Brand Jamaica is no guarantee for export success – Hendrickson

Despite the love for Brand Jamaica, it has become increasingly difficult to penetrate foreign markets due to competition, Hendrickson said – especially from what he termed “Jamaican-styled products” or those products which are unique to Jamaica but are being manufactured in other countries.

Brand Jamaica does not guarantee premium treatment if it cannot be verified as authentically Jamaican, like Blue Mountain Coffee, he said.

He was speaking at a breakfast forum held yesterday at the Coutleigh Hotel in New Kingston, under the theme “How to Successfully Navigate the Export Minefield” – a collaborative effort of Jamaica Exporters’ Association and National Baking Company as part of the activities for National Exporters’ Month 2015.

By exporting to foreign markets, local products undergo the rigours of meeting market standards. Hendrickson pointed out that in the United Kingdom, for example, the challenge is not limited to “harassment by customs”, though “we have earned that right”.

“You have to know the regulatory framework for where your [product is going],” he said, noting that in Canada all labels must be printed in both English and French.

Failure to comply with these standards will cause exporters to face hefty fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of US dollars and/or the dumping of the shipment.

Distribution

Having entered these foreign markets, exporters also have the problem of distribution, particularly “with distribution through third parties”. While seeking out distribution is fundamentally important, Hendrickson emphasised that close monitoring of distributors is needed as well as frequent market visits, adding that overcoming distribution challenges will have to include “teaching people to merchandise products”. He said, “You have to manage logistics with distributors.”

On the local side, Hendrickson laments the “issues of bureaucracy and taxation” that exporters have to deal with – the latter being a double-edged sword, since companies are taxed both at the consumption and customs levels. When compared to other territories in the region, products exported from Jamaica to the United States are not competitively matched to goods produced in countries like the Dominican Republic.

Some 20 years ago, however, when National Baking Company began exporting, it had to share containers with other exporters, hence, Hendrickson advocates that “cooperation with other exporters is critical”, considering that all share a common goal. He said that within that time the company has also developed relationships with State agencies, which alleviate the export process.

Energy costs also impact local organisations, Hendrickson said, and recommended that local businesses should “invest in your plants” and “cost products properly”, taking into account factory costs and distribution costs, in order to compete in the overseas on a “quality basis”. This translates into end-user pricing, which does not differ between the local distributors and overseas distributors.

“Whatever I sell to local distributors… I sell to exporters for the same price,” he said.

“There’s nothing simple or easy about business,” Hendrickson said, adding that export is “not just sending abroad”. Companies must consider the raw materials, packaging, reducing variables and buying goods on specification.

“If you think of the customer first, all your decisions will be easy… and will become easier.”

The National Baking Company exports to the United Kingdom, USA and Caricom.







 

Brand Jamaica is no guarantee for export success – Hendrickson

Despite the love for Brand Jamaica, it has become increasingly difficult to penetrate foreign markets due to competition, Hendrickson said – especially from what he termed “Jamaican-styled products” or those products which are unique to Jamaica but are being manufactured in other countries.

Brand Jamaica does not guarantee premium treatment if it cannot be verified as authentically Jamaican, like Blue Mountain Coffee, he said.

He was speaking at a breakfast forum held yesterday at the Coutleigh Hotel in New Kingston, under the theme “How to Successfully Navigate the Export Minefield” – a collaborative effort of Jamaica Exporters’ Association and National Baking Company as part of the activities for National Exporters’ Month 2015.

By exporting to foreign markets, local products undergo the rigours of meeting market standards. Hendrickson pointed out that in the United Kingdom, for example, the challenge is not limited to “harassment by customs”, though “we have earned that right”.

“You have to know the regulatory framework for where your [product is going],” he said, noting that in Canada all labels must be printed in both English and French.

Failure to comply with these standards will cause exporters to face hefty fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of US dollars and/or the dumping of the shipment.

Distribution

Having entered these foreign markets, exporters also have the problem of distribution, particularly “with distribution through third parties”. While seeking out distribution is fundamentally important, Hendrickson emphasised that close monitoring of distributors is needed as well as frequent market visits, adding that overcoming distribution challenges will have to include “teaching people to merchandise products”. He said, “You have to manage logistics with distributors.”

On the local side, Hendrickson laments the “issues of bureaucracy and taxation” that exporters have to deal with – the latter being a double-edged sword, since companies are taxed both at the consumption and customs levels. When compared to other territories in the region, products exported from Jamaica to the United States are not competitively matched to goods produced in countries like the Dominican Republic.

Some 20 years ago, however, when National Baking Company began exporting, it had to share containers with other exporters, hence, Hendrickson advocates that “cooperation with other exporters is critical”, considering that all share a common goal. He said that within that time the company has also developed relationships with State agencies, which alleviate the export process.

Energy costs also impact local organisations, Hendrickson said, and recommended that local businesses should “invest in your plants” and “cost products properly”, taking into account factory costs and distribution costs, in order to compete in the overseas on a “quality basis”. This translates into end-user pricing, which does not differ between the local distributors and overseas distributors.

“Whatever I sell to local distributors… I sell to exporters for the same price,” he said.

“There’s nothing simple or easy about business,” Hendrickson said, adding that export is “not just sending abroad”. Companies must consider the raw materials, packaging, reducing variables and buying goods on specification.

“If you think of the customer first, all your decisions will be easy… and will become easier.”

The National Baking Company exports to the United Kingdom, USA and Caricom.







 

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