Recent months have seen much attention placed around the state of South Africa’s credit rating, not to mention rising commodity prices and a volatile currency market. However, Investec Import Solutions head Adam Orlin believes that there are still significant opportunities for businesses looking to import.
“There is no arguing the fact that there are global pressures on companies across industries,” he says. “And it does not matter whether you are a multinational looking at international expansion or an entrepreneur just starting out, times are tough. Decision-makers need to find ways to be more cost-efficient, while still maintaining a semblance of growth.”
In May, South African wheat prices hit an all-time high following an expected hike in import tariffs. According to the report, this works to protect farmers from unfair international competition but results in burdening consumers with increased prices.
“Certainly, there are broader industry issues at play, but what options do you have as a business wanting to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive market? This is more so the case when you are battling against not only local competitors, but cheaper international ones as well. And when it talks to your business strategy to import goods, how easy is it to comply with a myriad of regulations and process?”
This, says Orlin, is where finding the right partner becomes a critical step in the value chain. “The import process is not an easy one to undertake. From not having sight of products throughout the supply chain to being concerned about landed costs, import tariffs, and the impact it all can have on cash flow, businesses often feel intimidated. Yet, this does not have to be the case.”
Using a single provider that can be the one point of contact in the import process can mean the difference between maintaining effective business growth or stagnating due to these external factors.
In addition, a high-value import specialist will be able to finance the cost of goods as well as the forwarding and clearing costs. For small business limited by cash flow, this is a life-saver. Having that one point of contact to oversee the entire process means decision-makers can stay focused on meeting their core deliverables.
“In a world where every line item becomes critical and every day spent without products puts a business closer to bankruptcy, speed to market is vital. More so the case when imports form an integral component of business strategy,” Orlin adds.