JWN chairman advises entrepreneurs to 'follow regulations'
Entrepreneurs looking to forge into the export market are being urged to play by the rules.
The advice was shared by Clement 'Jimmy' Lawrence, chairman of J. Wray and Nephew (JWN) Limited and the JWN Foundation, during the Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA)/Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) Peer Share Session, held at his company's Spanish Town Road Hospitality Room last Wednesday.
"You could lose a large shipment if you don't follow regulations," warned Lawrence, whose company - a leading player in the export business - was approached by the JMA to share its experiences and host the function that shared ideas among large and small business operators.
Key to brand success, Lawrence explained, is customer service, quality and reputation, as "that is what has earned us multiple awards".
Dwight Balli, the company's production director, highlighted the importance of adhering to certification standards on the basis that "each market has different specifications", noting the varying levels of tolerance, for example, in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
EdgeChem, another player in the export market, weighed in on due diligence during the recent Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA)/ Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) Peer Share Session.
"It's very important that when you're shipping overseas you make sure that you do your due diligence, because if you ship and you can't collect, then you'll be burnt; and sometimes if you're not careful, you don't get your money and then you're 'hubbed up' having to find the funding to take care of these ... or it takes you into a long, legal battle to get your money," explained Melissa McHargh, general manager, EdgeChem.
"So, cash upfront until you're comfortable with a distributor," she advised starters.
The session was lively, with input from all the participating companies relating to their experiences, where and how to get information to enhance marketing opportunities and how to generate growth, even through partnerships.
"It's big companies and initiatives like these that help small manufacturers really break into new markets and really learn the process, because the process of exporting is quite challenging at times, as you heard from persons who shared," said D'Jamila Ward, JMA's export business development manager.
"We really needed a forum like this to share our experiences and learn from best practices and build our capacity, and the initiative really provided that," she added.
Ward found agreement from Gianna Fakhourie, owner of Arm Candy, makes handmade beaded bracelets from all types of materials, including wood and gem stones.
"I think whoever put it together did a great job, because they pulled together people who know what they're talking about and can actually help and share in certain experiences, and in the technical knowledge as well," she said. "So it was very informative for someone like me, because my export thing is so minimal at this point that I don't even know if I would consider exporting.
"So it was very good that you had all these giants who have been doing it, who could share with us and tell us how to better do what we're doing," added Fakhourie.