Despite being much smaller in size, the UK is in the list of the top five import countries in the world, alongside China, Japan, Germany and the USA, and in 2016 the UK's trade reached the value of £547 billion.
With this in mind, it is useful for UK companies (all all sizes) to review their supply chain to make sure they are getting the most out of global import and export opportunities.
It's worth asking the following question - where do our products come from? Where are the components made, where are they assembled, and what is the journey that these all take before they reach the UK market for point of sale? From these answers, businesses can start auditing their own supply chain. Making any efficiencies at this stage can not only be key to keep costs low whilst maintaining quality, but can facilitate and utilise skills and markets around the globe.
Research by TNT found that the supply chain for a simple cotton t-shirt might be equivalent of a journey that covers thousands of kilometres before it even reaches the customer - an estimated 15,172km to be exact! This comprises of following the cotton from harvesting in China, through to spinning and dyeing in India, construction in Bangladesh, processing in Sri Lanka, and then finally being transported to the UK for sale.
The process of importing and exporting helps the development of many businesses, both nationally and across the globe, so it is worth having processed in place to review and refine this at regular times.