Six tips for manufacturers expanding globally

Mike Thornton, head of manufacturing at RSM, gives his top 6 recommendations for manufacturers that are considering expansion into new international markets.

Despite the challenges and risks faced by UK manufacturers when considering international expansion, the opportunity for global growth remains. Whilst all the economic and political uncertainty continues, many manufacturers are taking the view that expansion into new international markets is the right thing to do. 

With uncertainty on home soil many manufacturers are looking towards global markets to maximise favourable exchange rates and secure long-term growth. But with many looking to Europe, the US and Asia markets, macro developments including Brexit and the trade relationship between the US and China could make global expansion trickier in the short term. However, trading internationally gives manufacturers the chance to access new customers and find greater returns, so perhaps over the next year it is the time to start 'thinking global'.  

Our top 6 recommendations for manufacturers to consider when expanding internationally:

  1. Returns – Do you know which countries are likely to generate the most meaningful returns? Ensure you understand the markets through thorough research.
  2. Production – Will you need to change the way you manufacture? Make sure reconfigurations can be efficiently integrated into your existing processes and supply chains.
  3. Funding – How will you finance your overseas plans? In most cases you’ll need extra capital for new raw materials or overseas sales teams. Find out your eligibility for funding, such as international trade finance.
  4. Tax implications – Do you know how much customs duty is likely to apply? Make sure you understand the nuances about who’ll be responsible for paying the duty. And when it comes to VAT – will your exports qualify for zero rated VAT treatment? Do you have all of the necessary evidence required to support this? 
  5. Imports – How much will the destination country charge to receive goods? Research which duties you’ll need to pay to avoid your goods getting stuck at overseas ports.
  6. Presence – Do you need to set up an overseas entity? Understand whether your business needs or local rules mean you have to register a presence. 

Our latest thought leadership campaign, Global Growth, looks to provide clear guidance and knowledge that can help you with your international plans.