Globalization can provide lucrative business opportunities for companies able to overcome the unique challenges associated with international operations. Even the most experienced businesses can be overwhelmed at the prospect of hiring and managing a remote workforce, complying with foreign legal requirements, and conforming to unfamiliar social customs. Over the past decade, Skycore Aviation, a global leader in aviation services, has successfully executed contracts in the US, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Mena Region. In the course of pursuing these ventures, Skycore has developed four cornerstone principals necessary for the success of any international business operation.
1. Understand the Culture
Prior to commencing business operations in a foreign country, it is important to understand the local social customs. Failing to do so can be a recipe for disaster. Due diligence on such matters should include a thorough inquiry into the prevailing religions, attitudes about family and expectations regarding work habits. Input from local residents is valuable and should be diligently sought. It is unwise to assume that Western culture is universally accepted abroad. Americans may find it challenging to follow local customs, which are new and can conflict with Western ideals. A prudent businessman will want to identify and deconflict such issues before they become problematic.
2. Establish Strong Communication Ties
Establishing a reliable and effective communication channel is critical with international worksites. Remote locations and time zone differences present communication challenges that can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and confusion. Utilizing a standardized communications plan that mandates the submission of daily reports and situational reports (SITREPS) guarantees all parties remain adequately informed. Even with a robust Communications Plan, there is no substitute for personal contact. Frequent visits to remote work sites and foreign customers not only aid in the dissemination of information, they also foster strong interpersonal relationships.
3. Create an Internal Compliance Checklist
Working abroad presents numerous regulatory challenges related to export, tax, labor, insurance and banking. Developing a firm understanding of the applicable US and local laws is critical to avoiding delays, costs overruns, investigations and possible fines. Consider hiring a local attorney to insure your business plan comports with local laws. Before working in a new location, it is wise to draft a compliance checklist to ferret out potential pitfalls. Carefully educate your personnel and provide them with the Compliance Checklist to insure they understand all of the applicable laws. Periodically, review your checklist, conduct refresher training, and audit the efficacy of your company’s compliance efforts.
4. Find Local Help for Sourcing Logistics
Competent and efficient logistics are crucial to the success of any international business operation. In resource constrained countries, it can be quite difficult to build an adequate supply chain. A local expeditor should be able to source goods and services efficiently and cost-effectively. Such an individual ought to be capable of assisting the company with leasing housing and office space, renting vehicles, obtaining work visas, and providing assistance with Customs matters. A competent expeditor minimizes headaches, increases productivity, and reduces costs.
Whether you are an individual working abroad or a program manager running an international operation, vigilance in these four cornerstone areas will maximize the chances of business success. Skycore Aviation is an international helicopter personnel services and UH-60A Black Hawk provider (www.blackhawk360.com). Our knowledge and experience enable Skycore to provide personnel and turnkey solutions for helicopter programs tailored to meet our customer’s operations, maintenance and training needs. To stay atop of the rotary wing industry, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.