An American business purchasing products from foreign countries certainly creates many challenges. When working with a foreign company there can be some difficulty with achieving a positive final outcome.

A few issues that can arise include:

  • Misunderstandings due to language barriers and “lost in translation”
  • Challenges with manufacturing products
  • In addition, the difficulty of repairing products 

Communication Issues in Doing Business Abroad 

Doing BusinessWorking with other countries opens the door for communication gaps. This could be due to a simple misunderstanding. On the other hand, the gap could be caused by “lost in translation”. In other words, language barriers or translation challenges that create unwelcome errors. 

Whether the communication is happening through emails or even over the phone, barriers exist. These communication barriers can prevent the foreign company from fully understanding the needs of the American company.

They can also cost the American company more money on materials. This can happen due to different terms of products or even various means of measurement. Sometimes in these cases, the foreign company may make assumptions. However, if those assumptions are incorrect, the entire product could be wasted. It can be difficult to bridge the gap of communication which costs the company significant time and money.

Manufacturing Issues

Another issue that can go along with communication includes problems with the actual manufacturing process. If there is a gap in communication there is also a chance that there will be difficulties instructing the foreign country on how to manufacturer the product. If instructions are misunderstood or they have incorrect translations, the foreign business will have a difficult time producing the product.

When there is an issue with manufacturing, there is often a need for a representative from the American company to go on location to the foreign company. Travel costs run high. Especially when traveling abroad. In addition, traveling will also take up useful time that could be utilized for other projects.

Commonly, you can trace manufacturing issues back to communication. However, with no communication gaps, both companies would be able to achieve success through all the stages of production.   

Repair Issues

Another issue that can come from poor communication is damage. Some damage may occur during manufacturing or shipping. If the foreign company attempts repairs, the situation could become worse. Especially, if there was confusion with producing the product in the first place. Furthermore, it is difficult to troubleshoot a problem when they are not in physical proximity.

A company cannot plan for repairs on goods damaged during shipping. There will have to be replacement of pieces when damage occurs. There is no guarantee that repairs will actually fix the problem. However, even if the repairs provide a short-term solution, both parties need to focus on a long-term fix as well.  

Communication, manufacturing, and repair issues are serious concerns. These are all problems that can happen when doing business outside of America. When language barriers exist, it is difficult for everyone to understand the solutions for these problems.

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