Typical issues in delivery coordination to Russia

What are the main issues that an exporter faces when dealing with Russian retail chains?

Professional language

The first issue is that retail chains speak the professional language, and suppliers often don’t understand what to do.

For example, here is an excerpt of correspondence between a broker and our manager:

-Hello! I need docks 2515kg/cont

-Hello! Could you send me photos, please? We confirm the weight. I will send you adjusted documents upon receipt.

-Container has not been opened yet. I decided to make the weight under the minimum risk of net / gross 0.93+. Thus, I won’t bother you at the weekend.

Perceiving the intended meaning of messages might take time.

Language barrier

Another complication is that the top retail chains’ brokers are mostly middle-aged people who don’t speak English very well. A broker’s work is highly responsible, so young people are not hired for this position. There is a chance that messages will be translated through a machine translator. This further complicates the supplier’s understanding and might cause mistakes, delivery delays, fines, etc. In BK SAS managers are young and speak good English, the director is a Frenchman, so it’s easy to deal with us for foreign suppliers.

Protracted negotiations

Retail chains’ brokers are always occupied with their work; that’s why they don’t have the opportunity to explain everything in details to each supplier. The negotiations might be protracted. For instance, about 100 messages are the first delivery negotiations between our manager and a broker. If two Russian professionals can easily understand each other, imagine how hard it might be for suppliers that are not native speakers, don’t speak good English or don’t have much experience.

Human factor

There is a chance of making mistakes due to the human factor. Once we’ve got a document to sign which was correct in English but contained information about some other product in the Russian part. Our managers and lawyer check all the documents in English and Russian.

Skipping messages

It happens that the declarants do not respond to messages. Then we call them on WhatsApp or by phone. Foreign suppliers do not always have this opportunity.

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