Making Technology Work


For today’s business, geographical boundaries are disappearing. In the global Information Society, Japan is no further away than Jarrow.

Nearly three quarters of all Japanese businesses have Internet access and use e-mail.

Exporters must overcome a range of practicalities from the time and expense of overseas travel to the difficulties of conducting business at a distance -finding buyers, monitoring distributors, handling paperwork and ensuring payment. Technology can help.

Rapid customer contact

E-mail has made the world a smaller place. At the cost of a local phone call, it is as quick and easy to e-mail a customer abroad as it is to the next town. If you deal in services or products that can themselves be stored electronically – anything from architectural plans to photos – e-mail can be used as the actual export mechanism to send the item overseas.

George Nimmo edits financial reports for Far East businesses. The companies e-mail him reports at the end of their working day. He amends and edits them into perfect English and e-mails them back for when the companies return to work in the morning.

Video conferencing allows you to meet distributors or buyers face-to-face. It lets you demonstrate your product and build up a rapport with potential customers.

A source of new markets

The Internet gives companies access to potential customers and business contacts world-wide. For researching possible markets, you can access a wealth of export information or locate useful contacts for advice and assistance overseas.

Because the Internet works mainly in English, British companies are ideally placed to make the most of the opportunities and avoid many of the overheads associated with dealing in a foreign language.

Questions & Answers

Q. How can I improve my company’s profile abroad?
A. Creating a company Web site will immediately give your products a 24-hour global presence, for very little outlay. More overseas sales is a clear incentive in creating a good site.

Genealogists Back to Roots have had a Web site for just over a year and have now established an international clientele from Botswana to the USA. 50% of their orders come via their Web site and turnover has increased by 100%.

Or you can join one of the trade directories on the Internet that list the products and services of British business. Customers overseas use these international reference sources to contact and trade with UK companies. TradeUK at the Web address is one such directory.

Q. Can I rationalise the mass of documentation that accompanies exports?
A. EDI can simplify the paperwork of shipping, dispatch and money transfer, while credit card payments over the Internet are already common, although some customers may be concerned about security. Trading electronically can minimise the paperwork, charges, risks and delays of currency exchange.

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