Three Factors to Consider in Purchasing Foreign Supplies

It is common knowledge that the issues a company faces in foreign markets can affect the pricing and availability of goods in the U.S. however, that isn’t what’s on most people’s minds when they go to purchase goods. In today’s global market, sometimes even a small problem can have a ripple effect across the globe. Here’s a look at some of the most common problems.


When importing materials, parts or partially finished products from another country, manufacturers have been known to experience complications due to contaminated products. This isn’t something exclusive to the food industry. From lead to pesticides, contamination is a broad concern.

The costs of contamination to a business are widespread. Production time is lost locating another more reputable supplier. If contaminated products reach the consumer, additional costs are incurred including recalls and medical expenses and court costs in the worst-case.

Often, products become unavailable as the manufacturer restarts production with another supplier and undergoes inspection as a result of the contamination.

Political Unrest

Unrest in the country or region where the supplier is located can greatly affect the products being made in the U.S. Anything that delays shipment of materials or supplies will also delay products in getting to the shelves, resulting in lost profits and customers.

Economic Unrest

The market has found that economic recession can cripple a country’s exports just as effectively as political unrest. Factory shut-downs due to bankruptcy or financial instability will net the same result as a shutdown due to conflict. In both cases, the supply chain is cut and American manufacturers must find another source for their supplies.

In a global economy, problems on the other side of the globe can affect the supply chains of manufacturers and consumers here at home. More and more companies are looking locally for their resources, but there still many many things for which manufacturers continue to look overseas. Fortunately, vigilance in international affairs and a contingency plan can help minimize customer inconvenience.

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