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Joanna Tarasiewicz
April 28, 2023
14 min read

Why Does Localization Matter in a Global Supply Chain?

Why Does Localization Matter in a Global Supply Chain?

Managing a complex global supply chain becomes challenging in today's globalized world.


If your company takes care of sourcing and producing goods and services within a specific geographic region or market and then delivers goods to other parts of the world: read this article carefully.


Supply chain localization offers a solution to help remedy part of this problem. By translating your company materials into multiple languages, you can improve relationships with business partners, vendors, and clients. And it is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the advantages of good translations.


This blog post will explore supply chain localization and how it can benefit your business.


We'll also talk about the factors you need to consider and will provide tips on finding the best supply chain localization services for your business needs. Discover how localization can help your business grow and succeed in an increasingly competitive logistics market.










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Introduction to Supply Chain Localization



As businesses look to expand globally, they face many challenges within their supply chain. Maintaining an efficient and effective logistics process can be difficult, especially when working across different regions, time zone, tariffs, and cultures.



Introduction to Supply Chain Localization



Also, marketing tactics, staying on top of legal requirements, and communicating with clients worldwide must be done in the local language. This is where supply chain localization comes in. By using translations, businesses reduce costs and improve efficiency, thus shortening the distance between suppliers, manufacturers, and today’s consumers.


And, let's say it straight: it's a game worth playing. The global market value to share is $15.85 billion and will only grow.


Who are the top players? According to Gartner, a company that's recognized leaders of the industry for the past years, the best-performing supply chain companies in 2022 were:



  • Cisco Systems
  • Schneider Electric
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • PepsiCo
  • Pfizer
  • Intel
  • Nestlé
  • Lenovo
  • Microsoft
  • L’Oréal
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Nike
  • Walmart
  • HP Inc.
  • Diageo
  • Dell Technologies
  • Inditex
  • BMW
  • AbbVie
  • Siemens
  • AstraZeneca
  • General Mills
  • British American Tobacco
  • Alibaba



Modern businesses like Amazon, Walmart, Kmart, Samsung, and eBay offer a range of services and products for global customers. However, they also promote local goods to users who may find value in purchasing anything without waiting for the delivery or driving miles to the store. Local businesses get more visibility and a chance to compete with larger companies.







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What is Supply Chain Localization?


Supply chain localization is about ensuring that everyone within the company, production, and distribution has the same level o knowledge about products, company policies, innovations, advertising, HR policies, etc. Globalized companies support the local economy by maintaining branches in different markets and countries.



What is Supply Chain Localization?



The process involves translating and localizing various materials needed for the company to operate across multiple cultures and languages. This process primarily aims to reduce business costs, improve product quality, and mitigate risks associated with legal issues.


By adopting a strategy, businesses can respond faster to market changes and customer demands. Common strategies are regionalizing production facilities, using local suppliers, and implementing local distribution centers. However, the benefits of supply chain localization vary depending on the industry, location, and business model.


Between markets, there must be a synergy and understanding of company values, message, and mission. Translations bridge the gap between different cultures, languages, and ideologies. This leads to a better understanding of the target audience and their preferences. It's one of the best practices in business to overdeliver on the quality of both product and client satisfaction. Localization of logistic business content is a step in this direction.





Covid-19 Pandemic Impact on the Entire Supply Chain


The Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant disruptions to the global supply chain, causing many businesses to rethink their sourcing and manufacturing strategies. The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the importance of localizing supply chains, as it exposed vulnerabilities in the globalization networks.



The Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant disruptions to the global supply chain, causing many businesses to rethink their sourcing and manufacturing strategies.



To put it in perspective: 38.8% of small businesses in the United States experienced supply chain delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Border closures and lockdown measures brought sudden changes, prevented the movement of merchandise, and caused delays in delivery times, impacting customer satisfaction. However, companies that had already adopted supply chain localization were better equipped to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic. They were able to respond more quickly to changes in demand and adapt to the "new normal." Their operations already met the local regulations. Customers and employees were informed better and in real-time.


As a result, businesses increasingly consider local sourcing, healthcare, or governance as the global impact was a massive hit to their economic growth. Companies must focus more on building the local customer base in global strategies to restore it and earn those dollars back. With translations, it is easier and faster to achieve.


Covid-19 has also shown us that supply chain resilience is worth more than the process's innovation.





Common Supply Chain Business Materials Requiring Translation



Adapting their supply chain strategy becomes crucial when businesses expand into foreign markets. Supply chain localization involves translating various materials such as product labels, packaging, instructions, and marketing content.


By doing so, businesses can improve customer satisfaction and increase sales in foreign markets while reducing costs by streamlining processes and reducing unnecessary inventory.



Adapting their supply chain strategy becomes crucial when businesses expand into foreign markets. Supply chain localization involves translating various materials such as product labels, packaging, instructions, and marketing tactics.



What types of materials and documents will need to go through a translation process for your business?



  • Business plans
  • Company memos
  • User manuals and instructions
  • Product information sheets
  • Product certification
  • Product verification templates
  • Customs documentation
  • User guides
  • Technical specifications
  • Warranty rules and information
  • Recall notices
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Customer email messages
  • Marketing materials for offline use (rollups, banners, leaflets)
  • Marketing materials for digital use (pdf, case studies, social media posts)
  • Voice translation
  • Product certifications
  • Safety tests and safety certifications
  • Technical drawings
  • Legal docs
  • Insurance papers
  • Patents
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Personal data forms
  • Copyright data
  • Warehouse storage reports
  • Inventory and stock tracking reports



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Benefits of Supply Chain Localization for Your Business



Supply chain localization offers various benefits to businesses, including reduced lead times and increased speed-to-market. Thanks to the help of localization services, companies can respond faster to market changes and customer demands, which is especially important in today's fast-paced business environment.



Benefits of Supply Chain Localization for Your Business



Additionally, businesses can expect improved quality control and supply chain transparency by working with local language experts, as the native speakers better understand local regulations and consumer preferences.




Cost Savings and Consistency

Business logistics translations help curb costs and keep terminology consistent across the entire supply chain. As a result, businesses can achieve savings in translation fees, shipping expenses, and product recalls. Localizing products into multiple languages can help reduce customer confusion and boost sales by making it easier for potential buyers to understand your product's features and benefits.




Increased Market Presence

Adding local language support to your marketing efforts will better reach regional or global consumers needing help accessing translated materials online. By providing localized content on websites (including blog posts, e-newsletters, and social media profiles), you can attract local leads that are more likely to turn into paying customers later on down the line.




Reduced Risk of Legal Actions

The localization process done by language subject matter experts enables companies to understand local regulations and cultural differences better, leading to stronger relationships with suppliers and customers. Legal translations help to mitigate the risk of lawsuits and penalties due to misinterpretation of local laws and regulations. In addition, by working with professional translators who are familiar with legal terminology in both languages, businesses can ensure that all legal documents are accurately translated, reducing the risk of costly mistakes.




More Clients and Increased Sales

One of the significant benefits of the localization process is the possibility to gain more customers and improve sales, thus bringing more revenue to your company. Multilingual content enables businesses to connect with a broader audience, including those who may not speak the company's native language. As a result, companies can expand their reach and tap into new markets that were previously inaccessible.





Factors to Consider When Localizing Your Supply Chain Materials



Several factors should be considered when localizing your supply chain business materials. Understanding the local market and cultural differences is critical to making informed decisions.



Factors to Consider When Localizing Your Supply Chain Materials



Working with Native Speakers and Linguists

Collaborating with native language speakers and suppliers can benefit businesses in numerous ways. They are more familiar with the local market and regulations, making compliance easier. Moreover, localizing the materials with native speakers can eliminate potential misunderstandings and lead to a more accurate product.


In order to ensure effective localization, it is essential to partner with professionals with experience in the market niche and translation technology. Skilled translators can provide high-quality translations.




Tailoring Business Content to Specific Audiences

To meet the unique needs of different customers, tailoring business content to specific audience segments can be a game-changer for businesses. Localized content enables customers to understand your offer and reduces the time from finding out about it to completing the buying process. Furthermore, localized supply chain business materials improve communication and collaboration with partners in the same region, increasing efficiency.


For example, when companies from the United States collaborate with business partners from India or Japan, it's easy to see simple mistakes, like calendar or date format. It may look insignificant; however, something as simple as this can be confusing to customers while ordering or picking the delivery dates.




Localization Quality Assurance

When it comes to translations, proofreading and quality check are crucial. High-quality translations are essential for effective supply chain localization. Using local language and context-specific terminology goes a long way in building trust with customers and suppliers. It's also important to have a native speaker review the content to ensure accuracy and cultural appropriateness. Localization quality assurance should be an ongoing process that involves feedback from all stakeholders, including suppliers, customers, and employees.






Related content: Why Testing Localization Really Pays Off?







Finding the Best Supply Chain Localization Services



When finding the best supply chain localization services for your business, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, choosing a localization service provider with experience in your industry and market is essential. This will ensure they deeply understand your specific needs and can provide tailored solutions that meet your requirements.



Finding the Best Supply Chain Localization Services



Additionally, it would help if you looked for a provider who can handle multiple languages and cultural nuances, which is essential for effective localization.


Another crucial factor to consider is the provider's technological capabilities. A translation service that integrates with your existing supply chain management systems will increase efficiency and streamline workflow. This will save time, reduce errors, and improve communication with your partners in the same region.


Finally, when choosing a provider, it's essential to look at their track record of delivering quality results within budget and on time. Choosing a partner with a proven history of successful localization projects will give you peace of mind knowing that your business is in good hands. Excellent customer support and timely delivery are essential to any successful localization strategy.







  • What tools do you work with?
  • Do you provide software system translation services primarily?
  • What is your experience with machine translation post-editing?
  • What's your experience in our industry?
  • What process do you have for website translation?
  • What's the end-to-end process of using your system and tools to translate software strings and images?
  • What's the best process to manage user interface translations in multiple languages?



By partnering with a reputable provider, you can ensure that your localized content accurately reflects your brand and resonates with your target audience in any language. With the right tools and processes in place, you can streamline the supply chain localization workflow and achieve efficient, timely delivery of your new products or services in multiple regions around the world.








Related content: How Much Does Software Localization Cost?




The Bottom Line


Choosing the right localization service is crucial for successfully expanding your business into new markets. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Your goal may be to negotiate faster delivery times for the documents, and you don't mind a small extra charge. At the same time, another firm in your niche may want to avoid additional charges but needs more diverse language pairs. It's all about your business needs.


It's essential to consider factors such as industry knowledge, linguistic certification, tech capabilities, track record, customer support, and timely delivery when selecting a translation provider.


Asking the right questions about their tools, processes, and experience will help you make an informed decision and avoid potential pitfalls. By partnering with the right localization service, you can ensure your business has a successful global presence.




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