Toto I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore
Nevertheless, some knowledge about the country and its customs will smooth the path. For example, buyers should educate themselves about the political situation, suggested Clark. To avoid a distorted picture, consult multiple sources; in particular, avoid relying on the news media alone, which, in its hunt for big issues that make headlines, might not necessarily reflect the whole picture, advised Clark, offering one example. He was in Hong Kong when it reverted to China in 1997. From his vantage point, he pointed out, it appeared that the American news media underreported the celebrations in the street and overdid coverage of the tanks crossing into Hong Kong.
Buyers would do well to consult reputable sources such as The Economist, a London-based magazine that covers world affairs regularly, Clark suggested, as well as consulting colleagues who regularly do business in the country.
Whatever you find out about the country's political situation, check your company's buying policies before placing your order, panelists agreed. It's frustrating for everyone when an order is pulled merely because, halfway through the process, the buyer finds out that a company policy no one told them about before precluded buying overseas.
Buyers should also be mindful of the ever-present cultural gap in the daily interaction with the printer, added Clark. Should a misunderstanding occur, he advised, "Don't panic immediately. Take a deep breath and (ask yourself), Is there another way to ask this question?'"
"An example of this can be often found in proofing," he offered, "where the printer may be talking in ozalids and press proofs while the (publisher) is asking for Cromalins, MatchPrints and bluelines."
"As Hong Kong, and, most recently, China, have been so influenced by the British culture, you will often find that the terms used offshore are somewhat different (from) those commonly used in the U.S.," she explained. "For example, trim sizes in the U.K. and Asia are generally stated as head-to-foot by fore-edge-to-backbone in metric as opposed to the reverse in imperial terms in the U.S." Also, she added, the way questions may be asked is less direct than the way to which U.S. buyers may be accustomed.