India is a growing economy and one of the most important future markets. The country’s relaxed, complex nature has been transformed by a growing middle class and rising living standards. This has made it a stronghold for economic development. The international trade route to India is bustling. This article will highlight some key points that can help prospective industries in India and Germany avoid unnecessary stress and headaches.
The article does not contain any negativity. It examines all facts honestly and aims to offer solutions, not cause discomfort.
Important Note: The masculine pronoun “he” is used in historical neutral meaning and can be understood to refer not only to the male members of the society but also to the female.
The German scenario
Whatever trade is being conducted and where it is coming from, the simple factor that makes the foundation the most important is the human one. The German approach is systematic and clearly defined within a rigid framework.
German workflows are more linear than the Indian approach. A particular order will be processed in a pre-determined manner. Many people think the German system is rigid, but it’s not. It is best to approach it in the German way. In comparison, the Indian way of working is quite different. Everything is relaxed, but not in a deliberate manner. It is enough to be aware of how the subcontinent works.
The following is a typical German workflow. I won’t go into detail but will give you an approximate idea of the process.
A particular department will process the order.
One person will be responsible and will have someone on standby to take care of the order in case of an emergency.
It is a common practice to send the buyer an Order Confirmation Letter once the order has been placed. Almost always, this document will include an order confirmation number and the date along with the name of the person who sent it.
The sales department will only be responsible for the order in its technical meaning, i.e., the technicalities associated with the ordered item. This department does not participate in the packing and customs formalities.
The packaging and customs documentation will be handled by the despatch department. They also hold putting together the paper that comes with the goods, as well as communication with the freight forwarder.
Once the goods have been received, they will be packed in accordance with international trade regulations. The pre-export customs formalities begin depending on the amount indicated on the commercial invoice. This process usually takes at most one day. This rule is not always applicable. In some cases, the German customs will release an export declaration on the same day.
Once the export papers have been received, the freight forwarder will arrange the pick-up of the freight. The conditions of the shipper will govern the pick-up. You might have to adhere to certain restrictions, such as picking up times, picking up formalities (if the company is large), and picking up equipment.
Communication should be concise and to the point. Communication should be brief and not include unnecessary issues. This results in a more efficient interaction. German philosophy is to be straightforward and precise.
Communication regarding invoicing, pricing, commissions, discounts, etc., all inquiries should be directed to the sales department.
Communications regarding despatch and customs formalities, airway bills, etc., should be directed to the department of despatch.
Germans should address the person by Mrs or Mr, followed by the surname. This is not the preferred way to address Indians (which is more common in India). You can use both the first and last names. If you are unsure of the gender, please use the first name and last name. This is my experience.
The Indian scenario
Emails sent from India will almost always be copied to the (several!) persons involved in the process. If you don’t know the gender of the person (which often happens), please use the first name and last name as described above.
While the promptness of Indians in responding may not be reciprocated, it is not considered impolite. India’s decision-making process is complex, but it is changing.
An email to confirm the pick of the goods can be a great help for the client in India. He must set up a vast bureaucratic machine and may face delays due to processes over which he may have no control.
It is important to send clear copies of the waybill, the commercial invoices, the packing list, and, if necessary, the certificate of origin well in advance. Indian customs require that consignment documents be notified to businesses at the destination airport 24 hours before arrival. This means that the consignment must be notified 24 hours before it arrives in India (Indian Time).
Avoid sending short shipments to India. It can take time to amend the consignment advice to Indian customs and could result in penalties.
In India, customs clearance can take up to four days. India has a large number of imports, and Indian customs officials need to take time to process them. The regulations are complex and extensive.
Indian companies are only allowed to import if they have the IEC or Import Export Code. To facilitate import clearance, the Indian importer must give this code to their freight forwarder.
Note to Indian companies: Please give the shipper in Germany the contact details for at least two people in India so that the forwarder at the destination airport can dispatch the documents quickly. This will speed up the import clearance. If you use a broker, please provide the details to the Indian freight forwarder. He will receive the goods from overseas. This information is beneficial to the shipper. This information can be given to the shipper to be passed on to the German freight forwarder. The details can be printed on the airway bill or included in the communication to the Indian partner forwarder.
Letters of credit: Indian importers are in need
You should communicate with the German shipper early and clarify three key details.
1. German Airport of Departure
2. Indian Airport of Destination
If direct flights are not possible to the destination airport, a transshipment might be required. A direct flight from Frankfurt am Main (Germany) to Nashik (Maharashtra state) is impossible because there are no airlines that fly to the area. The airline Emirates, whose first flight landed in Dubai, is another example. The consignments going to Mumbai, India, will be offloaded and then transferred to another aircraft, which continues on to Mumbai as the destination.
The description and nature of goods must be kept within acceptable limits. A freight forwarder must process a large number of freight items in a day because an airway bill is limited in space. In Germany, the workload per head is higher than in India. Mutual understanding will make your day easier.