Your company has invested a lot of resources into developing foreign suppliers for its products in countries such as China so that it can gain a competitive sales advantage over its rivals.
If you’ve ever imported anything, you will most likely have heard of a document called the “Bill of Lading”. The “Bill of Lading” lists all of the information about your shipment, including your name, your Supplier’s name, and an outline of the products being shipped.
But did you know that in many countries, customs make this import information accessible to everyone. This means that your competitors can easily find out who is supplying products to you and then buy from them!
On the opposite side, did you know that your suppliers can also find out what countries you are shipping to and then use this information to contact your direct competitors and sell to them as well!
So how can your competitors find your information?
Your competitors can use the services of consulting companies such as mine to research exporters/ importers or they can use paid online tools to try and find out for themselves.
It is worth noting that currently this information is only available for Import Records in relation to shipments arriving via boat and not air.
How to Protect Your Supplier Information.
There are two basic approaches:
1. Get an exclusivity agreement with your Supplier (quite often this is not very successful).
2. Use a 3rd Party “Exporter of Record” Service.
My company provides this service for companies who are purchasing from Suppliers in China. With this service, my company becomes the “Supplier of Record” for your exports from China. This means that my company details will appear on the “Bill of Lading” instead of your actual Chinese suppliers’ details. This then hides the information from any rival who wants to find out who you are actually purchasing from.
There are many countries where competitors can access customs information to find out what companies are supplying products to you.
This information is available on the “Bill of Lading”. You need to control what information is displayed on the Bill of Lading such as “Supplier” and “Exporter of Record”.
There are companies such as my company who can, at a very low cost, can protect your Supplier information on the Bill of Lading.
To find out more please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org