Sending MRO parts and tools outside the UK can be difficult, both in terms of logistics and compliance. But by working with a global supplier it’s possible to outsource the complexity
"A global supplier such as RS will get the right quality of equipment, delivered anywhere in the world in a fast, compliant way "Lee Kilminster, Sales & Marketing Director, Emerging Markets & Export Solutins, RS Components
Mark of best practice
“This accreditation, this mark of best practice, is important,” said Kevin Shakespeare, Director of Stakeholder Engagement at the IOE&IT, “but what impressed me was the emphasis on going beyond that to really say we need to evidence best practice. RS Components very much get the importance of getting it right.
“As part of an accreditation of RS Components for Best Export Practice, I visited RS Components in Corby to review their export processes and meet the employees engaged in the export process. Besides reviewing and discussing export practices, I also reviewed their accreditations and customer feedback.
“Throughout the process, RS Components showed a strong approach to export with thorough, well-documented processes. The staff involved in the export process are knowledgeable and experienced, all together evidencing strong, effective and competitive export processes.”
"This accreditation, this mark of best practice, is important − but what impressed me was the emphasis on going beyond that to really say we need to evidence best practice. RS Components very much get the importance of getting it right"Kevin Shakespeare, Director of Stakeholder Engagement at the Institute of Export and International Trade
RS Components is one of only three companies to have been awarded the accreditation. It recognises RS Export Solutions team’s commitment to delivering exceptional service; their end-to-end export processes; their experience in international trade; and the way they keep up-to-date with export disciplines through regular training programmes.
For Lee Kilminster, it’s all about getting it right for customers in a highly complex world. “Trust is important in the export business,” he says, “because as soon as we accept that order, we have your brand reputation in our hands.
“We take the export service that we provide extremely seriously. It’s a very complex environment to operate in but it’s also very rewarding. And we take a lot of pride in the solution that we offer our customers.”
"Trust is important in the export business because, as soon as we accept that order, we have your brand reputation in our hands"Lee Kilminster, Sales & Marketing Director, Emerging Markets & Export Solutions, RS Components
He emphasises the benefits to a company operating in more than one country of working with a global supplier that is capable of delivering products wherever they are needed − ensuring quality and consistency of service, whatever world events may occur.
“Our extensive Brexit contingency plans meant that we could continue to support our customers even in a no-deal Brexit situation. Then within weeks, we were launched into the COVID crisis,” he says.
The pandemic led to border closures which put pressure on shipping and led to restrictions on what could be shipped and when. Airlines and carriers reduced their services and costs increased, says Kilminster.
“Despite these challenges, we continued to support our customers to get their products where they needed them. By having robust processes in place to ensure export compliance, crises and export challenges like these are just part of our day to day jobs,” he adds.
It’s important to choose a global supplier who understands the complexities of exporting, says Kilminster. “There are items classified as hazardous that need to be packaged and documented correctly,” he points out.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean toxic chemicals, it can apply to simple lithium batteries. At RS Components, our systems are designed to ensure that all batteries are packed securely in the right type of transport and that our team is qualified to complete all the appropriate documentation.”
Taking away the pain
It’s also vital to ensure that items are not supplied to countries that have sanctions or embargoes in place, or to anyone who appears on a ‘denied parties’ list. Checks also need to be made for ‘dual use’ items that could potentially have a military use and may require an export licence.
And it’s not just the obvious suspects that can fall foul of this particular law, says I0E&IT’s Kevin Shakespeare. “Sometimes innocent goods, even toothpaste believe it or not, can require an export licence,” he adds.
The sheer volume of documentation and compliance means that it is essential to partner with a global supplier that has the specialist knowledge needed to take on the task.
“The issue our customers talk to us about the most is getting the right documentation,” says Kilminster. “They want the right support and advice. In short, they want a supplier to take the pain away by handling the entire end-to-end process.”
"Suppliers need logistical capability, combined with product range and compliance expertise, to ensure MRO products arrive when and where they are needed, while ticking all legislative boxes"Lee Kilminster, Sales & Marketing Director, Emerging Markets & Export Solutions, RS Components
He cites the example of an urgent order of cables for an oil rig. “The export documentation was raised and the items were packed in under two hours. The products were flown out to the oil rig on a dedicated helicopter. This was all for £70 of cables, but the knock-on cost of production downtime made it worth it.
“We can deliver products anywhere in the world, from Iceland to the Falkland Islands, as long as there’s not an embargo in place,” adds Kilminster. “This is the sort of logistical capability, combined with product range and compliance expertise, that companies need to be looking for in suppliers to ensure their MRO products arrive when and where they want them, while ticking all legislative boxes.”