visit our website at www.UCanTrade.com or just drop in, we’ll be happy to see you.  UCanTrade’s main office is located at: 1465 Slater Rd, Ferndale, WA. Get Directions

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

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Support WWU’s Cross-Border Research

By: Jim Pettinger

The Border Policy Research Institute (BPRI) at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA has updated its website. According to the website, BPRI is a multi-disciplinary institute that undertakes research that informs policy-makers on matters related to the Canada – U.S. border, particularly in northwest Washington. Priority focus areas include: trade and transportation, economic relationships, human mobility and border security.

BPRI”s research is frequently used by federal and state/provincial governments as a basis for policy decisions. Sponsors are always welcome to assist with funding for events or research projects.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Changes in U.S. immigration could be good news for Vancouver Tech

For decades U.S. companies have sought out and successfully recruited talented foreigners to work for their American based businesses in a specialized, specific capacity. Classified under H-1B visa immigration status, “which helps employers hire foreign-born workers for high-skilled, high-paid jobs,” said Seattle immigration attorney Tahmina Watson, she’s seeing a ‘seismic shift’ in visa approvals, reports Geekwire in its December 2017 article.

Seattle corporate immigration attorney, Lola Zakharova says, ‘the spike in H-1B rejections’ is related to President Trump’s executive order titled, “Buy American, Hire American” which reportedly tasks the Departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State “to suggest policies to reduce fraud and abuse of the H-1B visa,” reports Geekwire.

These changes could be a further boon for tech development in Vancouver, already underway with the “Innovation Corridor” initiative started in 2016, says Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, B.C. (photo credit: Josiah Coates)

As reported by the New York Times in their October 2016 article, “Next Big Tech Corridor? Between Seattle and Vancouver, Planners Hope” , Microsoft president, Brad Smith said, ‘[Canada’s] more open immigration policies [were] an important factor’ in its reported $120 million investment in new Vancouver offices back in June 2016. Microsoft was reportedly aiming to hire more than 750 people in the city.

Microsoft’s commitment to the Cascadia Innovation Corridor appears to have ‘deepened’ as it has reportedly backed a Seattle-Vancouver high speed rail study which was announced at the second Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference, held in Seattle this past September. “By linking our two cities together through cross-border collaboration, research, funding and educational opportunities,” said Smith, “we will spur new economic activity and opportunity that creates a better future for everyone.”

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Selling Into the USA: Easier Than You Think

By: Jim Pettinger

Have you considered the potential benefits of exporting your company’s products into the United States? If not, you may be neglecting the largest, richest and most responsive market in the world – a market that lies right at British Columbia’s doorstep.

Export from CanadaUnfortunately, many Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs are either confused or intimidated when they hear the words “export” or “international trade.” But with the right planning, small business owners in Canada can and should approach the U.S. like an extension of the Canadian market. Once you’ve developed some basic procedures for dealing with the international boundary, exporting to the U.S. can be both easy and lucrative.

A Huge and Receptive Market

The United States is a huge market of more than 300 million consumers who welcome foreign products. What’s more, the U.S. government is very cooperative when it comes to helping Canadian businesses get a foothold in U.S. markets.

As a Canadian business owner, you can readily obtain a B-1 visa that will enable you to travel within the U.S. for marketing and other business purposes for up to six months. And once you’ve gone through the appropriate security procedures (like basic fingerprinting and photographing), you can have access to fast-track border crossings unavailable to most other visitors.

The Canadian government has also instituted programs to help facilitate business across our southern border. In addition, Canadian businesses are generally well-respected in the U.S. and considered to be trustworthy. Canadian goods and services are often perceived to be of high quality and a “cut above” by U.S. customers.

Secret to Success: Think Domestic

The secret to successfully exporting your products or services to the U.S. is to “think domestic” by establishing a presence for your business in the United States. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical presence-you just need for your U.S. customers to perceive that your business has a presence south of the border.

In other words, you should organize all the logistics of your business so that American customers do not believe they will have any additional concerns in dealing with a Canadian firm. For example, they need to know that they can deal in U.S. dollars and have their products shipped from or returned to a U.S. address. All of your communications, logistics and other activities should be handled from a real or virtual U.S. branch office or warehouse.

Regardless of whether your U.S. branch or warehouse is real or virtual, having a U.S. presence will pay big dividends in cost savings, response time and control. You can plan ahead to anticipate storage of trade show booths and the purchase of collateral materials in the U.S., as well as for returns and repairs. And you can avoid headaches by shipping your products, literature and other material directly through your nearest U.S. port of entry.

It’s also crucial that you get to know the U.S. marketplace first-hand. Many Canadians think they know everything about the U.S. through what they see and hear in the media, but you can’t just start advertising to Americans from your Canadian base and expect immediate success. You need to spend some time with your “boots on the ground” conducting first-person research in potential new market areas in the U.S.

Also, remember that the United States is a huge market, so you must focus your limited resources. (Related article: Focus, focus, focus). Most Canadian success stories in the U.S. result from niche, rather than broad, marketing efforts. Your company’s specific niche market in the U.S. consists only of those prospects you can reasonably afford to reach.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Why is Canada’s Thanksgiving different from the U.S.A.’s?

While their dinner tables are dressed the same, ironically the reported reason Canadian’s had “first petitioned [to even have] the holiday was to celebrate their luck at not being American.”

In the mid-19th century there was an urgent ‘crisis of faith’ exacerbated by ‘Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species’, prompting protestant ministers in Upper Canada to establish a religious holiday to give Thanks to god’s bounty and reignite the Christian faith. Later on Thanksgiving took on new meaning as Canadians expressed their thanks for not being drug into the U.S. Civil War.

While it’s reportedly true the turkey and trimmings idea was spawned from the U.S.A, each of the great North American nations have their own Thanksgiving history – intertwined, yet unique.

At UCanTrade, Inc. it is our privilege to facilitate Canada / U.S.A. cross-border enterprise and we extend to our Canadian colleagues and friends our warmest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving 2017!!!

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: Written by Olivia B. Waxman, October 6, 2017, “The Surprising Reason Canadian Thanksgiving Is Different From the U.S. Version”)

 

The Loonie – A Hindrance or An Opportunity?

Whether it was to catch a cheaper flight from Bellingham to Las Vegas or to shop at an I-5 outlet mall, since 2013 many British Columbians were flocking to the nearest lower-mainland border crossing and travelling to the states in search of a good deal.

Canadian dollar the loonieHowever, a weakened Loonie curbed many Canadian shoppers who’d been making the trip south of the border to stay home. Indeed throughout Washington State’s Whatcom County, retailers in border towns like Sumas, Blaine, Lynden and further south to Ferndale and Bellingham have seen dramatic drops in Canadian shoppers since 2013 (BPRI Winter 2017 Brief: Changes in Canadian Shopping Visits in Northwest Washington, 2013 to 2016).

Interestingly though the loonie has rallied in value to a little over 80 cents to the American dollar. Will we see a surge in cross-border activity again here in Whatcom County? We hope so! However, even in light of recent news, there’s more to the ‘cross-border currency’ story than shopping. Like SELLING! CADUSD20yrs

Historically the USD has dominated over the Loonie as reflected in this 20 year chart. (Source)

A paradigm shift. Can Canadians consider the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar (CAD) – USA Dollar (USD) not as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity? They should! Here’s why.

Assuming all the proverbial ducks are in a row, ‘I’s dotted and ‘T’s crossed, the savvy B.C. business owner and entrepreneur stands to earn at least 20% more on their U.S. sales in part due to the favorable exchange rate.

“Here are the simple facts” says UCanTrade, Inc. president and dual citizen, Jim Pettinger: “(1) most U.S. land border crossings have been upgraded and are fully open for Canadian goods and people, (2) each sale you make for US$100 nets you C$120 or more, (3) your business presence in the U.S. can lead to a green card and dual-citizen status if you wish , and (4) American buyers (a) love Canadian goods, (b) have double the available money of their Canadian counterparts and (c) make their buying decisions at least  three times as fast.”

If history is an indicator then a long-term outlook is for a weak Loonie. Canadian companies need to immediately seize the opportunity to stake a position in the lucrative U.S. market. With careful planning, the initial cost can be minimal, but the payoff could be enormous.

Interested in learning more about doing business in the USA? Attend our next DBUSA Seminar &/or download this whitepaper “Ten Tips for Better Border Business”.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Doing Business in the USA – Seminar

Canadian companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs who attend this ‘fast-paced’ seminar will learn from cross-border experts how to ‘determine an export strategy’ and ‘understand their responsibilities’ to U.S. government agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration.

Professional veteran cross-border immigration and business lawyers, accountants, customs brokers and logistics providers will guide attendees through the steps of exporting into the U.S.A., as well as be on hand to answer questions and offer consultation.

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017
Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm Pacific Time
Place: Hyatt Vancouver, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2R7
Fee: $75.00 CAD plus GST (per attendee)

Questions?  Contact us at (360) 380-6900 for more information or,

CLICK FOR EVENT INFO / TO REGISTER

The Doing Business in the USA seminar is presented by:

dbusa

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Order Returns – Cause and Effect

Attributed to the overwhelming increase in e-commerce holiday orders, UPS has hailed January 5th ‘National Returns Day’ because of the volume of product returns it manages during the first week of January – in particular on the 5th.

Ecommerce is on the rise and it’s not only putting increased pressure on shipping couriers like FedEx and UPS but the entire supply chain (Related Article: A Logistics Revolution). While business increases all parties struggle to adapt to the demand. In order to ‘stay ahead of the curve’ both shipping giants have partnered with specialized companies, like UCanTrade, Inc., to better control the costs and challenges presented by “reverse logistics”.

Further, their specialized third party logistics (3PL) partners work closely with retailers/e-tailers to establish (among other things) an effective return policy to best maximize their profits. “[An] easy-to-use returns experience should be one of several retail strategies to enhance customer loyalty and manage the cost of returns processing,” said UPS chief marketing officer Teresa Finley.

This is especially true for Canadian (e-commerce) companies exporting their goods to the U.S. and selling to American consumers; notorious for their high customer service expectations. An effective return policy can give exporters a competitive advantage not only with other Canadian businesses but also with US retailers as well. (Related Article: Return to Sender – What’s Your Policy?)

Consider your supply chain, the cause and effect of returns and then manage it in both directions – there AND back.

UCanTrade, Inc. is a boutique, third-party logistics and warehousing services provider situated 15 minutes south of the B.C. / Washington State, Blaine border crossings. Proudly providing business and logistics services to Canadian importers and exporters, since 1984.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source Article)