We live in an era of globalisation, where business is an international practice. With the increased global business interactions comes the growth of international trade, ideas, and culture. Most businesses are thinking globally and aiming at reaching an international audience, and to do so they adapt, compromise and organise to capitalise their markets geographically as much as possible
In the past years, globalisation has had a huge impact on international trade, influencing politics & economies and, shifting the direction towards a world where exchange becomes mainstream. However, there are certain bottlenecks that the shipping & trading industry is facing today. These arise from the fact that usually trading involves two or more countries, two or more cultures, two or more languages, two or more time-zones, etc.
People are fast to think of all the benefits and achievements they can get, forgetting such trivial stuff as “what time is it there?”.
In this article we will be focusing on the time-zone differences within the trading industry but also as a global issue. We wanted to have a close look and see if people & businesses in general are truly affected by this and, if there is any chance to improve the current situation.
What is the actual issue here?
A few weeks ago, Goodrop attended the Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai. We were discussing the current challenges that the industry is facing with people who were passing by our booth to see how we can further help them using our product. We were intrigued to see that everyone mentioned “time-zones” and how this not only affects their business but also their private lives. Matters such as, receiving calls on a week-end or simply getting calls in the middle of the night, were frustrations we heard repeatedly from all of our clients. This was actually what got us started on this article.
When looking at time-zones from a purely financial aspect, we can notice that it's making companies lose a large amount of money. According to the Entrepreneur magazine, U.S. businesses lose $206 billion each year due to factors related to extended-hours operations, including lost productivity, high absenteeism, greater turnover, higher health-care costs and more accidents on the job. This is because companies need to adapt to working with people over-seas and push their local employees to always be available. With about 24 million people working irregular, nighttime or extended schedules, that comes to costs of about $8,600 per employee, according to the Burlington, Massachusetts, research firm. We can only imagine what happens in countries with less strict regulations and labor law enforcements.
People feel pressured to be available in their business partner’s time-zone. Hence, they make themselves available at unreasonable times. Same happens with people who have offices scattered internationally. To get stuff done fast, you need to adapt and compromise your free time, which sometimes leads to inhumane conditions.
Clearly, this is a major issue that comes along with the process of globalisation. Can it be avoided or ameliorated? Is there any chance to maybe create some sort of boundaries?
Setting clear boundaries and managing your client’s expectations is key! However, we all know how complicated that can get and how there is always that one “special” client for whom we’re willing to make an exception. Nonetheless this is something that should be established in any company, whether they time-zone is a challenge internally or externally with your clients.
According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the main solutions to time-zones is using collaboration tools. This enables people to share basic information and updates, without needing to reach each other urgently. If done properly, using collaboration tools can actually reduce miscommunications, save time and improve productivity.
This is also exactly what we had in mind when creating Goodrop. We wanted to avoid pointless calls and e-mails at inappropriate times, so that people can actually be in charge of their time. The trading industry is perhaps the most challenged by the time-zone differences and, it will continue to be so. However, we want to reduce this as much as possible, at least in what concerns information that is available and predictable (such as shipping time, arrival time etc.). We want to make digital collaboration between parties the norm and allow people to have privacy and freedom from questions that repeat themselves constantly.
Lastly, we strongly focused on the well-being of our customers when designing Goodrop. Our technology sends notifications and information at the right times, taking into account time-zones & working hours, allowing you to have full control over your free time. We are your quick shipping assistant, telling you everything you need to know at the right times!